About Spanish school's further services FAQ
- Afternoon and Weekend Activities
At afternoons students are offered many interesting activities like video shows, hikes, bike tours, football games teachers vs. students, etc. There are conferences offered on interesting topics. You get to know the most beautiful places, interesting projects, and Maya traditions. You practice your newly learned Spanish and get to know teachers and other students. These activities make your stay a real holiday. Some activities have an extra cost. Most schools also provide for Salsa and Merengue dancing lessons. These consist in one hour weekly classes with a local teacher.
Many small schools have nearly no activities in low season, but do so in high season. Activities then will be interesting and personal, and you will be talking Spanish. In big schools during high season activities consist in a guide running ahead of a flock of thirty people talking English most of the time.
Be aware that during high season schools tend to assign incoming students to study during afternoons. In this case you may not be able to participate in activities, but you have more leisure to enjoy night life. Please accept this as schools can not avoid it. If you register timely and state clearly that you insist upon studying during mornings, you may be placed in the morning group right away.
- Host Families
Host families generally are situated very near the school. There should be no more than two students at a time. You normally eat with the host family. Host families provide each student with a little room and three meals a day/seven days a week. On Sundays, most families provide no meals. There is nearly always hot water and electricity. You should to bring your own towels, soap, shampoo and so on. Your host parents help you with any problems and encourage you to talk Spanish. It is pretty interesting to see how people live in Guatemala.
A word on food: A normal Guatemalan family lives on a $50 a week food budget. Your presence thus is a significant contribution to family economics if you do not eat too much. An average Guatemalan eats about 40% less than a typical language student. By looking at what families earn at different schools you can assess the quantity of food given. $30 to $85 per week is normal. If you are in a $30 host family, please do not complain about beans every day. Just eat out now and then.
If you are a beginner, your social contact with your host family will be somewhat limited. At this stage friendships with fellow students may be more fulfilling.
By requesting a private bath you limit the school's options in assigning you to a family in a "real" home. It may be better to share a bath as a trade-off to be in a more natural home setting and have your family members talk to you..
In Antigua, and more so during high season, your host family may be more like a hostel. (see student’s comments). You may not be able to converse too much in your family.
Schools mostly have big halls or patios in a pleasant environment, where there are many tables with two seats each. There is a busy murmuring from each table with one teacher and one student. Some schools have separated cubicles for each teacher – student team. Most schools have small patios or gardens to relax and get to know each other. Many schools have a cafeteria or even kitchens where students and teachers meet to cook local food or food from their home countries.
Most schools have only loose contact to social projects or have only poor projects on their own. If you want to volunteer, it is best to rely on PMG (Antigua, Rio Dulce and Cobán), Entremundos (www.entremundos.com) (Quetzaltenango) or other non profit organizations in order to find an organization that suits you. More information on volunteering and jobs in Guatemala.