El Quetzal Spanish School

El Quetzal Spanish School
7a. Calle 4-24, zone 1
Quetzaltenango
(+502)-7761-2784, (+502)-4009-0118
Rank 88%
Prices 165 USD for 25 hours of one-on-one tuition per week including host family with room and full board
115 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 2 – 14 students
Openings This school just relocated to, 7a. calle 4-24 in zone 1.
Note that this is a relatively small school, which tends to fill up any given time (especially from June thru August). It is recommendable to reserve at least two weeks in advance to secure a spot!
Summary El Quetzal is a small family style school founded in 1998 by Glenda Lopez, she has over 13 years of experience teaching Spanish to foreigners. She started El Quetzal Spanish School with a desire to not only follow her passion in teaching, but also to create a school that would help fund scholarships for disadvantaged children who can´t afford to go to school. The teachers have a minimum of 6 years teaching experience. The school has its own materials and good Spanish literature books.
This school is well organized and focused on teaching in a familiar atmosphere.
Good value for money! Students are given a free internet pass for two hours per week, at a local internet café.
Total immersion in El Quetzal: Very good if you avoid other tourists.
This school has just relocated to a new address, because the old building was damaged due to the earthquake in November, 2012. Their new address is, 7a. Calle 4-24 in zone 1.
Registration

Note that during busier times (summer, Holy Week, end and beginning of the year) it is recommendable that you register at least a month in advance. By signing up early, students will help this small school plan staff and host families before their arrival.

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








El Quetzal Spanish School - Details

Teachers The school´s 7 young teachers earn a good $45 and $50 per week plus extras. They have a minimum of 6 years of experience. Exceptional teacher´s training.
See details for recommended instructors! ...more
Methods One on one teaching. The curriculum is similar as in most schools, but homemade. ...more
Materials The school has its own grammar material. Library: 300 books. It has also a special program for Japanese students with Japanese – Spanish materials. ...more
Special Programs The school has no special children program and only a small patio. But lots of children´s books. ...more
Location School just relocated, five blocks east of the central park in Quetzaltenango. ...more
Activities To complement your formal class study, El Quetzal offers a variety of activities to choose from. We want you to have an opportunity to use your new Spanish abilities in a variety of contexts. ...more
Host Families Families are located near the school, there are one or two students per family, just as you wish. ...more
Volunteering Some of the social projects connected to the school include: English teaching, working with children from broken homes, orphanage and helping to support scholarships for girls in several rural communities in Guatemala. ...more
Airport Pick-Up Service Upon request, the school can recommend you a contact in Guatemala City to pick you up at the international airport. ...more
How to get there How get there From Central Park, go four and a half blocks to the east on 6th Calle. You pass the Puente de Piedra, a pedestrians bridge. The school is adjacent to Trajes Roma, a suit store.

Students' Feedback

Jhana Taylor Valentine
05 / 2014
I studied with El Quetzal Spanish School for 11 weeks. I studied with many of the teachers and thought they were all excellent. I also stayed with a host family for my first three weeks (with Elena) and had a really good experience. I've attached two photos from a fun birthday celebration at the school.
Thanks for keeping guatemala365 such a great site!
Jhana
Frits Kleinen Hammans
02 / 2014
I can highly recommend El Quetzal Spanish School. I found Xela a wonderful town with a good mix of strong local culture and plenty of entertainment for visitors. The school is very small with a personal atmosphere, you get to know everyone in a very short time, nice activities for this group where on offer including lunches with gift exchange in the family house of the owner of the school on Valentine´s day which was touching.
My host family was a good experience too, accommodation was basic but everything was there, and just 15 meters from the school. Meals where good, and my hosts and their young kids made my stay a lively one, frequently they asked if everything was alright and for feedback.
2 weeks is short time to study Spanish, but the program included homework, presentations and my teacher was very good, so my progress was very quick, I was able to have basic conversations, travel, buy things, ask information and even made a start with the past tense in just 2 weeks.
