Zocalo in Guatemala(116319)

How to Find the Best Spanish School in Guatemala at the Last Minute!

So, you have decided at the last minute to learn Spanish in Guatemala. What now?

You can easily spend several hours trying to find the perfect Spanish school for your needs in Guatemala. However, this can be a challenge at the last-minute, whether you decide to take an immersion course for a short winter break, or spending the summer learning Spanish. Here is a breakdown of how to go about finding an excellent immersion school on short notice. 

There are many areas in the country that you can choose from, from the remote highlands, to larger cities. Decide whether you would like to learn in a rural setting such as Coban, the scenic and famous area around Lake Atitlan, or larger cities like Quetzaltenango (Xela) or Antigua that have diverse cultural activities and nightlife.

Each school usually offers a variety of programs and specializations which may include  working as a volunteer while learning Spanish. There are many options that can help you increase specialized areas of language in various learning environments and increase important vocabulary that relates to your program of study. For example, you can choose to attend a school that works in local health clinics to increase your medical vocabulary if your goal is to learn important medical Spanish terminology. Or, you may find a program that allows students to work with critical local social issues and you may build upon useful social and non-profit focused vocabulary.

Before leaving for your trip, make sure you contact well established schools by email and tell them exactly what your needs and goals are as a student and for your particular program at your university if you are attending one. This will give them time to match you up with an instructor with the appropriate skill level and vocabulary for the best use of your time while studying Spanish in Guatemala. Most schools will be more than happy to help you on short notice, or even at the last-minute.

Try to resist the temptation to attend the cheapest school possible. Yes, part of the draw to learning Spanish is Guatemala is the low-cost, and quality of teachers. However, many of the disreputable schools will not have qualified teachers and you may have to find other arrangements shortly after you arrive. This process can be time-consuming and frustrating, so plan accordingly.

One way you can avoid this problem is to make reservations for the slowest season for the schools. You can find out this information by contacting the schools directly and asking about the low season. During the slow season, you have the added benefit of discounted class rates.

If you decide to stay with a family for a more intensive immersion experience, make sure that the school is providing sufficient compensation to your homestay family to keep you comfortable with basic needs during your stay. If you have any concerns about the family you are placed with during your stay in Guatemala, tell the school immediately so that they can resolve the situation. Don't try to tough it out. There are minimum standards that you will be paying for, such as clean water for drinking, sufficient meals, warm water for bathing, and a room of your own. The school is responsible for providing the family with a fair rate of pay to provide for your basic needs. When in doubt, meet with the director of the school and voice your concerns. 



Lonely Planet Guatemala (Country Travel Guide)
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