In the picture above you see two foreigners taking Spanish classes in a Restaurant/School named Korea with the omnipresent beer posters. Here’s the Spanish word/phrase of the day: Quiero más cerveza por favor (please, I’d like to have more beer). Life is though for the Spanish students in the Spanish school capital of Latin America.
When we arrived in La Antigua Guatemala in 2002, I was told there were over 65 Spanish schools in town. Wow! that’s twice as many catholic churches. I have read and have been told that taking Spanish classes in La Antigua Guatemala is one of the least expensive options in the world. La Antigua Guatemala is very beautiful, full of great little cafes, bistros and restaurants where you can take your one-on-one classes. After you finish your daily classes, you are in a magical and enchanting town to do all kinds of sightseeing, research, photo tours, and whatever your imagination allows. So, all and all, La Antigua Guatemala could be best place to take Spanish classes. It could be like learning English in Disneyland or Disney World.
If your first language is English or if you speak English, then La Antigua Guatemala is bad place to take Spanish classes because most everybody and just about anything you need can be resolved in English. Besides, like Manolo commented, there is a large community of ex-pats living in La Antigua Guatemala. If you are looking for a full immersion program, maybe Xela (Quetzaltenango) would be a better place to learn the language of García Marquez, Cervantes or Augusto Monterroso. On the other hand, Xela (pronounced shay-lah)could be a dangerous place since it is the “real” Guatemala and thus it could be magnetic enough for you end up ditching your “real” life in your native country in the first world and moving to Guatemala in the third world, like a very special person did. Really, living in Guatemala could mark you life forever! Think twice before attending a Spanish school in the “real” Guatemala. 😉
After your daily classes of Spanish, you go out into an English-speaking world. Even the shoe-shiners in Central Park will ask “if you want your shoes shine?”. Then, like Manolo said, you could be harassed by so many Guatemalans who want to be loved to the point of exportation; this could include your teacher regardless any age difference. Now with over 60 or 70 Spanish schools, how could you know which ones are reputable, responsible learning institutions? So I guess before you take your first class, you should do your homework.
For those who have taken Spanish classes in Guatemala or La Antigua Guatemala, what other aspects of your experience can you share with us?
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