Asociación Pop Wuj

Asociación Pop Wuj
1 Calle 17-72 zona 1
Rank 84.2%
Prices 185 USD for 25 hours of one-on-one tuition per week including host family with room and full board
155 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 per week.
School Size 10 to 30 students
Openings Monthly medical Spanish courses fill up quickly. Early enrollment is recommended!
Summary Asociación Pop Wuj is a solid nonprofit cooperative organization, wholly owned by the teaching staff, serving international students since 1992. The school offers intensive One-to-One Spanish instruction by highly qualified teachers and home stays with local families, so you can immerse yourself into the Spanish language and come to know the warmth of Guatemalan Hospitality.
Pop Wuj has a very strong social commitment. Almost all students volunteer in the social projects.
The school has specialized on medical courses which start every first and third Monday of the month (minimum time commitment of 4 weeks). Your teacher focuses on medical Spanish. In the afternoons, you attend special conferences and have a guaranteed working space in a local hospital (intermediate Spanish level required). Apply at least one month in advance, due to limited space and great popularity of this program!

Total immersion in Quetzaltenango is excellent, if you don?t hang out with other students.

Pop Wuj is busier during certain times of the year (especifically, end and beginning of year, holy week and summer). It is recommended for future students to enrol at least three weeks in advance to assure their space in school. If you plan to register for a medical or social program, you should enrol at least one month in advance, due to limited space.

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

Asociación Pop Wuj - Details

Teachers The instructors are college educated and trained as teachers of Spanish as a second language. They are able to teach at all levels and can assist students in developing vocabularies in a variety of disciplines, such as Spanish Medical Terminology, social work, education, among others.
If you choose to study at this school, you can be sure that the money you spend will do more than just teach you Spanish, it will also help relieve a little of the severe poverty in which so many Guatemalans are now forced to live in.
See details for recommended instructors! ...more
Methods Community spirit of the school, creates a welcoming environment for students to learn Spanish and immerse themselves in an enriching cultural experience.
Method of 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: good. Video library: good. ...more
Special Programs The School has two programs for specialties, the Medical and Healthcare Program and the Social Work and Community Organizers program. Programs start every first and third Monday of a month. ...more
Location Good cubicles, adapted to students needs. No Garden. A well equipped kitchen. ...more
Activities Throughout the day, the school offers a variety of activities that are designed to teach you something about Guatemalan and Latin American culture, history and politics. These activities include films or videos, lectures and round-table discussions, trips to local areas such as the indigenous market at San Francisco El Alto, Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs , among many others interesting activities and weekend trips. ...more
Host Families Families earn $35 per week. Student?s reports about host families are mostly good.
See details for recommended families! ...more
Volunteering Students can volunteer at the medical clinic or daycare center. Additionally, the school has several own projects in the rural area of Quetzaltenango: kindergarten, grants for rural children, improved stoves, latrines. Part of your weekly tuition is dedicated to financing these thriving rural development projects and educational endeavors that the school has undertaken and nurtured over the years. ...more

Students' Feedback

John Garriss
11 / 2008
I also studied at Asociación Pop Wuj in Xela. I took one week of lessons there. My teacher Benedicto was really good. The family there was ok. I would really recommend this school to others. Thank you, John.
Anna Winkel
10 / 2008
Hi, I finally decided for Asociación Pop Wuj in Xela. I studied for three weeks there. My teacher was extremely good! His name is Luis. My host family was incredible, but the accommodations were slightly lower than expected. But my family was nice so I got used to the lack of privacy. I would truly recommend the school to others. Thanks, Adrianna.
Onni Johnson
07 / 2008
Hi, I chose to attend Asociación Pop Wuj in Quetzaltenango (Xela). I had planned to stay for two weeks there, but liked it so much, that I stayed for three weeks. Both my teachers were very fine. My host family was lovely and included me in family events. I would definitely recommend the school, in particular for those who want to get involved in social projects while in Guatemala. Thanks, Onni.
