Minerva Spanish School Quetzaltenango "Xela" Guatemala
Welcome Learning Spanish Family Homestay

Former Students


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The following are a sampling of comments made about our school and homestay program from
some of our former students ....

I studied at Minerva for four weeks to brush up on my Spanish. After taking courses in highschool and college, I felt like I had hit a wall and that I wasn't improving. My professor Lety was wonderful and kept the interaction alive and happy during our morning class! She explained to me, more of the mechanics that I was rusty on and explained more of the "why" we say things this way, than the "this is how you say things" that I was getting in the U.S. We also took field trips and continued to talk about various topics such as politics, economics, human rights, etc.

It was great being immersed with a host family and teacher that understood where I was at in my learning.My professor was very integral to my learning and she also offers classes outside of Minerva and we still talk. I'm glad I got to develop these relationships during my time in Xela as well as being able to go around Guatemala and see the beautiful landscape."

John Levandofsky Summer 2015 ( levandoj19@gmail.com)

The Miller family comes to Guatemala once a year to study with Minerva and donate computer supplies collected in the USA. They work with a great organization called T.E.A.C.H. Technology in Education Advancing with Children Helping (www.TEACHTechEd.Org)

Thank you Miller Family for everything you do to help the poor and disadvantage in Guatemala! See you next year!!

Char Miller (charjmiller@gmail.com) // Febrero 2015

GUATEMALA AND EL SALVADOR CHILDRENS MISSION
http://neverbehungry.net/volunteer

Apart from donations, Guatemala Mission relies heavily on the time and skills of talented individuals. We are looking for skilled people with a desire to work with a hands-on organization. You can volunteer with us from anywhere in the world. Former Student - Bishop Joseph Catrambone Gracias Padre Jose !!

Monsignor Joseph Catrambonejosephcatrambone@yahoo.com // Febrero 2015.

Kevin and Astrid
Kevin & Astrid 2013

I spent 4 weeks during January 2013 at Xela and Escuela Minerva. I picked Escuela Minerva, because a co-worker recommended it based on his experience a decade earlier. Like other past students' comments, I think very highly of my entire experience. Julio seems to pick great teachers for students. My maestro, Andres, was a perfect pick for me. I wanted fast pace, where admittedly I couldn't remember all the vocabulary and verb tenses, but where I got great start for my self studies back home. I wanted extended walking talks, and we frequently spent 3 hours in classroom and 2 hours walking. I saw many places that wouldn't have seen on my own. One day we spent about 12 hours and visited Lake Atitilan, approximately 3 hours away, taking 3 different "chicken buses" buses each way. Great time, but will never complain about airline seating again. The beauty of the lake is unsurpassed. The lake is surrounded by volcanos and other mountains. The launch to San Pedro on the other side was an added treat. I think everyone's experiences at the school and Xela can be different, and will give them their unique flavor and memories of Guatemala and the people. Everyone I interacted with was friendly and very tolerant of me butchering Spanish.

I believe others who want more classroom time would get that. Likewise with more formal testing, etc. but I appreciated the rigorous but relaxed interactions I had with Andres. That said, I have 4 full notebooks of all the vocabulary and grammar I learned.

Others have talked about Julio's guitar playing and singing, and informative history lessons. I can attest to them. Would never thought I would enjoy singing children and folk songs, when sober, with other grown men, but wonderful times and nice way to learn both language and Latin American culture. They even celebrated my 60th birthday with songs, food and gifts.

My living arrangements couldn't have been better. Dona Ana was also wonderful "teacher" spending lots of time talking with me and giving me insights about Xela and neighboring communities. The house was only 1/2 block from the school and all my meals were homemade, with incredible variety. When talking with other students at other schools, I know that I was very lucky. Again, I see this part of Julio's skill in matching home stays with students.

I also had Martin as a guide for various hikes, including seeing a live volcano, visit other pueblos, architectural sites, ruins, and visit homes with ancient looms and sample some homemade wine from various fruits.

