ICA Spanish School

ICA Spanish School
19 avenida 1-47 zona 1
Rank 83.7%
Prices 190 USD for 25 hours of one-on-one tuition per week including host family with room and full board
147 USD for 25 hours of one-on-one tuition per week without host family
Study one hour daily more or less: add or subtract about USD 20 per week.
School Size 15 to 50 students
Openings Please be sure to register in time for the high season months of June, July and August! This way the school can reserve one of their best teachers for you.
Summary A big professional school with a beautiful teaching environment. You study on wooden verandas overgrown by plants. Predominantly American students. Teachers are very well prepared and are able to adjust her lessons to student?s needs and abilities. In high season you get second choice teachers. Teaching is very well organized, as are the social and environmental projects.
Founded in 1976 by Enrique Diaz.
Total immersion in Quetzaltenango is excellent, if you don?t hang out with other students.

This school, is always pretty busy and certainly fills up during high season. You should enroll at least two weeks in advance.
During high season (June thru August), tuition price is $200 per week

With a timely registration, the school can assign you the best teacher from its list. (Contact us for group discounts).
 Photo Gallery of ICA Spanish School (click here)

ICA Spanish School - Details

Teachers The 16 permanent Teachers took a course called "Teaching English as a Second Language to Foreigners". Teachers earn a good $53 per week plus social security.
See details for recommended instructors! ...more
Methods One on one teaching. The curriculum is the same as in most schools. ...more
Materials No official textbook but verb and exercise lists. Teachers develop their own materials. Library: excellent. Video library: excellent. Internet gratis. Lots of computers! ...more
Special Programs Children?s program. We have no reports up to now. ...more
Location Study area: ample rooms with wooden walls, adapted to students´ needs. No garden, but a big patio. Well equipped kitchen with fridge, stove and microwave. ...more
Activities Excellent: according to student′s comments activities live up to what they promise. ...more
Host Families Families earn $45 per week. Usually only one student per family. br>See details for recommended families! ...more
Volunteering Excellent: School has several own projects like reforestation, bilingual education in Mam and Spanish, and a woman?s prison. ...more