David Knotts
11 / 2007
My wife and I attended Asociación Pop Wuj in Xela. We studied there for 3 weeks. Both of our teachers were excellent. The books and study materials were excellent and the teachers provided additional material that reflected our interest in history, politics and crafts. The host family was very friendly and talked with us often especially at meals. The food was very good and we collected several recipes. We liked the school′s emphasis on volunteer projects at a day-care center and the stove building project in rural villages. We are returning to this school again this year for 3 more weeks. We rate this school very highly. Thanks, David Knotts
Avi Richman
11 / 2007
I decided to attend Asociación Pop Wuj in Quetzaltenango. I studied there for 7 weeks (3 full time, 4 three days a week). My first three weeks I studied with Oscar who is one of the directors of the school. Although he is not the most enthusiastic/energetic teacher, he does a great job of teaching grammar and he was a great teacher with whom to start. The next two weeks I studied with Elizabeth, Oscar′s wife, and she is full of energy and I really enjoyed her. We talked a lot and had a lot of good conversations. The next two weeks I studied with Jenny de Soto and she was a really good teacher. Firm and strict but helped discipline my Spanish. She was one of those teachers that you would feel bad if you did not do your homework. All the teachers had updated Spanish books and there were some in the library that students could borrow. For homework, the teachers did have us pay for our own copies but the cost was not too much. I felt all the teachers were prepared. I lived in a guest house sort of environment but with 4 Guatemalan students and 1 Mexican worker. It was a host family but did not really felt like family. I really liked the seńores in my house and I had a great time with the all Spanish speaking students. The house itself was very simple and the food even simpler but still a good-great experience. From talking to other students, most really liked their host families and switched without any problems if they did not. I would give the school a very high percentage. I am not sure what the scale was but if it was from 1-10, I would give the school a 9. The teachers were good, the school was very well administrated, and they kept true to their word of weekly activities. We always had a movie playing Monday night, dinners on Thursday night, an interesting lectures on Wednesday, and other scattered activities throughout the week. The school really felt like a community atmosphere and they even let the students hang out in the school after official closing time. The projects associated with the school were also well run and I really enjoyed working on the stove project and in the medical clinic. After attending the top rated school on Guatemala365 in Antigua for three weeks, I have to say that I enjoyed my time at Pop Wuj much more than I did at the school in Antigua. Price was equal, teachers were equal, but administration and overall atmosphere at this school, was better. Feel free to let me know if you have any further questions and I am happy to provide further details of my experience. Best, Avi.
John Reed
09 / 2007
I studied at Asociación Pop Wuj in Xela. I stayed there for 3 weeks. I had two teachers, one of whom I considered highly unprofessional. The second teacher was very helpful. In Xela it is much easier to speak Spanish on a regular basis. My host family was very kind, I enjoyed staying with them very much.
LaTonya Trotter
08 / 2007
I decided for Asociacion Pop Wuj in Xela. I studied there for 3 weeks. While as was there 3 out of 4 teachers were excellent. However, my biggest disappointment in my experience was that over the course of 3 weeks, I had 4 different teachers. Having some continuity is useful when learning a new language. My frustration was so great, that I left a week early. I had no intention of paying for another week that begins in chaos and only settles down by day 2 or 3. I went in August, and I would not recommend this to future students. All the students who make up the summer crowd start leaving to go back to school. Once the number of students dwindles down to 5 or 6, they start rationing the students out to teachers, thus the relentless switching. With fewer students around, they also start to get lax about the organization of the school...classes start late, events get cancelled at the last minute, etc... Perhaps if I had gone in July, I would have had a better time, but to be fair, I did learn a great deal and I′m glad I went. Perhaps every school would feel like this in August, but in retrospect, when the school started slipping in my estimation, I wished I would have looked around at some of the other schools in the area. They have a fair amount of study materials. My host family was excellent, no complaints, and many good things to say. Best, LaTonya. P.S. was a Godsend. When you are travelling alone, you want to be able to separate what may just be a slick website from a really good school. Nothing but positive things to say about this website. I have since recommended it to other friends of mine interested in studying in Guatemala.