As others have mentioned, Xela is not a tourist town, and I went weeks without speaking English. For me, I enjoyed the slow pace and I spent hours sitting at the various parks. I found sketching churches and more historical buildings a great icebreaker with kids and locals. All the walking and higher altitude also improved my waistline and lungs. Escuela Minerva is not in the "colonial" section of Xela, but it is an easy walk away. It is near the university, zoo, athletic fields, markets, cafes, a museum, barber working out of her house, all that I took advantage of. I skipped Walmart and McDonalds, that are also in Xela. I enjoyed watching the free club soccer games every weekend.

I would recommend Xela and Escuela Minerva for folks that don't need a polished, totally planned vacation/education, and would enjoy the small school atmosphere and differences from the USA, but that is why most of us go to Guatemala in the first place.

Tom Azumbrado, Concord, California, USA.
Email: Azumbrado@gmail.com

Ich habe 4 wundervolle Wochen in Xela verbracht und werde diese Erfahrungen mein Leben lang nicht vergessen. Der Unterricht haette nicht besser und effektiver sein koennen. Die Touren mit Martin waren eine willkommene Abrundung von 4 Wochen Intensiv-Spanisch und ich habe durch ihn viel von der Umgebung kennenlernen duerfen –vielen Dank dafuer!!!

Die Menschen sind so herzlich und interessiert, wie ich es nicht fuer moeglich gehalten haette und man lernt, dass man mit sehr viel weniger auskommt, als man (leider) gewohnt ist. Wenn man keine Scheu hat, mit Fremden zu sprechen, ist es leicht, Kontakte zu knuepfen und die guatemaltekische Kultur und Mentalitaet schaetzen zu lernen.

Diese Reise ist auf jeden Fall empfehlenswert und ich moechte nicht einen einzigen Tag missen! Vier Wochen sind eine optimale Zeit um die Sprache, Land und Menschen wirklich kennenzulernen.

Vielen Dank fuer diese unvergessliche Zeit in Guatemala!

Maren Krassau
Maren.krassau@yahoo.de Check out Maren's Photos!
Marzo 2013.

I spent two weeks at Escuela Minerva.  I had studied Spanish in the past as a University student, however it was nice to have a brief refresher to increase my vocabulary and improve my conversational skills.  Julio and the teaching staff were very friendly and adaptable.  In the U.S., I work as a registered nurse and in Quetzaltenango, Julio put me in touch with a local physician who gave me the opportunity to observe and volunteer in a public clinic for a week with a group of Guatemalan medical students.  It was an eye-opening experience and I only wish that I had had more time.  For future medical-related volunteers, I recommend brining basic supplies, like hand sanitizer, gloves, alcohol swabs, etc. and a lab coat.  During several afternoons after class and clinic time, I participated in tours with Martin, an amazing guide!  Visiting Lake Chicabal, las Fuentes Georginas, and going a bike tour of a local village were a lot of fun.  I had a great experience at Escuela Minerva and in Quetzaltenango!   

Katherine Zielke, U.S.A.  Feb 2013. 
kczielke@uwalumni.com

IMG_0548.JPGLa escuela Minerva es muy buena.  Estudio por 11 semanas y aprendo mucho. Yo no aprendo nada antes.  Hay muchas actividades con otros estudiantes.  Vivi con dos familias, ambas son muy amables.  Toda la experiencia era excelente.,

I am pleased with my time and with the progress that I made while I was in the school.  Minerva  incuded a familiarization of Xela which made staying in Xela easy.  We had opportunities to visit surrounding pueblos .  We visited volcanoes, churches, and markets.  The markets varied from pueblo to pueblo, in colors, size, and specialty items.   Of course, we also enjoyed small parties with much laughter, singing, and traditional food.

Laurel Steele
laureldsteele@gmail.com Check out Laurel's Photos!
August/September 2012

Photos from Laurel Steele

The time I spent learning Spanish at Minerva was simply wonderful. The school´s curriculum is excellent and its friendly and welcoming staff make you feel part of the Minerva family from the minute you first set foot in the school. As can be expected at Minerva, my private teacher was very experienced and professional. She took the time to get to know me as a person and as a student, allowing her to teach me the curriculum in a way that best fit my style of learning. During the time I studied at Minerva, I stayed with a very kind host family that went above and beyond to ensure that I had a pleasant stay in Xela. I felt very comfortable and safe at their house throughout my entire stay. For what you receive compared to the price you pay, Minerva surely is unbeatable. I highly recommend Minerva Spanish School.
 
