I can highly recommend Don Pedro de Alvarado Spanish School is by far the best place to study Spanish in Antigua Guatemala. The school is rated with 5 stars on www.123teachme.com. It is one of the oldest and most established schools in Antigua; it boasts very professional, experienced, sympathetic teachers and is centrally located next to the church of La Merced, a famous landmark of Antigua. The highly regarded, friendly administration at Don Pedro Spanish School can arrange accommodation for you with a local family while you study, and services also include provision of a shuttle to and from the airport at a very reasonable price. The host families provide many amenities such as private bathrooms and wi-fi, and they are all within walking distance of the school. The school provides activities for their students every day; these include hiking and climbing the local volcanoes, visits to coffee fincas, trips to local markets, salsa dancing lessons, cookery lessons, and a weekly fiesta which includes a delicious lunch for all students that is excellently cooked by the Director, Caty, and her staff. If you wish to learn more about Don Pedro Spanish School, their website is www.donpedrospanishschool.com. They also have a really good Facebook page that has many student recommendations and photos of the school. There are video's to see about the school on YouTube as well. I attended Don Pedro Spanish School this past summer for seven weeks, and my Spanish improved dramatically over that that time. I can highly recommend this school.
I chose this school on the advice of a friend and it is working out very well. It is relaxed with 1-on-1 tuition and happens at tables under awnings or in the garden. The individual tuition allows one to choose exactly what and how one wants to study. The school offer 4/5/6 hours per day. As a beginner Spanish learner, I chose 4 hours per day - it is plenty and the homework will take up a couple more hours (if you decide to do any!).
Twice a week the school puts on an "event": dinner with salso dancing and practical tortilla making.
They will also arrange collection at the airport in Guatemala City and your accommodation. I chose the "Level B" type of accommodation and it is fine provided you are not expecting anything fancy. Also, the cost of the shuttle from Guatemala City is considerably more expensive than you could arrange on your own.
Living in Los Angeles it would be rather pointless to do so since I just have to go a few miles inland to do it but for those of you will teenage kids or other who live in cities where Spanish is not a amjor second language then Antigua is a good place to start. There are schools around every other corner that handle this..so it seemed. There are even organizations that specialize in foreign nationals from specific countries ie: Germany..and can often place you in smaller cities for further immersion. Check with your embassy for good recomendations.
I would like to suggest that if you're looking for a language school that you might consider Probigua (Proyecto Biblioteca Guatemala). Unlike a lot of the language schools in Antigua, Probigua is a nonprofit organization. The money the school earns from tuition goes directly back into the communities in Guatemala, providing libraries, computers and books to rural villages throughout Guatemala.
While we were studying at Probigua, we had the opportunity to take the "Bibliobus" with our tutors to San Miguel Milpas Altas, a small village close to Antigua. The bus stopped at a public elementary school and several classes took turns visiting the bus. It was wonderful watching the students get on the bus and get excited about the books they could read. We had the opportunity to read to some of the kids (and they also read to us). In Guatemala, there are no public libraries. The libraries that exist are privately owned, which makes the bibliobus all the more meaningful.
As far as classes are concerned, the school divides students into beginner, intermediate and advanced. Classes are one on one with a tutor with the exception that advanced classes can be in a group if there are enough interested students (for a slightly lower rate). The price was reasonable and when we went (August 2010), it was $125 per week for four hours a day. I was told that the teachers are all university trained but I can't confirm this. My tutor was excellent. Rigoberto, the founder of the school, only hires women as tutors because he believes that women in Guatemala need as many opportunities as they can.
I spent 3 months studying at Escuela de Español "Cooperación" (Spanish School Cooperación) in Antigua, Guatemala and I highly recommend it. Here’s why.
First, the teachers are great and have a lot of experience. Jorge Mario basically runs the show although he occasionally teaches classes as well. I communicated with Jorge Mario via email before arriving and he was very helpful. We arranged for him to pick me up at the airport but the day I arrived he was quite sick with the flu. Still, he sent someone in his place and still came out in a terrible rain to meet me at the school and then took time to quickly walk me through town and show me some things. I also did some activities with Jorge Mario (whose nickname is “El Sapo”) and always enjoyed spending time with him.
My teacher was Milly and she is very professional and experienced – I think one of the most experienced in Antigua, actually. She has a teaching system with materials she developed herself and in my 3 months I started at the beginning and made it through all of the materials, getting a very solid grammar foundation with plenty of time to actually have conversation in class. I don’t think I am especially good at language but I met many students from other schools and with only a couple of exceptions it seemed that I had learned more in a shorter time. I also never met anyone who had a better study of the dreaded subjunctive than I had with Milly. But, Milly isn’t just a great teacher, she is also a great person who is easy to talk with. She also knows a lot about Antigua and you can learn a lot besides Spanish from talking with her.
The school is one of the more reasonably priced schools and they are flexible in terms of scheduling. I didn’t need much flexibility but some of the other students did and I saw that they were accommodated every time. You can also start pretty much any day of the week and study for pretty much any duration you can manage.
The Cooperación is a small school which has its pluses and minuses. You get great attention and all the teachers are experienced and professional. But, if one of your goals is to make a ton of friends with other students, there will obviously be less opportunities at a smaller school. Still, I met wonderful people from Norway, Germany, Ireland, France, U.S., Canada, UK, etc.
The only aspect of the school I can’t talk about from direct experience is the homestay as I chose to stay for 3 months and got my own apartment (which El Sapo helped me find). But, it seemed that others students at the school who stayed with local families did have a good experience.
So, there are a lot of school choices in Antigua and I am sure you won’t go wrong with many of them. But, if you aren’t decided yet on a school, I recommend you check out the Cooperación.