Aidan Koehler
06 / 2007
Hello, I studied at Asociación Pop Wuj in Quetzaltenango, for 2 weeks. I had an excellent teacher who told me stories and taught me more Spanish then I ever thought I would pick up. There were a lot of activities which we didn′t take part in, because we were only there for 2 weeks and we mostly did our own thing. There was tons to do every day. Our family was amazing. We are vegetarians and the host mother made the most original variety of vegetarian food every day. I think I gained a few pounds while I was there. Thanks, Aidan.
Emma Burbank-Schmitt
04 / 2007
I decided to attend Asociacion Pop Wuj in Quetzaltenango. I studied there for 4 weeks. My teacher was good. There were a few activities. Lots of opportunities for volunteering- stove building, volunteering in a day care etc. I was in the medical Spanish program so I didn′t have time for much of these. Instead, I volunteered in the clinic which was a good experience, there were too many medical students and not enough patients for everybody. Overall a very good experience, however. My host family was fine. Thanks, Emma.
David Knotts
04 / 2007
My wife and I attended Asociación Pop Wuj in Xela for 3 weeks in April, 2007. We had a great experience at the school. Both of us had excellent teachers who provided instruction appropriate to our levels of Spanish. Other students reported their appreciation for such capable teachers. The activities sponsored by the school are impressive. The school supports (and students can volunteer to participate in) a stove building project in rural villages, a day care center, work with a village still recovering from Hurricane Stan in 2005. The school provides over 150 scholarships for primary and secondary school students, and holds health clinics for medical students attending the school. On the lighter side, there is salsa and merengue dances and instruction, and school-wide dinner each Friday for students and teachers. Most of the time 2-3 students and their teachers volunteer to fix the meal which provides a great learning experience shopping in the market. Each week there are 1-2 seminars on some aspect of Guatemalan life (education system, politics, recent civil war, etc.). Pop Wuj has a real social conscience and provides students with an opportunity to learn about Guatemala as well as study Spanish. Our home stay was excellent. We had great interaction with the large extended family, especially at meals. Our room was small but comfortable and we did share the 2 full-baths in the house with the family, but this was never a problem. Students need to remember they are living in Guatemala and not the USA or a European country. The food was always tasty and plentiful and we collected several recipes. We like the school so well, that my wife and I are returning to Pop Wuj in November, 2007. Thanks. Dave Knotts
Marnee Meyer
02 / 2007
I also attended Asociación Pop Wuj in Xela. I was very pleased with my teacher, Maribel in this school. She is an excellent educator. I was not as happy with my home stay though. Although, I adored the grandmother that I lived with, I felt very uncomfortable and at times unsafe for I stayed on the second level of the home with male boarders who rented a room during the week. It was practically outside and poorly insulated. At night I was unable to sleep because it was so cold. Also, I heard from many teachers at Pop Wuj, that they were poorly paid and had not had a raise in over 5 years. While it presents itself as a collectively run school, there is one man Oscar who seems to be the one "in charge" and I was told that he makes significantly more than the others. I hope this is helpful -Marnee
Ryan Brown
10 / 2006
I chose to study at Asociación de Espanol Pop-Wuj in Xela. I studied there for 1 month. Oscar, my first teacher is given to most new kids, he was so apathetic... I changed after three days to a better teacher and found her to be pleasant (Patty). Activities were pretty much out there for the kids to do, which is nice. The director can sleep at night but is hardly proactive. My family was the reason I stayed with the school. They were the best and I plan to go back and visit from time to time. My home was quite a walk from school, but I think I received the best family in Guatemala. I miss them. All in all, a great experience. I would recommend to other students to not feel obligated in any decisions.... find what you like and stick with it. Thanks and good luck in the future. Best, Ryan Brown.
James Simpson
08 / 2006
I studied at Asociación Pop Wuj, in Quetzaltenango in August for 4 weeks. I had 2 teachers there; my second teacher was excellent. I will say that at Pop Wuj, there was a great sense of community, perhaps in part because my 4-week stay coincided with that of a group of (mostly) US, students with whom I hit it off. There were also many activities at the school, and the volunteer part was one of the most rewarding of the experience there. My family there was also very friendly. Sincerely, James (Jamie) Simpson.
Megan Skibitsky
06 / 2006
I studied at Asociacion Pop Wuj in Xela. The school was great; everyone was very professional. I was very happy with my instructor and with my host family.
