Anyone who reads this blog will know I’m not exactly a wordsmith, so why would I attempt to study another language.
Well it is practical and fun and maybe I could mask my bad English with even worse Spanish.
Having been forced to learn Irish for 14 years and now being able to say about three words, I was never that keen on learning another language. Speaking English as my native language also made me quite lazy and ignorant of other languages.
Then when I started travelling I met all these people, Europeans mainly, who could speak 4 or 5 languages. I was jealous of how easy it was for them to jump into conversations and deal with issues. Not that I couldn’t or cant but it looked so easy.
Plus you can talk about people while they are sitting right beside you, or ease drop when they don’t know you speak the same language, for a naturally noisey person this is a great gift to have.
Since I lived in Spain, I have had an affinity for Spanish, mainly because it is one of the easier ones to learn and one of the most popular in the world. Considering where I was travelling last, learning it along the way seemed like a good idea and I choose to study Spanish in Guatemala for a number of reasons.
Why study Spanish in Guatemala?
Firstly the people speak more slowly and without much of an accent making it a little easier to learn, although when you start out it still sounds super fast. It is cheap compared to many other countries, this is due to its popularity, as many schools compete for students and also its position in Central America. Squeezed between Mexico to the north and El Salvador and Honduras to the south. Mexico is quite expensive for classes and the further south you go the more necessary it is to have already grasped the basics.
How they teach?
There are a variety of methods, classrooms, volunteering, total immersion. There are a number of very popular places to study, beside the stunning Lake Atitlan, in Beautiful Antigua or quaint Quetzaltenango, or more simply Xela. I choose Xela.
So how was studying in Xela
My friend Justin had been there a few weeks and had found a cheap school and accommodation. Always looking for a bargain I went to the same school, in hindsight it was a mistake. The school wasn’t very professional and I had few teacher changes over the month that I was there Though it wasn’t the worst place to go and as a complete beginner the relaxed atmosphere might have been a little bit of a help. Next time I will go for the more established and recommended schools.
Besides this little hiccup though the city itself is a great to study Spanish in Guatemala. There are a few schools but you hardly ever encountered other students during the week. This was good as you had more time to study and do assignments. I restricted myself to only going out on weekends which helped a lot as well. During the week I would either study or be with my friends from the city. They would laugh at my attempts to speak Spanish. Margarit and Isabella were good teacher of the bad words in Spanish which is always a fun to learn.
Would I recommend Xela
I believe Xela is the best location to study Spanish in Guatemala if that is genuinely what you want to do. There were far to many people who I met that got distracted by their surroundings and didn’t learn much. I might have been distracted, but on only one of these things so I had more time to learn Spanish.
Plus the schools and accommodation were much cheaper in Xela than Antigua or by lake Atitlan. As a growing city it has a huge student population who love to mingle with the foreigners. A large population of people in a similar age group make for many interesting nights out.
Just a small complaint, but it was cold.The city sits over 2000 meters above sea level so expect the same. The altitude and climate take a little getting used to but after that its all good. Happy studying.