Escuela de Español Casa Xelaju

Escuela de Español Casa Xelaju
Callejon 15 Diagonal 13-02, zona 1
Rank 84%
Prices 210 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 26 per week.
School Size 20 to 90 students
Openings This school currently has openings!
Summary A big professional school, which pays a fair salary to its teachers. Casa Xelaju uses a holistic method where the motivation to understand and learn grammar comes from interesting texts, poems and songs. It has several specialty programs: A program for children, nurses and doctors, police, firemen and Spanish teachers. There are also Latin American literature courses ($10 extra, very recommendable).
At casa Xelajú you can get university credits.
Wireless internet for free.
The school now also offers tutoring via Skype for $15 per hour.
Total immersion in Quetzaltenango: excellent, if you don′t hang out with other students.

Escuela de Español Casa Xelaju fills up in January, during Easter Week, and during summer (June through August). For these times new students are recommended to enroll at least two months in advance.
Tuition for summer is $220 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 Escuela de Español Casa Xelaju (click here)

Escuela de Español Casa Xelaju - Details

Teachers The school has 23 fulltime teachers. Only professional school teachers are invited to job interviews. They have to pass a course in teaching adults and a Spanish grammar course; only the best are then employed. Every week, students report on their teachers.
For university credits, just ask your university teacher to contact the school and give them your curriculum. The school will then teach the curriculum to you. After your return the university will automatically credit your work or examine you first. All sides are happy: your teacher and yourself for your fast progress, and the school for their opportunity to serve you.
Methods One on one teaching. Casa Xelaju switched from the traditional "Bottom Up" method to "Top Down", also known as "Whole Language". ...more
Materials No official textbook but verb and exercise lists. Teachers develop their own materials. Library: excellent: over 1000 books. Video library: excellent: over 160 educational videos/DVDs. ...more
Special Programs At casa Xelajú you can get university credits. Casa Xelaju has an agreement to receive university credits from Brookhaven College in Dallas, Texas through their Multinational Academic Program (MAP) and Seattle Central Community College (SCCC). This costs about $500 for each credit.
Casa Xelaju offers special courses in Spanish Literature, History of Guatemala and Spanish for Educators, Health Workers, Business people, College Students and Children. The school now also offers tutoring via Skype for $15 per hour. This program is popular with future teachers in California and Texas. You study for two weeks minimum, two hours daily. ...more
Location There is a small, quiet classroom for each student. Relax in a big patio with water fall and cafeteria. ...more
Activities Visits to local villages and attractive sites, dancing, local food cooking course, videos, talks. Salsa and Merengue courses. ...more
Host Families Families earn $40 per week. Student′s reports about host families are mostly good. ...more
Volunteering Casa Xelaju runs "La Pedrera" Community Project with over 100 beneficiary children, some attending college. ...more
Airport Pick-Up Service Upon request, the school can help make arrangements with a staff member to pick students up at the international airport in Guatemala City. US$40.00 for meeting you at the airport, private transportation to the bus station, first class ticket from Guatemala City to Quetzaltenango, meeting you at the bus terminal in Quetzaltenango and a ride directly to the host family. If you need to stay overnight, the service is US$50.00 including dinner and continental breakfast.

Students' Feedback

Susan Haynes
07 / 2010
We travelled as a collection of four families (11 people total) with a range of ability and background, from very fluent to a 10 year old who could say "hola" and took Spanish lessons at Casa Xelaju Spanish School in Quetzaltenango. We were each matched with appropriate and compatible teachers. The children loved their experience and are enjoying their Spanish classes back in the USA now. The most fluent of us, worked on the mysteries of the subjunctive (which are manifold, apparently). I was worked very hard on vocabulary and comprehension in speaking, listening and reading. I went in at roughly 2nd year college level, but shy to speak. I came out at 3rd year level, and totally unafraid to let loose with Spanish. All our teachers were completely engaged with us and appeared to really enjoy working with us. Great experience. This school has my highest recommendation! Host family experiences varied for us. The school was very helpful and flexible in matching us up well. Very smooth and helpful. Staff were professional, responsive and flexible.
Dawn Lasby
06 / 2009
I also attended Escuela de Español Casa Xelaju in Quetzaltenango (Xela). I studied for two weeks there. My teacher, Claudia was not so good, but my first instructor at this school Zuly, was excellent. Study resources were ok, but, I would have liked an exercise book, but, the handouts provided by Zuly were good. Activities in Xela were excellent run by Elizabeth. I didn′t choose a host family. I would definitely recommend Casa Xelaju. Thanks, for the follow up... I knew where I was going, then I went to school. Their websites were helpful in deciding for a school, I chose this school, because of their activities. Sincerely, Lawn.