All in all highly recommended, also because of their very good price/quality ratio in my eyes.
Check-in to the school was very good, the owner of the school and her family came to collect me from the bus station and brought me to my host family.
Samantha Feld
01 / 2014
Hi, I had an amazing 6 weeks at El Quetzal! Glenda and her family and the teachers truly open their home and lives to the students and make them feel part of their big family. I went from knowing almost no Spanish to being conversational and much more confident in 6 weeks. There is a lot of flexibility-- and the more you put into it, the More you get out. I worked with the teachers Jacquie, Claudia and Fernando and each were fabulous. I recommend switching it up after a few weeks to be exposed to different teaching styles.
Esther, my homestay mother for nearly 6 weeks was wonderful. Very accommodating for vegetarian diets! She has had students for the last 15 years but doesn´t make you feel like you´re just one in a long line. The school attracted great students and I made many wonderful friends! Free salsa dancing lessons on Thursday were fun!
Carolyn Murphy
09 / 2013
My host family and all 3 teachers at El Quetzal Schoolwere amazing! My host family was patient with me and always kind to me. My 3 teachers were fantastic!!
In the afternoons we visited other villages, watched educational movies, learned how to sew etc.
Kathleen Gallagher
kathleengallagher54@gmail.com
02 / 2013
Bob and I spent three weeks at El Quetzal Spanish School and we would rate it the best of the three schools we took classes at on our trip through Mexico and Central America. The one on one lessons were intensive but interesting with lots of attention to language learning detail, Guatemalan culture and history, and to my specific interests. There were afternoon activities such as visits to nearby villages, one day to the wonderful hot springs - very nice considering the temperature in Xela and even on weekends it was possible to arrange for a hiking guide. Our host family, Carlos and Cony with their lovely daughters were so kind to us and made our stay very comfortable. I would not hesitate to recommend El Quetzal as a school for serious students who want learn Spanish very thoroughly.
Correspondence with the school was smooth and helpful.
Ian Ausprey
iausprey@yahoo.com
12 / 2012
El Quetzal Spanish School is a perfect fit if you want a small, familiar school that still maintains high quality teaching and education about Guatemala. The teaching, atmosphere, and activities were all superb. Our host family (Esther et al.) was also great. Basically, you should go here.
My girlfriend and I spent a total of 12 weeks over two different visits studying here. We are biologists and came with basic conversational skills that we had picked up through work over the years. So, we started near the beginning of the grammar as we had not had formal classes. We covered most of the foundational grammar (through past tenses of the subjunctive) during this time. Most of your class will be spent on grammar, although during my last few weeks we focused more on comprehension, vocab, and expression. You also spend a lot of time learning about Guatemala´s history and culture, something that I found equally as interesting as the spanish. Beyond the classes, I found the weekly presentations very useful as they forced you to come out of your shell more in front of people and take more risks with your speaking. I also learned a great deal about other people´s learning styles/speeds and Guatemalan topics during these talks.
I think I studied with all but one of the regular teachers (they rotate you every two weeks), and found them all great and easy to work with. This is key as you spend 5 hours a day, 5 days a week with a completely new person one-on-one. The teachers also enjoyed socializing outside of class, and I had a lot of fun exploring the city with some of them. I would especially recommend Claudia or Byron for the really advanced speakers that are working beyond grammar.
Glenda, who runs the school, and Daniel (her husband) are gracious hosts and do their best to make you comfortable and welcome. You will find that the school is as much a social project for Glenda as a school, and she uses funds and student volunteer hours to advance projects she supports in neighboring towns. Beyond the rewarding opportunity to give back, these projects provide you an inside look into life in rural Guatemala that I think would be hard to find otherwise. Being affiliated with Glenda and the school makes people trust you and bring them into their life more.
I also found the daily activities, including the weekly meal that you help prepare, nice opportunities to get out and see the area with the assistance of your teachers. They are also good chances to practice, practice, practice!