Have you thought about traveling to Guatemala with your family to learn Spanish? Well you aren’t alone. It is a great way to introduce your child to a new country and immerse them in a foreign language.
But before I provide you with a first hand recommendation of a language school in Guatemala, let me tell you a little about the languages of Guatemala. Although Spanish is the official language, there are over twenty-one Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala. These languages are part of the Mesoamerican linguistic group and are spoken by the Mayans of Guatemala. Many of the Mayan people do not speak Spanish at all.
Now back to learning Spanish in Guatemala. I recently read a recommendation for a language school posted by a mother we will call Mrs. Smith. For two weeks she, her husband and her two daughters (aged eleven and seven) attended the Academia Colonial in Antigua, Guatemala and had a great time.
The instruction in this school is one-on-one, and each of them had their own instructor. The teachers follow a certain methodology, but the classes aren’t unnecessarily structured. After doing an initial assessment the first day, they create an individual learning plan for the student. They also incorporate games, field trips, videos, cooking and enjoyable activities. Mrs. Smith reported that the teachers were terrific and made sure that the children had age appropriate classes and activities.
And what does this all cost? A program of four hours per day costs $100 per week.
Regarding accommodation, Academia Colonial has a “family stay” option where students live with a local family and get lots of immersion in the Spanish language. The family stay is $80 per week per person, and that includes meals. Mrs. Smith stayed with a family that had two children so her kids had other children to play with. The house was very clean and they enjoyed staying there.
Mrs. Smith highly recommends this Academia Colonial Spanish School in Antigua Guatemala and I thank her for providing this helpful information.
I am from Switzerland and was many times in Antigua for longer and shorter periods where I have seen several bigger and smaler language schools. The nicest school of all those I visited was „cooperation“ and I have returned there often. The school is serious and you learn a lot, but the school is also able to organise a party or excursion if the students like it and it is appropriate.
I had a great time there and speak fluently Spanish now.
The school is small and is organised as a coopertion of teachers. You learn Spanish in private lessons that means every student has his own teacher. You get from the school teachingmaterial about the language in general or about the special subjects you ask for. Every teacher has a university degree, is flexible and very friendly. You can take lectures in the morning or in the afternoon. The students can stay in a hotel or in a guestfamily if you prefer. The teachers will help to find a good family to stay with. The prices are adequate compared to other schools. In the afternoon you can participate in different activities like excursions, cooking or dancing salsa and many more. Go and have a look at the homepage of the school or speak with Jorge, write them a mail and you will get soon an answer in English. Try it out, you will have a lot of fun and be soon master of a new language!
I spent one month studying at the Spanish School Cooperacion in Antigua. Like any school, there are good teachers and not-so-good teachers; some students were very happy with their experience, and others were not. My advice: whatever school you choose, tell them that you'll just stay for one week, and don't pay for more. By the end of the first week, you can book for longer if you like you're happy; if you're not crazy about your teacher, you can either try to change teachers or switch schools. It's pretty much impossible to get a refund from anybody.
Although this school is much cheaper than others in town, a drawback is that it does not have much of an activity program - because it's so small (generally only 5-10 students at any given time, versus dozens at other schools), the most you'll get it a weekly salsa class and maybe one extra excursion. There's a trip every Friday morning, but that's in place of language class.
If you are looking for a great Spanish school in Antigua, Guatemala, go to Escuela Cooperacion.
Its a cooperative of teachers and everyone there is paid fairly and is happy to be there. You have the option to customize your studies and can study for as little as one week or a few months. The teachers are very flexible and want to help you to learn. It is a great value and includes the option for homestay (yummy food). The price for a week also includes a daily field trip to local attractions. We went to the market, a nearby town, the cemetary and a macadamia nut farm. It is a great place weather you are looking to learn a few key phrases or to speak and understand Spanish.
You study one on one with a teacher for 3-4 hours a day (more or less if you want) on a beautiful terrace in the sunshine. Our teache Milly even took us out for a day at the hot springs!!
The owners of the school are sooo friendly and they also teach Salsa lessons (they are GOOD!!)
I can't say enough great things about Escuela Cooperacion. Its location very near the plaza central is also quite easy to find.
Thousands of tourists come to Antigua each year, many to study Spanish. I'm no exception, and based on the recommendation of a fellow couchsurfer (www. couchsurfing.com), I signed up for two months of classes with Escuela de Espanol "Cooperacion". Boy, am I glad I took her recommendation. I signed up for classes at the school with Jorge Mario, director of the school, while on vacation in Antigua in December.
I was worried about finding an apartment over the internet (I'd seen a couple while on vacation which didn't suit me) but Jorge Mario promised to find something for me that I'd like. He worked with local contacts and visited a variety of apartments before finding one he thought I'd like and sending photos and a description. He also arranged to pick me up at the airport in Guatemala City.
My first day in Antigua, enjoying the wonderful apartment Jorge Mario arranged, I met Mily, new maestra. That day we didn't have class. Instead Mily helped me shop for basics and showed me around, answering questions and making me feel like I'd moved to a town where I already had a local friend.
The teachers at the Escuela de Espanol Cooperacion each have more than ten years experience and terrific resources to make learning Spanish both easy and fun. Classes are tailored to each individual and involve traditional practice, along with conversation, games and "field trips". The quality of teaching and support materials is excellent (and as a former teacher, I'm not easy to please!)
Whether you'll be in Antigua for a week for a month, I strongly recommend you try the Escuela de Espanol "Cooperacion". You'll still have plenty of time for all the standard tourist stuff - but will have the inside track, thanks to Jorge Mario, Mily and the other teachers at the Escuela.
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