Ron Torgerson
06 / 2008
I attended Casa Xelaju Spanish School for 1 week. My instructor′s name was Lady. All Lady would do is conjugate verbs, even though I asked for tourist survival skills. Two hours into the second day I quit in disgust. The only vocabulary she went over was colours - all of which I had memorized before going to Guatemala. I would never go back there again. A young woman I met on the first day (also from Canada) said she was having problems with her instructor not being responsive to what was asked of him. I don′t recall that instructor′s name. Field trips at this school were interesting but not at all related to instruction - they seemed to be designed to just use up time. For instance, one weekend trip was to the beach, but there was no attempt to provide context. The staff members tasked with trips - Miguel - was a very nice and accommodating person, but was very new to town. I think he will be a credit to the school once he has a few months more under his belt. His orientation session for, and assistance to, new students were excellent. I did not stay with a host family, having rented one of the new apartments at the school. Next time I will try to rent another apartment - but not at Casa Xelaju. I contracted with them to pick me up at the Guatemala City airport, put me on a bus and pick me at the terminal in Xela, and take me to the apartment I rented with them. The guy was late picking me up at the airport - I was standing in line for a taxi when he wandered up. He was very nice and got me a ticket for the bus. Then, I wasn′t picked up in Xela. After waiting for 30 minutes I took a taxi. Even though I had booked the apartment 6 weeks previously, it wasn′t ready for me until after 6 pm that night - they were still trying to get the electricity working. During the 3 1/2 week in the apartment, I never had Hot (I know this really means warm) water in the apartment, the toilet leaked in the bathroom, flooding the floor, etc. It was very difficult to get the staff to fix the problems. I would give this school a failing grade. Thanks, Ron.
Barbara Lindemann
04 / 2008
The week after studying in San Pedro, Atitlan, we moved to Xela (Quetzaltenango) and went to Casa Xelaju Spanish School where we studied for an additional week. I was satisfied with my teacher there, but my daughter′s teacher did not meet her needs for grammar instruction. The school was not as well administered as the school in San Pedro. The director did provide us with a roomy and comfortable apartment beside the school, and we appreciated the central location. The field trip to Salcaja was interesting and with a good guide from the school. I′d recommend the school and the one in San Pedro. Thanks, Barbara.
Jenniffer Chase
11 / 2007
My husband and I studied at Escuela de Español Casa Xelaju in Quetzaltenango. We studied for 5 days only. We had separate teachers who were wonderful. I mostly received and reviewed information that the teacher and I worked on during the class. I was to study the information for the next day. I thought this was fine and helpful. My husband had a similar experience with his teacher. Our host family were fabulous. We stayed with an older couple who had a great set up for us and were very helpful with our studies. Xela is very cold for my husband and I because we are from Southern California, and therefore the house was very cold. But, that is our only complaint about the whole experience. I would say that the school earned a 90%, or in US school grading standards, an A-. I don′t believe we stayed long enough to know how much more satisfactorily or less satisfactorily the school could be. But for one week, we were both happy and for the rest of our trip through Central America, we were speaking and understanding more Spanish. Thank YOU very much for following up and having, I was grateful for this site because it put so many schools in one location for review. Jenniffer.
Rhoda Martin
10 / 2007
I finally decided for Casa Xelaju Spanish School in Quetzaltenango. I studied there for two months. At first, I had one excellent teacher, then the others were regular, obviously bored, yawning, checking text messages etc..., during lessons. Study materials were varied - the permanent teachers had good resources, the temporary teachers′ resources were non-existent. My host family was great, friendly and helpful and they let me come and go as I wish. In summary, I′d say Casa Xelaju is cheap but the quality of teaching you get really depends on which teacher you happen to get. So do your research! Best wishes, Rhoda Martin.
