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Spanish immersion

by j.batres

Spanish immersion in rural Guatemala

Spanish immersion in rural Guatemala is located in Aldea Vela, San Felipe, Reu, 50 km south of Quetzaltenango and 184 km Southwest of Guatemala City. This program is designed for students who want to experience rural life in Guatemala, away from major urban centers.

Aldea Vela is a very impoverished village of 3,000 people located four km away from the town of San Felipe, Retalhuleu.  The main purposes of the program are to 1) teach Spanish to students while experiencing life in a peasant village and 2) to raise money to build a middle school.

All the profits from the program will be donated to the community to invest in this school project.  Casa  Xelaju (CX) has donated part of the land where the construction will take place. In Addition, CX has donated computers to elementary school and middle school.

The instruction is one-on-one with fully licensed teachers accredited by Guatemala’s Secretary of Education. All of the teachers have been trained by CX. As a result, the academic level will be similar to  CX  Spanish school in Quetzaltenango.

Homestay. You will live with a local family. The family will provide you with three meals a day, six days a week (Monday through Saturday), your own bedroom,  shared bathroom,  running water, towel,  toilet paper.

House conditions are not similar to the middle class in Guatemala because you will be living with a low-income family. Houses are very basic but have running water and electricity. Because it is a tropical area, there are a lot of insects, especially in the evening. Typhoid shots are required and bug repellent recommended.

Live in Aldea Vela. There are no restaurants in this community. In the evenings, usually, people stay at home watching TV and talking. You will see banana and coffee trees with cornfields.  

There is an internet hot spot in the town where you can visit to send and receive e-mail. You can also buy a telephone to have access to the internet.

If you wish to visit San Felipe, there are small buses every 30 minutes. The ride takes 20 minutes. San Felipe has a big market with a couple of restaurants and other businesses.

Volunteer work is offered to help in the kindergarten, elementary and middle schools during the mornings. There two daycare centers where help will be appreciated.

The program will offer three activities per week including lectures about life in the country,  Latin dance classes and cooking lessons, how to make chocolate demonstrations.

During the weekends, the program will offer field trips to Champerico (beach on the Pacific Ocean), a visit to a rubber farm, an archaeological site in the area, IRTRA Aquatic Park, and climb volcanoes. Other activities will be done with CX in Quetzaltenango.

This program runs from June to the second week in August and classes will take place in the afternoon, from 2:00 to 7:00 PM at the middle school temporary schoolhouse.  The community only has space to host 10 students.

Upon receiving your application, CX will be e-mailing you the confirmation with 18 pages of information before you travel to Guatemala, the Spanish language program, the community, vaccinations, transportation, and more.

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