Our host family was amazing. Ask for Esther! She is a fantastic cook and probably taught us the most about local customs and history. She has been hosting students for years and has a remarkably international and open-minded view on behavior, religion, etc. for someone who has never traveled outside the area. The rest of her family was also extremely warm and open and invited us to participate in their Xmas and Semana Santa activities.
To summarize, if you really want to focus on Spanish and culture and are not in Xela to party all the time and just hang out with travelers then you should go to El Quetzal. I will always be grateful for the experiences I had there and hope to visit again sometime soon. Please email me if you have questions.
Be aware that nobody has central heating in Xela. Nobody. So, if you come in the winter, especially December-February, it will be cold in the mornings (around freezing and a little higher). So bring lots of layers for your classes and the evenings at home.
Frederick Leblond
10 / 2012
Amazing experience in this small family school. Teachers were really nice and our family host too. We really recommend to go to Quetzaltenango in El Quetzal Spanish School, we were like home. We learned a lot of Spanish, but also about culture and tradition. Glenda and her family are just amazing. We are missing them !!
Quetzaltenango is really good city to study with nice volcan hikes around.
Anonymous
10 / 2012
Really friendly and incredible familiar atmosphere at, El Quetzal Spanish School! Me and my boyfriend liked it a lot! We, like everybody else, ended up staying way longer than we planed, just because it feels like absolutely the right place to be and learn Spanish! Glenda, the director, manage the school very professional and as well, will be helpful with any need. Beside of that, Xela is surrounded by beautiful nature and for people that are into hiking, I suggest to use your free time for hiking while taking Spanish classes (check out Quetzaltrekkers in Xela, Guatemala, a non-profit-hiking-group.Amazing hikes!) Do it and enjoy!
Alan Stride
alanstride@live.co.uk
07 / 2012
Before I finally decided to go to El Quetzal, I was a bit cautious of the fact the rates were so cheap in comparison to a lot of the other schools. I thought that this might of meant that the quality of the teachers and resources would have been worse. However I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I could not of been more wrong and I loved the fact that this school is small with a family-orientated feel to it. The standard of the teachers there is excellent and in 6 weeks I would say I went from beginner to a competent intermediate level. My teachers were Gloria and Fernando and I would definitely recommend them to anyone. They were very easy to talk to, I felt comfortable and a large proportion of my lesson time was spent having casual conversations. Towards the end I could talk about anything and everything and understand. Conversations are the key. I enjoyed the mix of students there. There were guys who required to learn Spanish for their jobs or studies and there were guys like me who just wanted to communicate in another language. I made a lot of friends during my time at the school, which has a very welcoming and friendly environment.
I stayed with the Ramos family, Vilma and Alberto and their two sons Tito and Guillermo. Very pleasant to stay with and definitely accelerates your learning.
It would be a pleasure to recommend El Quetzal to anyone who wants to learn Spanish. I say avoid the larger schools and pay less for better value! (please feel free to send me an e-mail if you have any questions)
Anonymous
04 / 2012
We had a wonderful time learning at El Quetzal Spanish School! We stayed at the Cajas home with Mama Esther and her wonderful family and thoroughly enjoyed her cooking, conversation, and overall guidance. I studied with Pilar and my fiance with Heber and we both had a great experience and learned a lot of spanish very quickly. Both Pilar and Heber were extremely patient with us and we felt that our interest in medicine was adequately incorporated into our education while still learning a broad cross-section of language and Guatemalan culture. We especially loved the trips to neighboring communities with the school´s teachers and the Friday presentations with all the student-teacher pairs. We hope to go back soon!
Conditions of the school were great!
