I arrived at Antigua, Guatemala after a hectic week in El Salvador navigating through the craziness that is Semana Santa (Easter break for Latin Americans). Antigua is a beautiful colonial town nestled in between a few volcanos, one of which is very active. It was also the cheapest place to study Spanish that I’d found so far, so I decided for a while.
The Spanish School
After talking to a few other travellers I’d met, it seemed that Antigüeña Spanish Academy was the best school around. I wasn’t disappointed. It had been a month since my first Spanish school experience, so I felt I was ready again for a full-on 4 hours a day of Spanish lessons. I paid a scant 75 USD for the 1 week 20-hour intensive course with a private teacher. At the time it was around 160 USD including a homestay, but opted not to do it based on my experience in Nicaragua. These would be the cheapest prices I would encounter in all of Latin America, and thus the World, for Spanish lessons. Extracurricular activities were not included nor did I feel would have benefited me much.
The study area was unbeatable. The main classroom area was situated in a beautiful garden full of avocado trees in a grassy courtyard area between two buildings. Volcanos loomed at all sides stealing the scenery. For most of my days, I sat outside at a desk on a stone walkway with trees overhead.
Classes started at 9 am and ended at 1 pm, which included a 20-minute break in-between for coffee and some savory snacks. There was also the opportunity to mingle with the other students. The break was a welcome respite because sitting for 4 hours of instruction unsurprisingly turned out to be quite tiring once again.
As for the actual Spanish, I managed to learn a bit more than my initial lessons. The teachers here used flashcards to aid in the memorization of verbs and their conjugations. They also didn’t speak much English so it was easy to stay on track speaking Spanish.
I was a little more motivated this time around to get my Spanish train running. I made up flashcards with common verbs to study during my downtime while at the hostel I was staying at. Unfortunately, almost all hostel guests speak English. That meant I didn’t get to practice much Spanish except with the friends I was traveling with who also were also attending Antigüeña.
I was very pleased with my experience at the Spanish Academy. So pleased that I decided to stay in Antigua another week to study Spanish there. At 75 USD for 20 hours of private lessons, it was too good an opportunity to pass up. The fact that I could watch an avocado fall off a tree, pick it up off the ground and go eat it after class might have also had something to do with my decision.
Looking back, out of all the Spanish Schools I’ve been to, Antigüeña was the best and cheapest place to study Spanish that I’d been. The gorgeous outdoor classrooms and picturesque setting in Antigua made it an ideal place to stay and study Spanish.