Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala #3

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I have now entered week 5 of my studies at the Co-operative of Guatemalan Spanish Teachers in San Pedro La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Click below to listen to it.

Cooperative School, San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala

In this podcast we give you an update of our housing situation, having moved out of the home stay and into a wonderful new house by the lake, we visit the cemetery during a festival for the dead, and discuss how our Spanish studies are going. We finish the podcast with a brief chat about some of the strange energies and mysteries surrounding Lake Atitlan. We’ll post more details of these here in the next few days.

Links

Our photos of Guatemala – including Lake Atitlan, San Pedro, The School, & Antigua
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala #1
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala #2
Video tour of the Cooperative School plus an interview with the Coordinator

A house by the lake in San Pedro La Laguna

We’re now into week four of our Spanish studies at The Co-operative of Guatemalan Spanish Teachers in San Pedro, Guatemala, and the Spanish is noticeably improving.

House in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala

Having spent two very interesting weeks with Jose, Maria & two year-old Felix as part of our homestay with a Guatemalan family, we both decided that our studies would benefit from a bit of ‘space’ for a couple of weeks. Although we’d thoroughly recommend the homestay experience to anyone learning Spanish in Guatemala, you are living with a family & depending on various factors such as the size of the family’s house, number & age of the children, and their TV watching habits etc. you may find that from time to time it can prove a challenge studying.

What you may lose in terms of privacy however, is more than made up for with the extra Spanish conversation practice the family provides, and of course what you learn about Guatemalan life.

Luckily for us, nearing the end of our homestay early last week, Tina was walking past one of the backstreet restaurants near the Cooperative School, and having struck up a conversation with the manager was offered a house rental. We went to see the house, and couldn’t really believe it – a house with a beautiful garden right on the shore of Lake Atitlan (see photo above). We accepted right away and moved into our new house two days later.

Links

Photos of our new house & garden
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 1
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 2
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 3

Costs of studying Spanish in Guatemala

Accommodation costs: Guesthouses range from $4 a night, for a basic room with a private hot shower, up to about $20 a night for something much fancier.

Study costs: About $90 a week for 20 hours one-on-one Spanish language tuition (a significant proportion of this is used to help out particularly poor local families that the Cooperative school works with).

Homestay costs: About $60 a week for accommodation, with 3 meals a day provided 6 days a week (on Sundays students eat out).

Restaurant costs: Meals average about 25 Quetzals ($3.30) in most of the ‘tourist restaurants’ but are as little as $1.50 in other restaurants. A soft drink is about $0.60, a litre of local beer is about $3.50.

House costs: A bit less than the homestay with two meals a day in the manager’s restaurant thrown in. We’re not sure how this compares with other houses in the area, but imagine that if you’re staying here longer term you should be able to find something comparable.

Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala #2

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This week Tina and I have moved in with a Guatemalan family as part of a homestay arranged by the school we’re studying at – The Co-operative of Guatemalan Spanish Teachers. You can listen to the podcast we made below:

In this podcast, we discuss what it’s like to live with a family here, along with how our Spanish studies have been going moving into their second week. We finish the podcast with a trip to the colourful Sunday market at Chichicastenango – two hours from San Pedro.

Studying Spanish & living with a Guatemalan family

Links

Our photos of Guatemala – including Lake Atitlan, San Pedro, The School, & Antigua
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 1
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 3
Video tour of the school including an interview with Luis, the Coordinator

You can also view the accompanying photos of Chichicastenango, Guatemala here.

Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala #1

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The following podcast takes the form of an informal discussion between Tina and I, recorded last week, during our first week studying Spanish at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. We discuss the school, prices, and dangerous wildlife.

Cooperative Spanish School, San Pedro La Laguna, GuatemalaA day or two after arriving in San Pedro La Laguna by Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, Tina and I began studying Spanish at The Co-operative of Guatemalan Spanish Teachers. For a month or two before our trip began we had extensively researched countries and locations to study Spanish in, and settled on The Cooperative Language School here in San Pedro due to its low prices, its amazing location on the shores of Lake Atitlan, its community orientated philosophy and the fact that Guatemalan Spanish is very easy to understand.

We’ll be attempting to publish a new podcast every week whilst we’re here and will be studying for at least a month..You can listen to episode 2 of this podcast here.

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Further info

It costs about $82 for 20 hours one-on-one Spanish Language tuition a week (4 hours/day), although I have been told the prices may be increasing 10-15% shortly. You can choose to study more (up to 6 hours) or less should you wish to.

A homestay (living with a Guatemalan family) costs approximately an additional $85/week, and this includes three meals a day, but doesn’t include Sundays – which incidentally is the day in San Pedro that most restaurants seem to be closed.

Should you wish to stay in a guest house, you are looking at between $4/night (very basic indeed), $7/night (simple/mid-range), $10-$15 (private hot shower, & possibly other amenities).
Restaurant meals in San Pedro range from about $2 to $7 depending on where and what you eat.

Links

Our photos of Guatemala – including Lake Atitlan, San Pedro, The School, & Antigua
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 2
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 3
Video tour and interview with the coordinator of the school
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Cuenca, Ecuador

Video: Antigua, Guatemala

This video shows the beautiful city Antigua in Guatemala.

We spent 3 nights in Antigua when we first arrived jet-lagged to Central America. It is a great place to just relax and settle in to the rhyme of Guatemala (although most people will say that Antigua is not real Guatemala). We had been advised beforehand to NOT (under any circumstances) go into Guatemala City when we arrived because it is a very dangerous place. Therefore, we took a pre-booked shuttle (with Atitrans) straight from the airport in Guatemala City to Antigua.

Antigua offers many things to do: Spanish lessons, climbing the three volcanoes surrounding it, looking at the beautiful colonial architecture and churches, eating in some of the amazing restaurants and just enjoying the tranquil atmosphere. It is definitely worth a visit.

Video: Antigua, Guatemala

This video shows the beautiful city Antigua in Guatemala.

We spent 3 nights in Antigua when we first arrived jet-lagged to Central America. It is a great place to just relax and settle in to the rhyme of Guatemala (although most people will say that Antigua is not real Guatemala). We had been advised beforehand to NOT (under any circumstances) go into Guatemala City when we arrived because it is a very dangerous place. Therefore, we took a pre-booked shuttle (with Atitrans) straight from the airport in Guatemala City to Antigua.

Antigua offers many things to do: Spanish lessons, climbing the three volcanoes surrounding it, looking at the beautiful colonial architecture and churches, eating in some of the amazing restaurants and just enjoying the tranquil atmosphere. It is definitely worth a visit.