Anonymous
powderpig@bresnan.net
02 / 2012
El Quetzal Spanish School was fantastic. The hours were accommodating and intensive. The atmosphere is super homey with coffee, snacks, and everyone is always up for a chat be it another student, or teacher. I loved working with my teacher Byron. He was awesome, extremely knowledgeable linguistically, historically, and culturally. A great sense of humor also! He tailored my few weeks perfectly to my needs, and was super diligent in making sure I stayed on track and was getting what I asked for. The school offers fun activities throughout the week as well.
The Host family was brilliant. I had Cony and Carlos, and my time at "La Casa de las Vacas" was incredibly fun and enriching. It was a nice ten minute walk from school, a brisk wakeup that I looked forward to each morning.
I loved the extracurricular activities. I watched the videos, went to Salcaj, and took a cool tour of the market with some teachers.
Anonymous
12 / 2011
The people that run El Quetzal Spanish School are all awesome. Glenda is very accommodating and approachable; her two kids are pretty cool and can be seen helping out at the school or just hanging out. My teacher, Daima (spelling?), was quite good and patient.
I had never taken a Spanish lesson before and came away after just one week with a solid base on which to build. Basically: sentence structure, present tense of verbs, a slew of irregular verbs. The school provides you with a notebook. It is up to you to fill it in, which you will since you will be assigned homework.
The school also offered optional activities. I did a hike up "La Muela" and attended a interesting lecture about Guatemala. There is also a potluck held, I think, once a week.
The place is centrally located and easy to find. It does get cold - I was there in December/January - so be sure to bring sweaters. My teacher wore gloves during one of the colder mornings.

My host family was incredible and one of the best parts of my two-week visit to Guatemala. They cooked awesome food, had a comfy bed, and were very inviting and friendly. They also were located within walking distance (about 10 minutes) from the school. It was also fun to interact with and play with the two young kids.
Anonymous
10 / 2011
To make a long story short; my experience at El Quetzal Spanish School was fantastic. I received everything I wanted: professional teachers, sincere environment and meaningful activities. Glenda, the director of the school, is very professional and constantly making sure that students feel comfortable with their learning and living situations. Gloria was my teacher and she was great. I also had a lot of interactions with the other teachers during activities in the afternoon (i.e. lectures, movies, trips). These accounts and talking with other students confirmed the high quality of all the teachers. I highly recommend this school to everyone who is interested in a high quality education and authentic cultural experience.
School provided professional learning environment.
Anonymous
09 / 2011
I had an amazing experience at El Quetzal Spanish School. I began with Rosario, who I would recommend for a beginner, she was a kindergarten teacher before and finished with Gloria...I loved her. We worked on conversation and pronunciation. The school had organized activities every day which were a good mix of educational and social. I highly recommend the school. I stayed with the Xicaras, mama Cony was an amazing cook, friend and the daughters were kind and helpful.
Anonymous
matt.holland.sj@gmail.com
06 / 2011
El Quetzal Spanish School is a warm and inviting school while being rigorous at the same time. The teachers were excellent and I learned more Spanish in these six weeks than I thought was possible.
Study materials consisted of current newspapers, history books, films
Lisa Hofheinz
03 / 2011
Town and school were perfect for an authentic and nice stay. El Quetzal Spanish School has a lot to offer, even though it is a very small school. I was learning together with my boyfriend with one teacher, who did an excellent job. We learned a lot and had an awesome time together. The school offers a lot of activities in the afternoons as well, all of them very interesting. El Quetzal is highly recommendable, ask for Pilar as your teacher, she is superb!
I recommend a home-stay as well because it offers a nice view into Guatemalan family life. Quetzaltenango is great for staying longer. I am so glad that I chose it over Antigua, so much more realistic and a lot of activities in and around. Regards, Lisa.
Katie Lueders
02 / 2011
I also studied at, El Quetzal Spanish School and had Rosario as teacher, who was FABULOUS!!! She was experienced, patient, funny, and kept the environment lively and fun. There were several special touches at this school: Bread of some sort provided every day at break time to encourage students to get to know each other, free tea and coffee, and lots of projects/field trips for the students as well. Rosario catered some of my learning towards my interests (animals), which encouraged me to learn more vocabulary, etc. Plus, it provided a nice break when learning the rules/tenses of the language got overwhelming or frustrating. She also came with me to lunch and helped me navigate a map... Thanks Rosario!