Barbara Hartman
02 / 2006
I did go to Asociacion Pop Wuj on recommendation of a friend in Xela. It was the 2nd school of choice as the first one had no openings. I don′t remember the name of my first choice. I was only able to study for one week as I was on my way to participate in a medical mission. I had a fabulous teacher and a wonderful experience. My family was quite nice and the room was adequate. As for activities, I joined a day of stove building; we had a soccer game one night and a speaker one night about the Mayan calendar. I truly had a wonderful experience, learned a lot of Spanish in one week and had a lot of fun. I plan to go again next year, same school. Thanks
Alison Payne
10 / 2005
I studied with Asociacion Pop Wuj but reduced my time from four weeks to two as I was working as well and they were very inflexible about allowing me to pay less for doing less. So after that I left and booked a tutor for two hours a day instead. two weeks. My teacher: initially an emphatic NO - he patronised and insulted me about the volunteer work I was doing (in a rural medical clinic), showed no evidence at all of being a trained teacher, and was thoroughly unprofessional in his derogatory and at times racist comments about other students to me. After three days I could stand it no longer and my boss at work rang the school and they arranged someone else. Interestingly I met another student a week later who had had a similar experience with the same teacher. The school′s ′boss′ commented to me that this man was one of their oldest & most experienced teachers - which made me feel that they did not actually believe me - all I can say is, he needed to move on as he was clearly jaundiced about teaching, foreigners, guatemala and life in general. After that I had a pleasant teacher, Mario, who told me lots of fascinating things about his war experiences although after a few days I felt more like a therapist - which is fine but at times I wanted a little more grammar instruction! However I was happy to continue with him as I was learning a lot about Guatemala and its politics, as well as feeling that I was actually providing him with some support (I am a family Doctor so I could do a bit more than just listen, as well as help him out with some of his medical problems and get him some medicines!). Despite this, the school changed me to another teacher without telling Mario or myself, so that he and I turned up on Monday expecting him to teach me again, to find I had been put with someone else. All three of us were put in an awkward position. Interestingly, this last teacher was the best of the lot from the point of view of skills as a language and grammar teacher, but by then I had decided it was pointless paying fora day′s classes and only doing 2-3 hours due to my work commitments, so I left. All three teachers took opportunities to grumble about aspects of the school to me! The school frequently seemed a little disorganised and the extra evening activities (films, lectures) never started on time which bugged me as my time was precious. However their heart is in the right place and they were generally friendly and welcoming. They clearly did a lot of good work in the community. Wonderful. I stayed on with my host family (a single older woman, Gloria) for another four weeks after leaving the school (as a private arrangement) as I was so contented there. We got on really well, the food was fantastic (I am a strict vegetarian and I ate the most wonderful local food although I craved fruit, but I just went to the market for that...), and my living quarters were small, clean and excellent, with my own shower and loo. I felt safe, secure and well looked after, and her home was convenient for work and getting around Xela and elsewhere. I had my own key and could come and go, and she gave me my lunch to take to work every day. We watched telebasura (as I would call it) - the Mexican soaps cable TV channel - at every mealtime which improved my Spanish comprehension as well - not having a TV at home it was an education for me in many ways!!! I was thinking of studying with PLQE (apparently a very politically minded school, which would have suited me) and went to pop wuj as they had some sort of link with where I was working. However I dropped in on PLQE and got a really good vibe from the place and I wish I had gone there. Still, I had a wonderful landlady and I found a good tutor after I left pop wuj so it all worked out OK, and I have nothing but good memories of my time in Xela. Hope this helps. Saludos
Emily Baskin
06 / 2005