Charles Gribble
10 / 2007
Note, that in my recent trip I was savvier, more travel wise, more in tune culturally, and better able to communicate than I was a year ago (my first trip). My comments and observations need to be read with this in mind. In addition, please keep in mind that I am a language teacher with many years of experience working with foreign language speakers from all over the world. My built-in expectations tend to be high even if my demeanour is laid back. I also attended Casa Xelaju Spanish School in Quetzaltenango, which is a big Spanish school with a long history. I studied there for one week, 5 hour class days, with the hope that I would be introduced to new or interesting methodologies or approaches?something the school emphasizes in their advertising. One of my difficulties was that I came down with the flu in the middle of the week, and after missing a day spent the final two days in a recovery mode. Not the best way to be a student. That fact notwithstanding, I didn?t see how studying at this school was much different from anywhere else I?ve been or heard about. My teacher was competent and refreshingly easy to understand. Not highly creative. Not able to quickly spot where I could use extra help and practice. Instead, just like the young teacher at other school, it was ?what do you want to do?? and ?what would you like to work on?? Study materials in general seemed kind of old or worn out to me. I could say more, but I work with such excellent stuff as a teacher of ESL that it′s hard to make comparisons with anything I saw in Guatemala at some pretty decent schools. This school is well equipped to provide excursions and multi-cultural experiences that I only got a glimpse of in one week. The physical setting is to the stark side?definitely more institutional than homey. My homestay situation was the most Spartan of the three I have experienced. I was fed very well. The house was strictly set up for boarders, traffic noise was common, and there was just nowhere to go beyond your bedroom. One week in Xela was enough. I probably got tired of it after spending six weeks there last year. I think a person could count on any of the schools I attended to teach basics and fundamentals well. But as an intermediate learner, I think the experiences from my recent trip left a lot to be desired. A note about cost or expense. Naturally, in Guatemala (except in Antigua) it?s not horribly high. The school in Cobán was around $135 per week and in Xela around $165 per week. But if you look at the cost per hour of instruction, it was about the same. Best, Chuck.
09 / 2007
I decided to attend Escuela de Español Casa Xelaju in Quetzaltenango. I studied for 6 weeks there. I had 4 different teachers, 2 great ones and 2 mediocre ones. Each teacher comes up with their own plans and uses their own materials, so it depends on the teacher. In general not many textbooks are used at the school. My host family was absolutely excellent. I enjoyed staying with them. In general this school is good for the independent student that already knows a little Spanish and is interested in focusing on developing conversational skills. Thank you, Christina.
Ricardo & Rita Mier
04 / 2007
We got the name of the school Casa Xelaju Spanish School, from a friend who had gone there many years ago, but your site really provided the confidence to go ahead and sign up. We were there 5 weeks. Our teachers, I had two and my wife had the same one for 5 weeks, were very good, university educated. Very professional. In fact, a requirement for them is that they present a talk regarding language or culture or politics to the other teachers on a regular basis--they operate more or less like a university department. They worked us hard, which is what we wanted. The activites, 3-4 per week were similarly good and included a hike to a lake on top of a volcano, dance lessons, a visit to a free clinic (something I instigated), several talks about Guatemalan politics, relevant movies, cooking lessons, visits to the market, etc... Really only one semi-negative, I signed up for the "Medical Spanish" course, but my teacher didn′t really know anything about patients, or medical practice so that kind of fizzled. Our family was really superb. Very nice, clean quarters, terrific food, nice people. The woman in whose house we were staying had pictures around of students who had lived with the family in the past and she was always talking about them and how much she enjoyed having the students. We spent quite a bit of time sitting around the table talking in Spanish. We developed a nice relationship with her--when we left, she cryed to see us go. Guatemala is great and was very useful. Thanks, Rich Mier
01 / 2007
Finally I studied at Casa Xelaju Spanish School in Xela, Quetzaltenango. I was there for 1 week. My teacher was pretty good, he knew the rules and how to teach them. He was fairly young and had only two years of teaching experience. He spoke decent English, which in his case was a drawback, since I got the feeling he was often using it much more than necessary in order to get his own practice. He was also a mumbler, it was often very hard for me to understand what we was saying. He was happy to go out on field trips with me to various places, which was great. He took me in his car to the huge cemetery, which is a highly recommended trip, especially with a local who can explain things to you. We also went to the giant San Francisco market together, a very fun and crazy trip. My family there was great, very friendly, multigenerational, very bland food though. The school was huge, under some remodelling, and not very pretty, after the other two schools, with gardens and plants, studying in a tiny empty room with only a table and two chairs felt a little like prison, but that was ok, as it made it feel more serious.