Glenda, who I believe is the founder of the school, was very helpful. The teachers are always trying to include all the students in the school's activities, and engage in conversation. This school was really on top of their game, very professional and friendly. I had several hotel debacles while in Xela, but my school was great!!! If you can't stay at the Dona Mercedes, it is clean and safe, unlike some other places I first stayed at while there...! Spend the extra money to stay somewhere nice! Regards, Katie.
Jesse Pizzitola
jessepizzitola@gmail.com
01 / 2011
I attended El Quetzal for 3.5 weeks and had a very good experience. My wife and I have actually compressed our site-seeing time in Guatemala so we can return there next week to continue studying at El Quetzal Spanish School. Not only do we both feel great about our progress learning Spanish at this school, but we have both found that we learn much more about the culture, history, economy, and politics of Guatemala by attending this school and living in Xela than by following the tourist trail around the country. There are excelent activities 4 times a week, lectures, cooking and dancing classes, videos, hikes and other excursions into the sourronding mountians and pueblos. Not only are all the teachers envolved in your education through daily activities but the owner is very present and interested in the progress all of her students.
Colleen O'Brien
12 / 2010
First of all, Xela is a wonderful place to study and live. I enjoyed the El Quetzal Spanish School, although I was there for only one week that spanned New Years, so it was a slow time and I didn't get to experience all that the school had to offer. I still really enjoyed the atmosphere at the school and my teacher Miriam was wonderful!! She worked with me to make sure I met my goals and my Spanish dramatically improved by the end of the week.
The host family was welcoming and wonderful. I always had plenty of food to eat and was brought in as a member of their own family. I wish I could have stayed for longer!!
The teaching method was very personalized and tailored specifically to my needs. My teacher worked every day to help my reach my goals by the week's end! I really liked that Miriam would often have me make up my own sentences and have me use the new tenses repeatedly to help me remember. I would definitely return!! Thank you, Colleen.
Bruce Porter
12 / 2010
For me the week in El Quetzal Spanish School was very useful. My teacher was quick to work out my level and what I wanted. He then set out a plan for us to follow. Each day he would check we had made our objectives and state what I would learn tomorrow. He would then give me a lot of homework. By the end of the week, we could have a beer and a conversation.
We also helped out with the English lessons run by the school at the end of the week. This was very interesting and humbling as we watched and helped locals ranging from under 10 to over 60 learning English.
Study materials at El Quetzal consisted of work books that were supplied to students.
George Gibson
gogibson6@yahoo.com
11 / 2010
Good school, great people, and a wonderful experience. I consider the small size of El Quetzal and the one-on-one instruction to be an advantage. Specifically, the one-on-one instruction allowed my instructor to tailor his teaching to my objectives. My teacher, Byron, was fantastic. I had thought that 5 hours a day of Spanish might be too much. But, Byron had a variety of activities to keep me interested and motivated. From what other students said, all the instructors at El Quetzal provide quality education. Glenda, the founder and owner is a beautiful person that cares about all her students.
I only had two weeks available. That was not enough. I am already planning on going back for longer. I choose not to stay with a host family. Instead, I stayed in a hotel about 200 feet away. Based on my experience, I would highly recommend El Quetzal Spanish School.
If anyone has specific questions fee free to contact me at: gogibson6@yahoo.com.
Matthew Wootton
10 / 2010
I have a complicated and conflicting advice for you about the El Quetzal Spanish School. But my advice is relevant and important on WHATEVER school you're looking at going to. To make it short:
on the one hand the extra activities were excellent. Walks up volcanoes, to a neighboring village, to the hot steam baths; English classes to teach, a traditional lunch once a week.
