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sjg102379's avatar

Any recommendations for a good Spanish-language immersion program?

Asked by sjg102379 (1230points) January 1st, 2007
(I've already done the Middlebury immersion program) Requirements: 1. A flexible (rather than set)amount of weeks. 2. A country where a woman can feel safe walking/living alone. 3. Program for someone who is not a beginner but is looking to polish their skills. 4. Intensive, with a lot of classroom hours. Any thoughts?
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11 Answers

nomtastic's avatar
montana linda in costa rica.
occ's avatar
I did an immersion program in Costa Rica at ICADS (the institute for central american development studies). You can go for any amount of time, in one-week chunks. You study in very small groups, 3 students to one teacher, for about 5 hours a day. I went for a month. This was about 8 years ago so I don't know how much it costs these days but I was very pleased with the instruction (not as pleased with the location...San Jose is kind of a big dirty city). I also have a number of friends who have studied in Xela, Guatemala and have had good experiences.
evander's avatar
Some of the best instruction I have had or heard of was at the CIS (Center de Intercambio and Solidaridad) in San Salvador. To Some San Salvador is undesirable, but many find the recent history of civil war to be very interesting and moving. The CIS does family stays and has great cultural outings. Check out their website: . Other popular places to study are Xela (quezaltenango), Guatemala; Cuenca, Ecuador; Sucre, Bolivia; the list goes on an on.
lynng's avatar
Hi, our family went to a fabulous language school in Oaxaca, Mexico. We here from friends there that things have been calming down there. The school is Amigos del Sol and it wasn't very expensive. Classes have between 1-5 people in them and you can be there for as few or as many weeks as you want. The teachers are great and Oaxaca is amazing. You also can live with a family there if you wish to. They have a website so you can google them.
zina's avatar
instituto cultural oaxaca - when i was there about five years ago it was fine for a single woman - good school, great town, etc.
chrismichael's avatar
proyecto linguistico in quetzaltenango, Guatemala (xela). the school is amazing and quite affordable. all of the teachers have a college education and many, many years experience teaching.
chrismichael's avatar
also, this school is focused on social and environmental justice education and work. translation: students learn about Guatemalan history and the current state of affairs from guest speakers, more or less each day. i studied there for three weeks, one week in its mountain school outside of colomba which is AMAZING! i didnt know spanish when i got there and i was conducting interviews and writing by my third week. the school is amazing, very focused and committed to providing excellent education for all levels.
chrismichael's avatar
while i was there, i met quite a few folks that return each year for a week or so because of the relationships they have with the teachers, folks in teh community and families that they spent time and stayed with. back to the talks/lectures that they one week we heard from a former fighter during the 36 year civil war and then he took us on a road-trip where he was stationed and mixed stories of battles and the impacts that cafta would (does now) have on farmers and communities in the highlands; a woman who runs an organization to protect and advocate for battered women and their children told of the violence against women and the efforts that she and others are working to stimulate systemic change; a professor talked about the coffee crisis and role of us involvement in central America...the list is long. in short, this school is beyond amazing and you will not find a better value for your money(.) moreover, it is a collective and women have a very strong role in decision making and ensure monies are distributed equitably. three extraordinary weeks in my life. i hope you give it a twirl and ensure you spend at least one week at the mountain school...if you wanna chat in more detail, drop me a line at
emilyrose's avatar
second chris' comments, he and I studied there together... hi chris!
thesecondmoon's avatar
i went to antigua guatemala to two different schools for spanish. i recommend APPE and in particular Fernando, a really great teacher and bright guy who is studying law at night and teaching by day for the flexible hours. im sure that APPE has a website. i hear xela is great too, but more in the mountains and can be extremely cold. antigua is nicely centrally located so you can do weekend trips to copan, a mayan site in honduras; lake atitlan, between 3 volcanoes; flores, a cute little town on an island in lake peten itza, which is a great place to swim and has a beach; tikal, probably the most impressive mayan site in GT; pacaya, an active volcano where I walked on lava; and there is great technical mountain biking around here.
nocountry2's avatar

I went to school in Xela and had a fantastic experience – one-on-one instruction, with the programs completely tailored to your needs, reasonable and effective homework, pleasant and very qualified teachers. Also, your instructor rotates each week (for however many weeks you wish) so you get exposed to a variety of teaching methods. You can also choose to live with a family, which can be a very rewarding and enriching experience. I thought Guatemala was very safe and comfortable, being a woman. I went to school in Costa Rica as well (Universidad Nacional), which had great instruction, but it seems like the locals there are much more excited about practicing their English with you, and it’s so touristy that it can be easy to get by on all the English “crutches” that seem to abound.

Also: watch telenovelas! (soap operas) I find that the dialogue is easier to follow with all the dramatic emphasis (Ai! Por Dios mio!!) :)

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