Lou-Ellen Saidel
02 / 2006
I had gotten the name of Escuela de Espanol Casa Xelaju from a friend, and that is the school I ended up at. I studied for 3 weeks and 3 days. I would have loved to have stayed longer, but had only that much time off from my job.  I had an excellent teacher.  I did not participate in too many activities. This was my 3rd time in Guatemala, and so I had some of my own ideas about how I wanted to spend my time. The family I had was not quite a family--more of a boarding house.  Many other students had not liked this setting.  I found the proprieties to be a bit idiosyncratic, but we got along fine. LS
Maria Catalina Rogers
02 / 2006
I then attended Escuela de Espanol Casa Xelaju in Quetzaltenango for a month and found it to be very professional. The activities there were decent but only every other day or so, the family was really great and the teaching was top notch.
Michael Turilli
01 / 2006
I am happy to provide you with a report of my experience in Guatemala. Here it is. I studied at the Escuela de Espanol Casa Xelaju for six weeks and would highly recommend it to anyone. I had three teachers while I was there, and found them all to be well qualified and very professional. It was great to have my own personal teacher who could address any questions I could think of and tailor the classes to my specific needs. Aside from grammar classes, for two weeks I studied Latin American literature at the Casa Xelaju. For anyone who already has a strong background in Spanish, I would recommend these courses. They cost a little more, but are definitely worth it as they are taught by the most experienced teachers. Outside of class, the school offers many good activities if you want to get involved. They also offer free internet access throughout the day on about ten computers, and have an extensive collection of Spanish language films which you can watch whenever you want. I stayed with two families while I was there, and both were good experiences. They took good care of me and provided a very comfortable environment for living. Most of the families have been housing students for years. My experience at Casa Xelaju exceeded my expectations and I really have no complaints. It′s a good school for those who really want to learn Spanish. I was also very happy with the services provided by I found their information to by very reliable and they made the process of going down to Guatemala incredibly easy.
Sally Palmer
08 / 2005
My boyfriend and I decided to go to Escuela de Español Casa Xelaju in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. We studied for only a week, but it was a great environment for learning Spanish. I would recommend this school to someone who wants to be away from English speakers, as only Spanish is spoken in the home stay and at the school. It was my first time ever learning Spanish, so it was a bit difficult to set up a schedule or learn a massive amount in such a short time period. My teacher focused on conversational skills rather than grammatical rules, which was good in a sense. I was able to learn a lot about the culture of Guatemala and the indigenous people. As for the family aspect, we had a great family and the food was amazing. It was a little strange at mealtimes, though, since I didn′t know much Spanish. I could understand what they were saying, but I didn′t have the vocabulary to reply. The parents would talk slowly to my boyfriend and me, but as soon as their relatives were around, they would talk a mile a minute. If you want to study in a pretty town or one with things going on, I would recommend studying in Antigua. Xela doesn′t have much going on and I found it to be rather polluted. Also, the altitude adjustment was difficult for I wouldn′t recommend it for people with low blood pressure.
Kathy Nakazawa
06 / 2005
Actually I picked the school based on my friend that had already attended previously however; here is some feedback to your questions: I deciden for Escuela de Espanol Casa Xelaju Quetzaltenango. I studied for two (2) weeks. About my teacher? I was disappointed with the first teacher (student with no formal training) and requested to change after the first week, the teacher that I was assigned the second week was very good (degree in teaching Spanish and expert on grammar). My family was very nice and very welcoming into the daily life and conversations.
Michael Charles Clark
07 / 2004
Also studied at Escuela de Español Casa Xelaju in Xela for 2 weeks, but I was less pleased. I thought the school was very much overpriced, and I didn′t learn much from either of my teachers. My friends who went to smaller, family style places seemed to have better experiences. Also my host family in Xela was terrible whereas my host family in San Pedro was fantastic. I thought the website was very good, and I especially appreciate the school rankings, it′s hard to great a straight answer on which schools are good, because often time′s people are affiliated with one of the schools. Good luck.
Teresa Zensen
11 / 2003
I studied at Casa Xelaju for 3 weeks and had a wonderful experience. The teacher′s are very knowledgeable and they tailor the program to the individual′s needs and wants. It allows you to have time to work in the after school tutoring program of La Pedrera, helping the local children with their own school work. One of the main things I was looking for in a program was individual instruction and the ability to help the local people in some sort of project. The both of these exceeded my expectations. The family I stayed with was very accommodating and had been hosting students for many years. I can only say great things about the school and the availability of activities. The cost was very reasonable. I found that the area of the town in which it was located is very central and they have computers available for students to use all day long, until 7 PM. I would definitely recommend this school to anyone. If you have any other specific questions to ask I′d be glad to answer. I came away from Guatemala with many great memories and friends from there.