Accommodations: very good. After initially staying with a teacher (in what turned out to be a disastrous and tense miss-match of personalities) I was fairly happy with a room off of Wilma's yard, decent food (and she managed to make it vegetarian for me) and enough of it.
Teaching: this is the complicated part. The conclusion unfortunately is: you need to be in charge of your own education and to know what you want. You cannot expect this school - or any school - to get it all right for you.
I suspect that El Quetzal follows a very similar format to other schools. The school itself had lots of other students when I was there, mainly other English speakers, from the UK, Germany, Sweden, the States etc. Most other schools at that time seemed almost empty. But our school was social, with plenty of opportunity to go out for a beer (and talk in Spanish) if you got along with the teachers. I think the school is very good value for money as well - I chose it because of its good value and I don't think I would have had better tuition chances somewhere else; I'd have just got ripped off.
HOWEVER the teaching - specifically my teacher - did not help me very much at all. This was not entirely her fault. It was the fact that I did not get on with her teaching style, and she was too inexperienced to change it for me. I began by suffering in silence but then I complained more and more as time went on that I felt I was making lists of grammar rules, and that is exactly what I was doing. I have the books to prove it, lists of grammar rules in my own writing. Up to 25 different rules for how to use a given tense. Or a mode of tense. Have I used such rules even once since? No, of course not. Have they been relevant? No way. Did I need more speaking and listening practice? Yes, absolutely. Did I need less rules (ESPECIALLY because I personally don't like rules anyway)? YES. Did I need to concentrate on important words/verbs and conjugations rather than learn every possible rule for every conjugation? YES, of course. I think other students got along much better however, with different teachers. I'm not going to say who my teacher was, because she was perfectly well meaning. She was however very young (like, 20) and I think with more experience she will loosen up and not feel she has to charge through the curriculum. But that doesn't help me. Although the school is good value, at the end of the day I have paid nearly £600 and I still can't speak Spanish as well as I should be expected to after 5 weeks one-to-one tuition. In fact the one-to-one tuition aspect of the teaching was wasted. We had a fantastic opportunity that I would kill for now to dwell on the aspects of the language that I liked and enjoyed and to build my confidence and skills, especially through talking and listening. Instead we charged through the curriculum in a theoretical way - head down - at a fast rate, completely regardless of the fact that I was clearly not remembering or being able to use what I had already been taught. I can't stress enough that the school needs to think harder about listening closely to the INDIVIDUAL needs of students, monitor their progress and judge it by ability to speak rather than number of pages filled in their exercise book (!) and brief their teachers NOT to rush through the curriculum.
However, I don't think El Quetzal is a bad school. This could have happened anywhere, and I know it DIDN'T happen with other students/teachers. At the end of the day, the only way you're going to have a good experience - at any school - is to understand what kind of learner you are (you probably have an intuition already) and to road-test a teacher. See if you get along with them. DON'T suffer for more than a couple of days if you're not taking off. Learning SHOULD be fun. I was not having fun for most of the time, and my motivation dropped through the floor. So. I hope this will help other people, and I hope that Glenda the Director at El Quetzal (who is a very nice lady) can take this advice on board.
Matt Wootton (Mateo). El Quetzal student, Autumn 2010
Anonymous
mjwood2609@gmail.com
10 / 2010
I studied for nearly three months with Glenda, the director of El Quetzal Spanish School, and my husband studied with Heber for about five months. We had a wonderful experience at the school, which is a smaller school with a personal touch.
Not only did we learn a lot of Spanish, but we learned a lot about Guatemalan culture and felt the people at the school really cared about us. We had just moved to Guatemala, and the school staff helped us search for an apartment, set up internet service and learn to do the practical things we needed at that time.
Glenda helped me learn the specific vocabulary I needed for the volunteer work I am doing here. We enjoyed participating in many of the school activities and have had school staff serve as tour guides even since we finished our studies.