Jurgen Heijdenrijk
jurgensemail@gmail.com
July 2012

Minerva Spanish School offers a truly unique experience. My host family was perfect, I felt completely comfortable and safe at the school and at my host house. Regardless of your learning style, you´re one on one with a teacher so they adapt perfectly to your needs. The school is very small so you´re always able to feel like a family with Julio and your teacher. Julio is also willing to help you with whatever you need, he also sets up activities for you to do while you´re here so you´re never bored. I strongly suggest attending this school. The price is unbelievable and you will never regret taking a chance on this school. Feel free to facebook me if you want to know more.
 
Zach Esperanza 
zesperanza1987@gmail.com
July 2012

Alexander WilkoszewskiI stayed for three weeks in  February 2012 at Minerva Spanish School in Quetzaltenango, and I can just say I had a fantastic time: the city provides you with lots of possibilities to go out, experience Guatemaltecan culture, and to explore the many sights nearby. The school is relatively small, so I felt like in a family, and I enjoyed it very much when all staff and students gathered together during break times. Julio is an amazing guy who runs the school really great, and it shows with the good atmosphere among teachers and with the host families. My teacher, Leticia, was fabulous - within 3 weeks she made it that I progressed from a beginner with only little knowledge of Spanish to an intermediate student. She took the lessons very seriously and was always well prepared with different sorts of didactic ideas and materials. As I wanted to advance as much as possible within those three weeks, she also gave me sometimes a hard time with exercises and homework, which I appreciated a lot. My host family, Gladys and Lizardo, were very caring, and they spend lots of time talking Spanish to me - a perfect surrounding for total immersion. The meals were just great!! I can definitely recommend Minerva Spanish School and hope to come back soon!

Alexander Wilkoszewski, Alemania
(
mail@clickalex.de)
2012

I had an amazing time at Minerva Spanish School. I spent 4 life-changing months at Minerva. When I started I knew nothing in Spanish and when I left I knew so much Spanish and was thinking in Spanish instead of trying to translate.
Julio is an amazing director. And Gladys is great at making sure everything ran smoothly. I was privileged to work with 3 teachers over the course of my stay. All three were skilled and patient and became really close friends as well. We hung out, went on activities, and even a trip to Mexico together! 
Every day, I took guitar classes with Fredy Peña and salsa classes. My host family was so sweet and caring! And the food…delicious!!! So I was so sad to leave Xela and return to the states. 
Me encanto mi tiempo en Xela y en la escuela Minerva! Un día espero que pueda regresar. 

Adoree Durayappah
adoreefausta@gmail.com
February-May 2010

I had a wonderful time at Minerva. I spent 5 weeks living with a host family and studying Spanish with a law student at the University. I was able to practice aspects of the language that I felt I needed most practice with, and when I was not studying I was volunteering at a small local health clinic with the local medical students. The people that I met along the way treated me as a true friend and I was constantly amazed by their level of kindness. It was a perfect balance between having time for myself to study the language and immersing myself into the Guatemalan culture to meet new people and apply what I was learning.

COMMENTARY AND PHOTO BY COLIN HORN
colinahorn@gmail.com

My husband and I were only able to fit in one week of study at the Minerva school in Xela, but it was a great week! We each had our own instructor and they were a perfect match for our individual needs and personalities. We studied in the mornings then walked with our instructors all over Xela after lunch as we conversed and learned about Guatemalan culture and customs in general. Julio and the staff at the Minerva School were wonderful, and we also enjoyed the family we were assigned to stay with. We would repeat this experience if we ever have the chance to return to Guatemala.

We participated in 2 of the activities during the week. One was an all day Saturday activity hiking to La Castalia (a hot springs near San Pedro and San Marcos) with another instructor, and the other was a night of learning to Salsa. We had fun even though one of us has two left feet.

Annie and Dan Eastmond aeastmond@connect2.com
Summer 2010.

Don Julio and everyone at Minerva were GREAT.  With fun activities, profesional instructors and a family environment, it made a great place to study. You can chat with Maria, Julio’s daughter during the breaks about anything and every thing. I made great friends after month there and was really sad to leave. 

 

Addis Parris – Addis.parris@gmail.com
December 2009.

