How to make most of your time (study tips) FAQ
- How to get a good host family
• Talk to the director and ask for a host family that will also talk to you. This is more important than being the only student in your family. Ask for recommended families (see school descriptions). Directors know very well which families give good services.
• By requesting a private bath, you will limit the school's options in assigning you to a family providing a "real" home.
• In Antigua many host families receive between 5 and 10 students. If you go to towns off the beaten track you may be more likely to get an authentic host family.
- How to get a good teacher
• Many ex-students tell us that the teacher is more important than the school. For this reason you might want to choose a school in the upper ranks. In these schools, the probability to get a good teacher right away is far higher (see student's reviews).
• It is understandable that all schools have got to train new teachers, and they often assign them to beginners. Talk to the director. Remind him that you found the school through this site. Tell him that you will be asked to give a review afterwards, and that the best thing he can do for his school is to give you an experienced teacher right away.
• If you get a teacher that does not work out for you, be very outspoken to the director and ask for a more experienced teacher.
• Ask for a teacher recommended by former students (see school descriptions). These teachers are nearly always busy and it may be necessary to register formally to get a recommended teacher.
• During high season (end/start of the year, Easter, summer months) it is recommendable to register in order to get a good teacher. If you show in last minute from the street, your teacher will also be hired from the street, and it will be a teacher who has not been given any good work anywhere.
- How to use your time
• If you do not have pressure to study grammar for some exam, it is wise not to study more than four or five hours daily. Your brain will not accept more anyways.
• For your after hours it is important to make every effort to connect with all of the people you meet: initiate conversations, invite people to do things (movies, concerts, walks in the park, weekend excursion) ask for advice and assistance. Guatemalans are very friendly to foreigners.
• You might also hire a private tutor to walk and talk constantly with. Change him every week to get accustomed to new voices. You can ask your tutor to take you to places with good local food, local shoemakers or artisans, local writers, witchdoctors, evangelic cults, museums, hikes etc. Visit Guatemalans of your profession.
• If you feel burnt out, do not continue studying. Travel for some time, let grammar sink in, and return to study with a refreshed mind.
Take some textbooks
• Since at many schools teachers assemble their own materials, it might be wise to be on the safe side and bring a good textbook
with grammar and exercises. If you know the meaning and grammatical significance of technical terms in Spanish, like "pasado perfecto", "gerundio" etc. that will help. This is even more important, if you are no native English speaker.
• Also, a small but good dictionary
is helpful for homework and travels.
• Please click here to see books recommended by former students
. After studying, you can donate your book to your teacher or keep it to refresh your Spanish.