The people at El Quetzal are great friends as well as great Spanish teachers. I would highly recommend this school to anyone.
Everything went fine with communication. Glenda contacted us by e-mail before we arrived and always contacted me by phone, as needed, while we were students. Thanks.
Andrew Leese
10 / 2010
Hello, I decided to go to El Quetzal Spanish School in Quetzaltenango. I studied at this school from October 4th - November 5th for a total of 5 weeks. I had a fantastic instructor called Byron. He was very patient, funny and great at explaining the language. There was good use of study materials although, I would recommend bringing your own dictionary, especially if you are not a native English speaker. There were excellent after school activities, including visits to neighboring villages, Guatemalan films and hikes up local mountains and volcanoes. I also frequently went for drinks with some of the teachers in the evenings which was an excellent opportunity to practice my Spanish in a different environment. I stayed with a wonderful family (mother´s name - Esther) and couldn't have wished for a better experience. They were always exceptionally friendly and very accommodating to my (initially terrible) Spanish. I would definitely recommend the school. It´s fantastic value and everyone there - Glenda, Heber, Byron, Linda, Miriam, Julio etc..., is really eager to help you learn and always great to talk to. I wish I could have stayed longer. Regards, Andrew.
Anonymous
08 / 2010
I had a fantastic time studying and doing the activities set up by the school. My teacher and lessons were helpful and structured but allowed me to guide the content and vocabulary necessary to improve my Spanish. My host family were so welcoming and friendly - they made practicing and using the Spanish from my lessons easy and made me feel like one of the family. I would highly recommend the school, the home stay and teachers within El Quetzal Spanish School.
Very helpful - Glenda and family came to meet me and guide me to the host family
Diane Duffy
dmduffy1950@yahoo.com
07 / 2010
Hello, I studied at, El Quetzal Spanish School and I can honestly say that I am sad that it had to end. What an amazing school, instructor (Glenda), and all-round experience. I am planning to return next year. Look no further, if what you want in a language school is an inviting environment and focused instruction. I’ve attended language schools in Costa Rica and Guatemala and can recommend El Quetzal Spanish School over my other choices. The instruction weaves school-related activities and personal interests with grammar instruction and vocabulary building to provide a student-focused learning experience. Although, I have studied Spanish in a variety of settings, this school helped me to make connections within the language that up to now were isolated rules. This is not fill-in-the-blank teaching. The instructors work at least, as hard as the students to make sure that you completely understand the concepts. Asking questions and pausing over confusing topics are encouraged. Definitely, learning Spanish here is not a spectator sport, yet is enjoyable and satisfying. I suggest that you bring a good Spanish/English dictionary, though not required. Activities outside of class also add to the learning. Inexpensive afternoon trips, free weekly cooking class (resulting in a delicious lunch), and volunteer opportunities during the week and weekends are available and encouraged. Since the teachers and students feel like family, you’ll want to participate in these options, although, they are not mandatory. Sincerely, Diane Duffy.
Laura Decré
06 / 2010
Hello, I decided to go to, El Quetzal Spanish School in Quetzaltenango (Xela). I studied for only two weeks. I got a good instructor, I forgot the name. Study materials were, Ok. The after school activities were great! My host family was also great! I would absolutely recommend the school! Regards, Laura.
Joyce Keeley
keeleyj@seattleu.edu
06 / 2010
Hi, I decided for El Quetzal Spanish School in Quetzaltenango (Xela). I studied for 5 weeks. Miriam Herrera was an excellent instructor. It didn't even feel like school most of the time as she would make everything fun and we would just chat for hours. She really understands the Spanish language and grammar and also knows a fair amount of English, so she could explain things very well. It seemed to me that even though it was probably random, the director Glenda, managed to pair up every student with the perfect teacher for them. I did not receive any study materials or notebooks, even though, it seemed all the other students did. Each day at the school we used grammar books that Glenda created, which were for the most part very complete, but at times almost so thorough, as to be redundant. It might be helpful to include an English translation for some phrases and tenses, especially as we got into condicional perfect or some subjunctive phrases as I had to figure these out by myself.
