Spanish schools in Guatemala
While Guatemala is still not a fixture on the "gringo trail" for visitors to Central America, its educational attractions are grossly underrated: ancient Mayan ruins, hundreds of endangered species, and spoken Spanish that even beginners will understand.
Like the rare quetzal bird represented by its national currency, Guatemala is a vibrant creature; a country that resolutely resisted successive periods of foreign colonization and bloody civil wars. Shaped by a variety of indigenous cultures with long histories, this has often been seen as a vulnerable region, only gaining ecological and political stability in the mid-1990s. differences are proof that Guatemala itself endures, although the dominant powers may change.
Without large tourist and expat populations in Guatemala, you'll be forced to use the language in everyday activities, from driving the bus to shopping at the neighborhood market.
Fortunately, the locals are welcoming and will help you on your quest to speak Spanish as easily as they can. One of the biggest advantages? Guatemala's central location, tucked away like a taco ingredient between two continents of Spanish-speaking countries. What other incentive could you want to study Spanish in Guatemala?
the type of course
Guatemalan Spanish speakers are known for their neutral accent. The country's Spanish vocabulary is rich in cultural influences, but it lacks the regional slang that confuses the language of other countries. And because of the wealth of programs and relatively low costs, studying in Guatemala offers travelers a degree of flexibility uncommon for most study abroad programs.
If you hope to acquire basic language skills for future travel, consider a short-term program that combines immersion activities or homestay accommodation with courses. If becoming fluent in the language is high on your to-do list, consider a more intensive, long-term university program. Here is some advice to help you choose the right language program:
This promotes personal growth and confidence in Spanish. Constant attention from an individual, usually a native Spanish speaker or certified teacher, is helpful for both beginners and those looking to build on past Spanish lessons.
Private tutors are organized by language schools that aim to balance the student's needs with the teacher's style. Tutoring sessions are generally 20 hours a week, with a minimum study duration of two weeks.
- Benefits: allows faster language development; flexible course duration.
- Disadvantages: less interaction with other students; potential for conflict between students and teachers.
Small group courses are a convenient option for first-time Spanish speakers, offering you partners at a common learning level. Group sizes are usually a maximum of ten students, convenient for backpackers and students traveling with friends.
In addition to the 20-30 hours a week in the classroom, groups participate in organized immersion activities such as B. weekend field trips and evening bonding events.
- Benefits: collective environment to make mistakes and learn from them; immediate relationships with other students.
- Disadvantages: less flexible course duration; less focus on individual language growth.
Language study and cultural immersion programs
For the multitasker, these programs can be an attractive alternative to the traditional classroom environment. Learning the Spanish language typically takes two hours a day, with an additional two or more hours spent practicing a unique skill.
From surfing and yoga to salsa dancing or Guatemalan cuisine, these programs encourageA little of everything; i.e. "a little bit of everything".
- Benefits: learn more than one language; Participation in specific immersion activities.
- Disadvantages: less focus on language; Language development restricted to a specific subject.
popular travel destinations
- check out the crowd: While 60 percent of the population speaks Spanish, it is only one of more than 50 languages spoken in the country.
- Did you know...Scenes from the movie Star Wars A New Hope were filmed in Tikal National Park.
- School's over, let's have some fun: Rumor has it that there are hundreds of flavors of tamale in Guatemala; Ask for one in any cafeteria or restaurant in the city and start counting...
- Wow others with a language! When you were an egg, I already flew; literally, “when you were an egg, I flew”, a humble reminder that you are less experienced than the person speaking to you.
One of the country's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this Spanish colonial city's name literally means 'ancient'. While the cobbled streets and narrow canals are reminiscent of an old-fashioned European city, the average age of tourists fills the seaside town with youthful enthusiasm.
Antiqua's well-organized tourism industry makes it a popular destination for visitors and expats alike, providing easy access to the city's social scene and surrounding cultural activities. However, for students wanting a little more basic experience, Antiqua's international reputation can make it challenging to find personal immersion experiences in another language.
The country's second-largest city, Xela for short, attracts mixed opinions from students. For some, the central location, notable lack of Western transportation, and large indigenous population create a more authentic learning environment.
A municipal theater and a natural history museum offer additional cultural offerings. But for other students, Quetzaltenango is an ancient, weather-beaten settlement marked by undisciplined rural sprawl. While its location keeps the number of foreigners low, it also means that students are further away from Guatemala's must-see sights.
You have to know
Most Guatemalan language programs are designed to meet the needs of elementary and high school students; So don't worry if you confusewaterwith Antigua or haven't touched a book in twenty years. If you plan to study Spanish at a beginner or intermediate level, most courses do not require a student visa. Entering the country with a tourist visa – granted to most nationalities upon arrival – guarantees 90 days of study and travel. If you dream in Spanish, take advantage of the classes and extend your visa for another 90 days.
Few things bring you into the heart of a country like staying with a local family. And that's how almost all Spanish schools receive their students: in the beds, bathrooms and kitchens of hospitable citizens – some who may not speak English!
That way, you'll practice everyday conversation skills while your host mom fills you up with chili rellenos. Families will proudly invite you to community events. Additional excursions organized by the program often include a hike to one of Guatemala's 30+ volcanoes, an exploration of Tikal National Park, and a trip to the beach.
Almost all Spanish study programs are paid weekly. Costs generally cover minimal study materials - handouts and notebooks - as well as room and board. Since most programs place students with host families, a portion of the weekly fee must go into the host family's pocket.
Unfortunately, the cost doesn't always come back to the local people who feed and house you; Check your tuition details before deciding on a host family. Immersion trips are generally not included in course fees; However, as Guatemala has cheap public transport, it shouldn't cost too much - and they tend to be experiences worth every penny or dime.
Due to the relatively low cost of studying Spanish in Guatemala, few programs offer scholarships to students. However, if you can afford it, several language schools in the community now offer Spanish courses and convert their fees into scholarships for local children to learn English.
Contributed by Kelli Mutchler
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