This is my review of the school. I spent 5 wonderful weeks at Asociacion Pop Wuj. My teachers were professional and friendly. I stayed with 2 different host families, the first of which was older and very reserved and was not a positive experience. The second family was a better experience, as they were welcoming, patient and talkative. For the first 4 weeks my teacher blended grammar lessons with lessons about Guatemalan culture and history. Having the 1 on 1 teaching helped me solidify my grammar and have individualized lessons that were flexible to my needs and relevant to my interests and skills. It also made classes more conversational and personalized and so classes felt less school-like but I still was learning formal grammar. The conversational tone also helped me improve my verbal skills and listening comprehension. Teachers were also willing to share Guatemalan life with us and my teacher invited me to cook with her one night and we also once spent class time visiting a local cemetery where she was able to tell me about its history. The teachers at Pop Wuj also helped me navigate cultural customs of Guatemala. I went to a Kiche′ baby ceremony with my family, my teacher taught me etiquette for the event, explained different cultural expectations for me and the significance of various customs and helped me feel more comfortable and confident with my host family. When I returned to the school later for one week I was with a new teacher who was warm and friendly and had a great sense of humour. After learning about my interests in environmental policy she brought me books about environmental policy in Guatemala to talk about with her and tailored classes to my interests. I have some learning disabilities which affect my writing abilities and both teachers were sensitive to this and created a curriculum to accommodate my needs. Both of my teachers at Pop-Wuj are people who I will stay in contact with even though I have left Guatemala. The school also held different daily activities such as Movies on Mondays, Stove building, reforestation projects and helping out at a day care center on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Wednesday lectures on topics such as Free Trade in Guatemala or Religion in Guatemala were popular and informative. Salsa dancing was also offered on Tuesday nights. The school is open all day Sunday and students meet to study, use the schools computers, cook food, play scrabble in Spanish and just hang out with friends. The availability of the school building was an asset to the students. Each Friday night student volunteers cook dinner for the school community which was a fun way to socialize, practice Spanish with your friends and teachers and just relax. Weekend day trips were offered and one week an overnight beach trip was planed by the school and it was great to hang out with the teachers and get to know them in the non-school setting and also helped students practice their Spanish in a natural, conversational way. Your website was very helpful to me.
Charles Gillespie
03 / 2005
I went to Asociacion Pop Wuj in Xela, stayed for a month, the school was good, and my family was good.
Julia Red
10 / 2003
I studied at Asociación Pop Wu in Xela, and had actually picked the school before finding guatemala365 but it was interesting to look at the site to get the summaries of other schools when I was considering changing schools and thinking about studying in Coban or Huehue. I didn′t end up going to school in either of those cities since after writing to people there I found out that I would have been the only student. 10 weeks in Xela at Pop Wuj and one week in san Pedro at san Pedro language school (lake Atitlan Yes, the teacher was better at Pop Wuj in Xela Family: Fine. Sort of felt like I was just renting a room, and just another in a long string of language students with the family I stayed with in Xela, but the family I had for the week in san Pedro was excellent.
Michael Berry
08 / 2003
The school I attended was Pop Wuj for five weeks. I had hoped to attend the Finca, but that program was not yet established. The social work program was also just beginning and was a work in progress. While I enjoyed the staff and my teacher, I found that I would prefer a more isolated environment, so that I would have a better learning experience. In this environment, I found that it was all too easy to communicate in English with the other students. I do plan to return to Guatemala, but will attend a different school with a more remote location. Thank you,
David Reed
07 / 2003
I studied at Pop Wuj. I was there for 3 months with a 1 week break in between. My Spanish is ok. I found that I could understand 60 to 70 percent when someone would speak to me slowly in Spanish, though I did study a lot outside of classes. I started only knowing how to count to 10. The family I had was excellent. I was especially impressed with this schools social projects, particularly a stove building project the school has being doing for the past 10 years. The school and host family were both excellent, however my impression was that the quality of the instructor was more important than the school. All of the school′s core teachers were very good. When the school was busy it would hire other instructors to help teach. Some of these other teachers were good others were average. I would highly recommend asking for one of the core teachers prior to arriving at the school. If you would like any more detailed information just let me know. Sincerly,
Grace Tang
01 / 2003
I really enjoyed my Spanish School in Guatemala. Here′s the info you requested:
1. School - Escuela Pop Wuj in Quetzaltenango
2. I studied for two weeks only.
3. The maestros were great. I learned a lot in the brief time I was there. We had many extra activities outside the one-on-one instruction. I would highly recommend the school.
4. My family was wonderful. They have been hosting students for many years (over 8 years) with the school. I was very lucky and had my own room and bathroom. They were very welcoming and patient.