Spanish Immersion Experience
Have you ever dreamed of learning Spanish? Ever thought about participating in a Spanish immersion program?
You want to study Spanish abroad, but who will take care of your favorite companion… your dog, while you are away?
Answer… bring your dog with you!
Yes, it is entirely possible to travel with your dog and bring her/him to a Spanish school with you.
It just takes a bit of planning and that is exactly what we did.
We wanted a total immersion experience while living in a Spanish speaking country and we wanted our two dogs, Olivia and Sofia, to come with us.
Our dogs have attended Spanish schools with us in Guatemala and Mexico. It was a great experience for everyone!
What you need to know before selecting a Spanish School in Guatemala
Did you know the best Spanish schools are in Guatemala?
People from all over the world come to Guatemala for their excellent Spanish schools.
The schools are very affordable and all offer 1-on-1 private classes as a standard.
That means you get personalized instructions to help you learn and exponentially grow your Spanish language capabilities.
In general, the Guatemalans speak Spanish at a normal pace and their pronunciation is very clear.
Guatemala is flush with Spanish schools. Finding the right school for you can be intimidating.
Depending on the experience you want, that will dictate the location of where you want to go to learn Spanish.
Once you decide on the town in Guatemala, then you can narrow it down to the school within that town.
Here are the three main towns in Guatemala that have many Spanish schools. Each town has its pros and cons.
One hour from Guatemala airport.
A charming colonial city with cobblestone streets, wide sidewalks and plenty of nice restaurants and bars.
An abundance of shopping opportunities.
Pet-friendly areas for your dog.
English is heard and spoken everywhere.
If you attempt to speak Spanish, most will answer in English.
It is not a place to get the total immersion Spanish experience you may be looking for. Lots of tourists.
A beautiful lake surrounded by 3 volcanoes.
Indigenous pueblos are dotted all around the lake.
The main mode of transportation is by boat with tuk-tuks available within the pueblos.
Lago Atitlán has a large concentration of Maya communities.
It is very easy to speak English, especially in the two main towns of San Pedro and Panajachel.
The lake is a popular destination for many tour groups.
Many of the Spanish teachers at the Spanish schools are not native Spanish speakers.
Their Maya language is their primary language.
Quetzaltenango (Xela) is known for having the most professional and high-quality Spanish schools in Guatemala.
Xela offers everyone a true Spanish immersion experience.
English is not widely spoken here.
It is not a tourist destination location.
It is a good place to meet locals and practice your Spanish.
Not as charming as the other towns.
Four hours from the Guatemala airport.
The second-largest city in Guatemala.
A lot of street dogs, unfortunately.
Read about our Spanish immersion experience and why we chose the non-profit Spanish school SISAI Spanish School in Xela Guatemala
OAXACA CITY in the state of Oaxaca, is one of my favorite places in Mexico! The entire state is rich in culture, traditions and amazing food.
Oaxaca City has many Spanish schools to choose from. After some research, I chose a school called Español Interactivo.
I selected this school because its main focus is on Spanish conversation.
The director of the school, Luz, was very accommodating in helping us find a pet-friendly place to live.
Thanks to Luz, we found a place within walking distance to the Spanish school. It was also close to the Zocalo where there is free entertainment almost every night.
Olivia and Sofia attended school with us every day.
They had the freedom to roam the school if they wanted.
That was a big plus for us because Don was in a different group than I was.
Sofia could roam back and forth between the two classes to keep an eye on us both. This is a typical Australian Shepherd behavior, by the way.
Generally, the Spanish classes in Mexico are group classes.
They range from 3 to 10 students. They do offer 1-on-1 private classes at a much higher price.
Classes at Espanol Interactivo were from 9 am to 1 pm with a 30-minute break around 10:30 am.
I had the same small group of classmates each week with the same teacher.
I like having the same teacher for all 3 hours and throughout the week. I am not a fan of changing teachers and subjects every hour for Spanish lessons.
In my opinion, Espanol Interactivo is good for those who have a solid grammar base of the following:
Presente de subjuntivo.
I would not recommend it if you are still learning some of these grammar tenses.
We thoroughly enjoyed our 2-month stay in Oaxaca and found many pet-friendly restaurants and places to visit in the area.
Finding a pet-friendly Spanish School in Mexico City is a challenge.
The most popular Spanish language school in Mexico City is at the national university – UNAM. The program is called the CEPE- Centro de Enseñanza Para Extranjeros.
This program is located in the Polanco area of Mexico City.
They have an entire curriculum around teaching Spanish to foreigners and it is reasonably priced.
Universities do not allow dogs in their classrooms unless it is a service dog.
There are several popular private Spanish schools, however, when I contacted them they would not allow us to bring Olivia or Sofia to class… except for one school.
WALK SPANISH is a language school that conducts classes in popular locations throughout Mexico City. Not in a classroom.
We (Don and I) signed up for private lessons through Walk Spanish. We met our teacher each morning at a local coffee shop where we could bring Olivia and Sofia. This arrangement worked out well for us. It met our needs at the time.