Students' Feedback

Helen Huber
07 / 2008
Hi, I studied at two schools. I attended I.C.A Spanish School in Xela, and had Cuque as my teacher who was excellent. The school is very thorough, organized, methodical. Good variety of trips and organized activities. Best, Helen.
Josephine Oei
06 / 2008
I decided to study at Escuela de Español ICA in Quetzaltenango. I studied for 4 weeks there. I chose to have a new teacher every week and all my teachers were very competent. They names are Edwin, Josue, Miguel and Olga. I learned also many other things at ICA, not only all the Spanish-grammar. As school activities, they have interesting conferences, excursions and activities for fun and relaxing. I did all the school activities they offered. So, I learned in the conferences about the Mayan culture and Mayan calendar, the civil war in Guatemala, the oil pact in Centro America. The excursion to the bilingual school and to the women′s prison. Also we visited Mayan rituals near Panajachel and relaxing at the Lake Atitlan. The cooking activities with other students, were very nice. Also when we climbed the volcano Santa Maria, there was so much solidarity. I miss this school and I also miss my family in Xela. It was a great experience. I just wrote notes in my book, but I can tell that I learned so much Spanish and all other things in 4 weeks, this in comparison with some other schools. My host family was very nice. I loved to stay with them at home. Rosario have three children. I played with them and helped them with their homework. Also it was possible to use the kitchen and cook my food. The school have many social projects to do. They do many good things. If you study at ICA you can be sure that you also do something for the community. I will give the school 100%. Super. Thank you very much, Josephine.
Carrie Kawahatsu
02 / 2008
I studied at ICA Spanish School in Xela. I studied there for two weeks and had a host family. The first week, I didn′t like my teacher very much because she was inexperienced. However, the second teacher I had was great! We didn′t receive any study materials. The host family was kind, but could not accommodate my diet (vegan) even though the school claimed that they would. Overall, I would say the school is ok. Thanks, Carrie.
Pascale Schuit
08 / 2007
I studied for 6 weeks at ICA Spanish School in Xela. I had 6 different teachers, one of them was not that good, I think she did not enjoy teaching at all and she lacked in knowledge about grammar. 1 teacher was average, she had excellent knowledge of grammar we had some nice conversations but also she did not have much passion for her job. The other 4 where great, all of them had excellent knowledge of grammar. The great thing of having 6 different teachers is that you talk about different subjects. Some know much about Guatemalan politics, others about Guatemalan culture and with some you have nice personal conversations about religion, living in Guatemala and living in Holland. Some teachers work with textbooks, others with self made material. For me this was nice, because if you change your teaching materials you learn different things. if they had no material they let me write short stories or let me make sentences, I learned a lot from that. One thing I noticed about the school is that there are a lot of American students and only a few Europeans like me. My host family was very nice, interested in my progress and I practiced my Spanish with them, during dinner etc. In the first 3 weeks the school was very busy and they had a lot of teachers that only worked during the busy period for ICA. Most of these teachers where not that skilled as the teachers I received later when there where less students at the school. The school has nice activities, visiting nearby villages, hot springs and weekend trips to Lago Atitlan or Monterrico; this is very nice if you like to travel a bit, but are afraid to go alone. Also the school has some nice volunteer projects; they support women who plant trees and have a medical clinic that provides free health care for the people of Xela. Kind regards, Pascale
Joan & Christina Alvear Crounse
08 / 2007
We decide to study at Escuela de Español ICA in Xela. We studied there for 1 week. We each had a very good teacher. I am an educator and feel that my teacher was very well prepared and was able to adjust her lessons to both my needs and my abilities. My teacher prepared materials for me according to my needs and abilities. We did not stayed with a family, but stayed at a hotel. I enjoyed the fact that we could adjust our hours and that we could practice our lessons outside the school building. I cannot sit in one place for 4-5 hours, so our teachers took us to local museums and to the market. In all places we practiced our speaking and listening comprehension. Thanks, Joan Crounse.
Ross George
10 / 2006
I studied at ICA Spanish School in Xela for a week. I would of have studied much longer if I had had the time. My teacher was GREAT!! Can′t remember his name. Overall I loved the school, although I did prepay for a few classes and never got refunded when I couldn′t attend. Really great people, really great atmosphere, really great teachers. I would go back if I had the chance. Activities were great although I didn′t attend a lot of them. Football with the instructors is a hoot. My family was great too. Only I gave them a loan and they couldn′t pay me back. All in all I recommend ICA. Ross
09 / 2006
I studied at Spanish School ICA in Xela, for 4 weeks. I had a new teacher each week. 1 of my teachers was excellent, 1 was very good, 1 was good, and one was average. At this school, you can request a teacher if you hear they are good, and you will usually get the teacher you request. I liked the activities for the most part, although if you study there for awhile you will get sick of some of them because some repeat a lot. But they are generally pretty good and offer a good opportunity to practice your Spanish with other students, while not worrying about making mistakes or not being understood. On the other hand, it is also an opportunity to speak in English or German or whatever your first language is, so that can hurt your Spanish progress. I changed families after 2 weeks, because it turned out my first family was running a sort of boarding house, and I ate meals with these Guatemalan high school girls who were staying at the boarding house. They had no interest in talking to me, and were much more interested in gossiping and often making fun of me in Spanish. The school made it very easy to change families, and I changed to a family who had a girl who was leaving the school, so I knew it was a good family from what she had told me. My 2nd family was great and I actually stayed with them again one night when I returned for a visit to Xela. I had a good experience at ICA and I would recommend it, although I think you will get much more out of your money if you go to a school for at least 6 weeks in a row. (I had 4 years of Spanish in high school, but I graduated 8 years ago and didn′t remember much).
Clarence Sundram
08 / 2006
My wife and I picked Escuela de Español ICA in Quetzaltenango. We studied for three weeks. We had different teachers each week, by design, although we could ask to remain with the same teacher if we wished. The school was also very accommodating if we wanted to change teachers. The social/cultural/educational activities offered were a definite plus. We heard lectures from people who recounted their experiences during the war, heard about the political climate, saw indigenous people demonstrate the manufacture of wool, dying with natural ingredients, spinning yarn and weaving blankets; visited a women′s prison; and did weekend tourist sightseeing trips. Our family was hospitable and friendly, and the living accommodations were comfortable. Initially, our lack of Spanish and their lack of English made communication awkward, but as we learned, it got easier. The site was helpful to us in learning about our options and doing research on various schools. Thank you for the assistance. Clarence