Guatemala, Xela, Escuela Minerva, Julio, my Maestra, and my host family... all now have a piece of my heart. The beauty of the country, the pride of the citizens, and the compassion with which Julio and his staff carry out their work made my 4 weeks at Escuela Minerva an experience I will never forget. Also, I cannot say enough about the amazing, loving, caring host family that I had the privilege of living with. They made me feel like a part of the family and not just a visitor. I recommend Escuela Minerva without reservation and encourage anyone who wants a great, memorable, and effective spanish learning experience to attend.

Fernando Pastrana / Agosto 2009
fpastrana@pgsp.edu

Professor Julio Lima asked me to say a few words about my experience at the Escuela Minerva, where I spent the month of July, 2009, in an effort to improve my Spanish.  I should say, first of all, that there are many language schools in Xela, but there is no doubt in my mind that the E.M. is head and shoulders above the rest.    

 
That being said, it is a pleasure for me to recommend the E.M.  Professor Lima is at once erudite and kind--una buena onda, as they say--and the instruction at E.M. is outstanding.  I was trying to go from fluent bad Spanish to fluent good Spanish, and I think I was 75% successful, which is not bad for four weeks. I worked my instructor, Byron, very hard; he suffered greatly on my account.  In fact, at one point I ducked out of class to go to the bathroom, and returned to find him with a paper bag over his head, banging his head against the wall.  This was to relieve stress, I suppose.  After that, I eased up on him just a tiny bit.
 
One test of the success of my stay at E.M. was a lecture I gave to Professor Lima's class at the Universidad de San Carlos.  (In addition to running a language school, Julio is a very dedicated professor of economics.)  I have done a lot of lecturing in Mexico, and some in South America, and when it comes time for Q&A I am always a bit nervous about handling potentially difficult questions spontaneously.   To my amazement, the usual nervousness I have at this point did not surface; I was able to discuss complicated issues with the class with relative ease.  For that, I have the E.M. to thank.
 
The staff at the school is also pretty terrific.  I urge all prospective students to spend time talking with Fulano, Zutano, Merengano, and Perenzejo, whose grasp of world affairs, including certain esoteric aspects of Heidegger, is quite impressive.   
Then there is Gladys, who is head of administration and who has very nice eyes. 
 
So what else can I tell you?  You walk in with little more than "Hasta la vista, baby!" and emerge being able to debate Felipé Calderón on national television.  Who could ask for more?
 

Minerva Student and Director

I spent 4 weeks at Minerva Spanish school and recommend it to everyone whole-heartedly! My host family was unbelievable. They all supported me and welcomed me into their home with open arms from the very beginning.

The school's staff, especially Julio, the director, are constantly taking care of the students and asked us many times if there was anything WE would rather do instead of what was already planned. They're always all ears and take students' suggestions into consideration.

The private classes are amazing and I enjoyed the time I spent with my maestra every day! Most days we sat in the classroom where we'd talk and she'd correct me and then we'd practice a bit of grammar. But since we wanted to keep a good balance, we also played board games here and there, went on excursions and romped around the city. It helped me get used to life there very fast and also to get to know my way around the city of Xela. The most important thing is that I improved my speaking/language abilites a TON and quickly improved my self confidence. :) THANKS!


Ich habe 4 Wochen in der Minerva Spanischschule verbracht und empfehle es euch aus ganzem Herzen! Meine Gastfamilie war unglaublich. Sie alle haben mich von Anfang an unterstützt und mit offenen Armen in ihrem Haus willkommen geheißen.

Das Personal der Schule, besonders Julio, der Direktor, kümmert sich ständig um die Schüler und fragte uns mehrmals, ob es etwas gab, dass WIR lieber machen würden statt das, was schon geplant war. Die sind immer ganz Ohr und nehmen jederzeit Rücksicht auf die Vorschläge der Schüler.

Der Privatunterricht ist erstaunlich und ich hab jeden Tag die Zeit mit meiner maestra wirklich genossen! An manchen Tagen saßen wir im Klassenzimmer, wo ich sprechen und sie mich zugleich korregieren würde und danach würden wir etwas Grammatik üben. Aber da wir alles im Gleichgewicht halten wollten, spielten wir auch dann und wann Brettspiele, machten Ausflüge und tummelten durch die Stadt und plauderten. Daher hab' ich mich ganz schnell ans Leben gewöhnt und mich auch gut an der Stadt Xela ausgekannt. Das Wichtigste war wohl, dass ich meine Sprachefähigkeit eine MENGE verbessert und schnell an Selbstvertrauen gewonnen habe :) DANKE!


