*This is an excerpt of the Antigua Guatemala – The Essential Guide (2017) (Antigua Guatemala Spanish Schools), which you can find at Amazon.com.*
Antigua Guatemala is a popular destination for Spanish-language learners. There are excellent schools here, at good prices. Here are a few pointers to make the most of your learning experience.
Probigua Academy’s library bus
First, try your teacher out before committing to a week-long learning schedule. Sign up for an hour or two of classes, and if you are compatible with your teacher, go ahead and commit to a longer timetable. Switching teachers is not frowned upon, so if you’re not comfortable with the first teacher assigned, request another one – or even switch schools.
Second, set clear expectations about what your goals are. You may want to learn a few key phrases to use during your travels, or set out on a lifelong learning adventure. Either way, this may drastically alter the methods that the teacher uses to impart knowledge, or even the school you choose – leading to my third point.
Spanish schools in Antigua divide into roughly two camps, with some overlap – formal and informal. The schools offering formal instruction tend to emphasize a rather strict approach to learning, focusing on proper grammar and preparing you to eventually use Spanish to conduct business or to use it in an academic setting – these schools are a tad more expensive. Informal teaching takes a more casual, “fun” approach – students are taught the basics to help them carry on casual conversations without getting too hung up on the rules. It’s really up to you, as some may prefer a structured approach, while others may thrive in a more casual environment.
If you’re interested in formal learning, visit top-notch Christian Spanish Academy (6a Avenida Norte #15) and DELE (Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language) exam center. If you want things to be a touch more on the fun side, but still receive academic instruction, check out Don Pedro de Alvarado Spanish School (6a Avenida Norte #39) – homestay programs available. Maximo Nivel (6a Avenida Norte #16) is also a popular, though expensive choice.
Probigua (6a Avenida Norte #41B) is also a very solid school – tuition fees support their library bus, which visits rural communities (more on Probigua below). Proyecto Linguistico Francisco Marroquín (PLFM) (6a Avenida Norte #43) is another great option if you’re looking for one-on-one instruction with occasional group activities mixed in.
If you’re interested in lending a hand to improve Guatemalan children’s access to books, consider attending Probigua in Antigua Guatemala. Their Spanish academy helps fund the creation of libraries in rural areas in Guatemala, along with the operation of their cool library bus, which serves villages and towns surrounding Antigua.
Probigua bus, Antigua Guatemala
Founded in 1998, Probigua’s library bus began providing services with a little over 600 books, mostly donated – today, the library bus has over 3,000 books. In 2001, Probigua won the “Access to Learning Award” given by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which also came with a $250,000 grant.
The library bus makes scheduled stops weekly, as previously arranged with schools that request it. Most of the learning material in the bus is geared towards students in primary and middle-school grades. Library services are offered free of charge and fees collected from the Spanish school help keep the bus running and to provide ongoing maintenance.
In addition to the library bus, Probigua also provides needed school supplies. They also support the creation of additional libraries in remote areas (over 25 already).
Probigua has another library bus, which serves Chilmaltenango, which is currently out of service because of lack of funds to get it operational once again. If you’re interested in taking the DELE exam, I highly recommend you give Probigua a try.
What’s you favorite Spanish school in Antigua Guatemala?