Dec 17, 2007, 7:34 PM
Post #4 of 4
I know that you are asking about Oaxaca schools, but, if you are willing to travel just a little farther south I have a suggestion. My wife and I spent two weeks in November at a Spanish immersion school in Quetzaltenango in Guatemala. The school name is Pop Wuj and we recommend it highly. Classes are one on one and the teachers that we had were certainly knowledgable and professional. We chose the homestay option with a family in Quetzaltenango(Xela). The cost for the program was a one time fee of $90 to register and then $165 per week for 5 hours per day Monday to Friday of individual instruction plus 3 meals a day and accomodation with your homestay family.
What we liked.
Individual, tailored instruction. Committed and professional teachers. An excellent social program as an adjunct to the school, should you wish to participate. The school supports a Guarderia with 45 children currently there. You can visit with the kids and help out if you wish. The school also has a project to build enclosed stoves for people living in small villages in the mountains. You can participate in the building process. The school also sponsors a free clinic twice a week. Again, you can help if you wish. We went with our teachers on a couple of trips, one to the market in Xela to see what was for sale and we wound up bringing back fresh fruits to share at the school. Also a trip to the mountains to see the stove building projects up close. The school provides a real community atmosphere and a chance to participate in its social programs. You can take your classes in the school or walk with your teacher to a nearby coffee shop. It was great and we both learned a lot.
We had expectations of having a fun morning at the school and then an afternoon of relaxing/birdwatching/wine drinking etc. Actually, we wound up spending 2-3 hours every afternoon studying and doing our homework. Again, if you are there for a longer period, you might not feel the same need to focus as intently as we did. Sure is worth it tho.
What we didn't like.
The school asks for feedback at the end of each week on your teacher and your homestay family. The idea is that you can switch teachers or homestays if you are unhappy. We were not particularly happy with our homestay situation (not very clean) but for the sake of only two weeks, we couldn't be bothered to switch. In all fairness, other students did not have this problem, although almost everyone complained about the bathrooms. For our next visit we would probably choose to rent our own place so that we could explore the markets more and cook our own food. We saw an ad for what looked like a very nice 2 bedroom apartment for $200/month.
Xela can be cool in the morning and you definitely would need a sweater and probably a jacket in the evening.
Brian and Lois Lewis