Our activities were very fun and I really appreciated the chance to travel around Xela and get to know some of the teachers better. The male teachers are great and very friendly and spend a great deal of time with the students but the female teachers keep more distance and tend to socialize with just one another on these outings. It was kind of hard for me to arrange volunteer work for myself with the school's schedule but it is certainly possible.
My host family was excellent as well. I stayed with Esperanza and Alvaro although, I can't remember their last name. Esperanza is always looking for new boarders and is very, very accommodating with food and rooms. She also sits with her guests during every meal and helps them practice their Spanish. She is extremely patient and good natured and hilarious. The thing I also loved about this house is that she has several Guatemalan boys who are going to high school/university in the city and board with her. It was so great to hang out with boys my age and feel even more connected with the culture. I really felt as though I was staying with a family here. However, if you are not okay with pets, a little dirt, very simple meals, and the occasional cold shower, this house is probably not the best fit for you.
I would recommend El Quetzal, as it seems to be one of the best quality schools for the lowest price. I will be telling all my friends and family about this school and may even return myself. Regards, Joyce.
Daniel Lonard
dlonard@hotmail.com
06 / 2010
Hello, I went to El Quetzal Spanish School in Quetzaltenango (Xela) and I studied for 6 weeks. My instructor was Heber who is a 30yr old male Guatemalteco. We had a lot in common and became really good friends over our 6 weeks together and regularly hung out after class. He is a very good instructor, using the schools resources and his own personal resources that he has built up over the years that he has been teaching. I felt like he gave me the initiative and he also tailored everything to my needs, especially because I knew some spanish already. The school's activities were great and the teachers and a few other people came along for the excursions. We went to many of the surrounding villages around Xela, played football every week and also taught English to Guatemalan teachers. We had cooking classes every week as well, where the whole school was involved. The best activities were organized through Glenda, who does a lot of volunteering with indigenous families. We taught some children about nutrition and some of the students who were doctors, also talked to the indigenous mothers about health issues and hygiene. My teacher Heber also has an organization with a school in a village and we went to the school to help out for the day and play with the children.
My host families were really amazing. The mom's name is Ester and she has 2 daughters as well. They looked after me in all aspects of life in Xela and I would recommend them highly to anyone. I also became friends with another family, Carlos and Cony who were also amazing and would recommend them as well. Overall, my experience at, El Quetzal was highly memorable. I went there because I knew the school was small in size and this was the best aspect: the school resembled a family. You know all the students who are studying there and also all of the teachers, so its amazing to get to know people and feel comfortable at the same time. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn spanish and have a great cultural experience. Sincerely, Daniel.
Ivan K.
pri00ce@yahoo.com
05 / 2010
Hi, I attended a couple of schools. First I went to El Quetzal Spanish School in Quetzaltenango. I studied for 4 weeks there. For 2 weeks my instructor was Heber. He was very attentive and very motivated to alleviate my level. I would have welcomed though, more of structural teaching in his approach. After Heber I studied 2 weeks with Glenda. Her teaching was excellent. Even so the technique would benefit with more variety as applied in modern teaching. The school is using primarily its own materials, so it is a very good idea to take some study books of one's own choice along.
The after school activities were very good. The school really takes a lot of trouble to make sure one is busy in the afternoons and even with 1 student, it would not drop the after school activities!
My host family was Elenita Elias Rodas and Jose. I felt at home with them very fast. They really took their time every day to talk a lot with me or the other student to give me opportunity to practice my spanish. Also the room was very spacious and very clean. It was a pleasure and good fortune to have had such a family!
I liked the school and surely can recommend it. Everybody who likes a smaller school were you get to know everybody will surely enjoy their stay at El Quetzal! Any enquires are welcome at, pri00ce@yahoo.com. Sincerely, Ivan.