Maybe I’ve said this too much (nah) but: if you go to Guatemala you neeeeed to take some Spanish classes! They’re affordable and will teach you Spanish with minimal regional slang that will be widely understood in the world. ESPECIALLY if you live in the U.S. adding a bit of Spanish to your skill set is only a valuable thing. DO. IT.
So if you’re going to Guatemala, you’re probably going to Antigua. There are a TON of Spanish school options there. I of course can only speak my own experience, so here’s why I think Don Pedro de Alvarado is a good option for anyone interested (which you should be).
Prices and Instruction
I looked at a handful of schools, and Don Pedro’s pricing is pretty standard and very affordable. I chose to pay 1760 Qs ($220) for 6 hours of daily one-on-one instruction for a week.
In the mornings I would practice conversation, read some children’s books, and do some textbook exercises with Paulina. You can see some examples below. After about an hour lunch break I would come back for the afternoon activity and conversation with Claudia.
Both of my instructors were wonderful and I learned so much from them. Since a large part of the instruction is conversation practice it really does help to enjoy the company of your instructors. Personally, I found that after 4 hours in the morning my brain was pretty burnt out for the afternoon. Poor Claudia definitely did not get my best efforts, and if I were to do it again I probably wouldn’t opt for the 6 hour day.
Since I was traveling with my bilingual amor, it didn’t make sense for me to try and take advantage of the homestay option, but it is there! Most of my classmates were staying with families, and the reviews really rave about the experience. If you’re interested you should check it out!
Part of the funds for the language school go their associated charity called Los Ninos de San Felipe de Jesus that helps children from the nearby village of San Felipe. During the week the kids come after their school gets out to have lunch and help with their homework. As a student with this school you can volunteer to help with the meal and with helping the students with homework or English or computer practice. You can also talk with your teacher and go on a shopping trip together where you will practice your Spanish AND buy some supplies for the kids. The week I was there was the holiday week of Semana Santa so the students weren’t in school, but my fellow classmates talked very fondly of the kids and how they missed seeing them that week.
Daily Outings and Activities
These were a really great way to get to know my teachers better and my fellow classmates, and I really enjoyed them. My favorite was our trip to el Convento de las Capuchinas. The convent’s construction was finished in 1736 and is one of the more popular ruins to tour. The light in the ancient arches is really beautiful and the life of the nuns is really interesting to learn about. Plus, if you go as a student you get a discounted ticket!
We also got to help prepare materials for the Semana Santa alfombra the school made Thursday night, and if you are willing to stay up pretty late you can even help construct it!
Another afternoon we were served really taste tipico while we played board games with our teachers to practice. I really treasure the whole experience.
The school also allowed mi amor to come with me on all the outings without any additional cost even though he wasn’t taking classes, which was really nice of them.
Free Coffee and Snacks!
I’m all about food. Especially when it’s free. There was free coffee and water as long as it lasted, and mid-way through the morning lesson they served small treats to get you through until lunchtime.
You Can Keep Learning Once You’ve Left!
One of my favorite things about this school is the opportunity to stay connected and keep learning even after you’ve left. Every teacher also offers online instruction that is very reasonably priced. Part of the fees go straight to the kids too, and you can keep building the relationships you’ve started. I have Paulina’s email and I intend to spend an hour a week with her once my financial situation is a little steadier. Both my instructor’s shared with me that their income can fluctuate seasonally with the tourism, so the online lessons also help stabilize this for them. Win win for all, really.
The school’s garden, where you study one-on-one
Planning for the future?
Save so you won’t have to re-research your options.