Jessica Neff & Director Julio Lima
liebe.jessi@gmail.com
July 2008

I stayed at Escuela Minerva for 4 weeks - the best investment I could have made! I was just about able to order a beer when I arrived, and left with good conversation skills after just a month. What better description of the skills of the teachers and the teaching philosophy of Minerva can you hope for? I loved every minute, the severe learning program as well as the interesting excursions, visits to local markets and churches, movie afternoons and of course the stay in my great host family. I spoke Spanish from morning to evening and could feel my own progress by the day. Minerva
has a great, family-like team, and Xela is just the perfect place to spend a few weeks with the right mixture of traditional living and tourist influence. I went to Antigua later and was really happy to not having chosen it for my studies! If you want to learn Spanish fast and in a great environment, Xela and the Escuela Minerva is just the place to go.
 
Claudia Hahnloser
claudia@hahnloser.com
May 20, 2008

I want to say “Thank You to the Escuela Minerva and to you, Julio, for providing me with a wonderful instructor, .

Spending the cool hours of the morning studying and then going out in the sun to view the culture of the city was most valuable and an experience I have not seen repeated in my studies. The instructor was sensitive to my needs and creative in her approach, repeatedly addressed the grammatical requirements to ensure that I understood them and then enabling me to create a sentence in this way reinforcing my studies. I have retained all of my notebooks and reading materials and use them when I travel.

Thank you again,

Diane L. Keeley
Human Resource Management Specialist
U.S. Department of State, USA
KeeleyDL2@state.gov

I have studied many times in Antigua. This trip I decide to study in Xela because I wanted more of an “immersion experience”.

I was not disappointed in Escuela Minerva. In Antigua there were always between 3-8 other students in my homestay.  Minerva set me up in a homestay with no other students.

My family here were wonderful hosts, always willing to chat and help me with my homework. My teacher at Minerva was the best I’ve ever had (ask of Yessi!!) She was professional, spunky inventive and most of all she made learning fun.

I looked at several schools in Xela before picking Minerva.  I´m glad that I chose to be in zone 3 away from all the tourists and bustle of the city center.  Minerva´s facilities are clean, bright and hot over crowded like many schools near Parque Central.

The staff at Minerva were always helpful planning trips and treated me like a part of the family from the beginning.
I feel that I´ve made life long friends and greatly improved my Spanish in just three weeks. I´ll hever go back to Antigua again.

Roxan McDonald, Santa Cruz, LA. USA
Correo Electrónico: 4roxan@excite.com
22 Febrero  2008.

My nine-year-old daughter, Marina, and I spent an unforgettable month studying and traveling in Guatemala this past summer. For two weeks we experienced farm life at my sister’s Guatemalan in-laws 40 minutes from the Escuela Minerva in Xela. Then, we studied at Escuela Minerva for 2 weeks and took excursions to Antigua, Lake Atitlan, and pueblos surrounding Xela.

Though Antigua is a truly beautiful town and has many Spanish language schools there are far too many tourists; for a true Guatemalan experience Xela is by far the choice. Xela is also a beautiful mountainous city and the Xela countryside, lush with green and maize, is one of the most beautiful areas I have seen (and I have traveled a lot and lived in places with spectacular views of the mountains and sea).

For the past 20 years, as a foreign language educator both in the U.S. and abroad (administer, teacher trainer, and teacher), I knew exactly what I was looking for in a language school and found it at Escuela Minerva, for both my daughter and myself. Julio, the director of the school is a very charming man who played the guitar and sang romantic Spanish songs at a birthday party the school held in my honor. He is also very accommodating to the specific needs of students and families. He arranged for me to visit a local school in dire need of resources so that I could arrange a “sister school” relationship and take photos for presentations I plan to give in the U.S. At my request, Julio also researched and found a seminar on the Mayan calendar for me to attend. My little girl, was able to attend a local elementary school for a day and interact with the children there. These customized activities were in addition to the standard activities that the school offers.