Peter Wiley
07 / 2006
I chose Escuela de Español ICA in Xela. I studied there for 3 weeks. My teacher Edwin was fantastic; I had him for all 3 weeks. In general, students at ICA seemed very happy with their instructors and quality of instruction. The school has a number of great activities each week. I took advantage of many of them. They do some smaller excursions during the week and then longer excursions on weekends. I particularly enjoyed visiting some of the villages just outside of Xela, as well as a hot springs nearby. I had a good weekend trip to Lake Atitlan and Chichi, organized by ICA. Adjusting to third world life was tough; I had a lot of stomach issues through out my time in Guatemala, I also had to deal with a number of water and power outages, apparently related to construction in the city, but I have a feeling they′re more common than my host family let on. My family was very welcoming and my wife and I had our own bedroom and private bathroom. Given that there were 3 daughters in the family, all with busy lives, we didn′t spend a great deal of time just relaxing with the family, but we had enough conversations over meals, that we were satisfied with the level of interaction we had. We stayed with a family very close to ICA, which made it nice.
Milan Prochazka
06 / 2006
We ended up at Escuela de Español I.C.A. in Xela, and studied only one week. All our teachers (mine, my wife′s and my daughter′s) were excellent. We participated in several activities; a trip to a festival in a nearby village, a trip to hot springs and a dance lesson. All these activities were great. My family was very nice. My son (2.5 years old) stayed with them during our lessons and he can be a handful, but they handled him beautifully. The food was great too. I found your site very helpful. There are so many Spanish schools in Guatemala, that it can be a challenge to pick and decide. Your site simplified all that. Thank you!
Ragna Bergk
10 / 2005
I picked the Escuela de Espanol ICA and studied there for 3 weeks. My teacher was really good and exüperienced even though he was quite young. My family wasn´t that nice. I didn´t like the food and I would have liked some more sisters or brothers for company and learning more Spanish
08 / 2005
Escuela de Espanol ICA in Xela for 3 weeks - An excellent school well run, with good excursions, and care of students. The quality of teacher varied a bit, but I think this is the same with any school. I really liked the family I stayed with in Xela, and think that the school did a terrific job of answering all of my questions, and responding to all my needs both as a student and otherwise.
Jaime Clifton
07 / 2005
I had an amazing experience at Escuela de Español ICA. Enrique, the director, and all of the teachers and staff were amazing. The excursions on the weekends were so interesting and well planned. Guatemala365 was a great resource in making my choice. I will use the site again when I go back to Guatemala. Let me know if you want further information. I got two great teachers. The first used the curriculum created by the school and the second took me around town and showed me all of the culture and history. It was a great mix. The school lets you request was kind of experience you want. I had a great family. They were very accommodating and had three wonderful girls. The family I stayed with also housed university students so I was able to speak with them often and find out about their experiences.
William Wolf
03 / 2005
I studied at Escuela de Espanol ICA along with my dad. I studied K′iche′ for one week and my dad studied Spanish for 2 weeks. The teachers were extremely kind. The K′iche′ teacher was helpful, although not a native speaker. We both had excellent host families: kind, monolingual in Spanish, very open.
Levent Ensan
11 / 2004
Hola, My school of Espanol is ICA in Xela Guatemala... I stayed 3 weeks there, and it was really a VERY GOOD school, with good teachers. I learned a lot in this 3 weeks... My family was nice, but sometimes they didn′t have time to speak with me. Adios
Bente Jürgensen
10 / 2004
I studied Spanish in Xela in Escuela de Espanol ICA. I studied there for 4 weeks and I really would recommend this school. I had a really good Family and teacher. The school offers a lot of opportunities for volunteer work and has a lot of activities, in the morning as in the afternoon and at the weekends. I hope that I could help with this short description!
Maxie Matthiessen
10 / 2004
My second school was (as mentioned) in Quetzaltenango, Xela, and was called Escuela de espanol ICA I would strongly recommend this school as it offers activities besides the regular classes. Every day of the week (either in the afternoon or before noon) and often Saturday and Sunday "ICA" offers activities (dancing, soccer, volcano-hikes, kooking, and films about Guatemalan culture, expeditions to beaches or little villages...) and the director and the teachers were very helpful and nice. The school atmosphere is great and "ICA" offers a good "studying-Ambient". I learned very much about the culture of Guatemala, grammar, speaking, writing (through reading newspaper, talking etc.). Every week there is a dinner for the students who leave the school and a certificate of the Spanish level of each student that leaves the school. The ICA school offers a lot of volunteer projekts in which you can participate beside school or without attending the school. My family was very nice as well. I would therefore highly recommend Escuela de Español ICA. My comments on "www.guatemala365.de": The website was very helpful in looking for a school in Guatemala from Germany, getting the addresses and finding recommendations of the different school. I recommended your website to many of my friends. I hope this was a little bit of a help. If anymore information is needed, just write me and I hope i can full fill your needs.
Erich Keefe
09 / 2004
We next went to Quetzaltenango and studies at the Escuela de Espanol ICA, InstitutoCentro America, where I had been three times before. I love that school. Really a good vibe and a nice community. The family did not work for us. Then we moved to a cheap hotel, where we were robbed on the second night. That was after my wallet waws stolen on the bus in Chimaltenango. I do not recommend staying at Casa Kaehler in Xela. That is where all our money, passports, credit cards, and travellers checks were stolen. Thanks.
Anouchka Rachelson
11 / 2003
We ended up studying at I.C.A. in Quetzaltenango. We stayed in Guatemala for 3 weeks, but we only attended school for two weeks. Our teachers were excellent, and we were very satisfied with the progress we made in such a short time. The host family was friendly, but the living conditions (food, room, cleanliness) were disappointing. We would probably stay in a hotel next time. Overall, I would give the experience a "B". I hope this helps you.
Steve Swanson
09 / 2003
Estudie a ICA por una semana. Aprendi mucho, y disfrute la escuela y los actividades. La estancia de casa estuvo asi asi. (I studied in ICA for one week. I learned a lot, and enjoyed the school and activities. My home stay was so so.)
Stephen Swanson             September 2003