One of the primary reasons I chose Escuela Minerva over other schools in Xela is the level of education and professionalism that Escuela Minerva stated that their teachers had. I found the description of their teachers’ expertise to be very accurate. All of the teachers at the school enunciated clearly and spoke slowly but in a natural way. My teacher, Noelia, knew Spanish grammar inside and out and could clearly explain it. As an educated linguist myself, I appreciated this. Noelia and I spent most of our time speaking and she corrected my errors in a very supportive manner. Noelia was much more than a teacher for me; she also became our tour guide as she oriented us to the city, our family nurse when she took us to the doctors, and a good friend. In fact, Noelia and I continue to email each other.

The program for my nine year old was equally good. For her, the school was more like a fun Spanish summer camp and this is exactly what I was looking for. Marina improved her Spanish while playing games and interacting with other children and her teachers. “My favorite thing at school was going to the zoo with my teacher and seeing a live toucan.”, says my little girl.

That day Marina learned the names of animals and still remembers those Spanish words. As we were leaving Guatemala, Marina asked, “Mommy, next year, can we come back and study at Escuela Minerva again?” I was so happy to hear this request, and we have full intentions of returning to Escuela Minerva next year – this time with my husband and perhaps a few friends.

I would be very happy to make recommendations to anyone interested in attending Escuela Minerva.

You may contact me at pmackinnon2004@yahoo.com

Aug 2007

My time in Xela and at the Minerva Spanish School has been one of the best experiences of my life. Julio Lima (Director), leads an extremely capable staff. There is a true sense of community at Minerva. Whether at school or with my homestay family, I have felt welcomed at every turn. The people I have met in Xela are incredible and I have made some of the best friends of my life. With confidence, I highly recommend Xela and Minerva Spanish School to anyone interested in study Spanish abroad. Questions? Yor can email me at: mollysloan@aim.com Molly Sloan. Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

20 Abril 2007.

8 Abril 2007
Jill Carroll
jm-carroll@hotmail.com
Molly Sloan (mollysloan@aim.com
Lesley Peters lesley.peters@hotmail.com Megan Magaldino meganmagaldino@yahoo.com Enjoying their time at Minerva Spanish School.

 

Tucked away in the highlands of Guatemala there is a special place that radiates with the spirits of its people, their culture and the passion of Julio Lima and his extraordinary group of teachers. The luminescence of Quetzaltenango makes the Minerva Spanish School the right choice for anyone considering the greatest time you never knew you always wanted.

I studied at Escuela Minerva for a combined total of 16 weeks over a period of seven months. I am practically a local. I have survived a study abroad experience in college, and I must admit that I was a little apprehensive about the idea of attending a language school and living with a local family, again. Any doubt quickly subsided within minutes of my arrival. My Guatemalan family is incredible and they enthusiastically accepted me as one of their own.

The school offers an excellent blend of conversation, literature, composition and grammar usage in their intensive language instruction program. Minerva Spanish School is ideal for complete beginners, folks who are trying the brush up on key phrases to aid a long journey even further south of the border, or students and professionals seeking fluency in all areas of the Spanish language. In addition, this school is also affiliated with the Universidad Rural de Guatemala for anyone interested in a degree program and extra accreditation. In short, Escuela Minerva is the school for you!!!

The city is rich in culture and there is something for everyone. Escuela Minerva is a short walk or microbus ride to heart of the city. The school provides an array of daily activities (optional) that keep students busy all week. There are multiple English language publications that list activities throughout Guatemala and Xela, including job postings, apartment listings and volunteer opportunities for those who plan on spending some quality time in Central America. These positions are extremely rewarding and an excellent way to practice Spanish. Additionally, you will find a home at XelaPages a traveler-friendly webpage and internet café that is your premiere guide to Quetzaltenango.

To my family, friends, and the unforgettable staff of Escuela Minerva, I am truly grateful for your hospitality, kindness and above all your amistad. I graduated with superior level of Spanish, but I have graduated from my Guatemalan experience with more than a diploma. If you have even had a passing thought about traveling to Guatemala, Escuela Minerva is only one of the many gems you will find in Quetzaltenango. Contact Julio Lima and book your flight right now! You think you know, but you have no idea what you are missing.

Megan Magaldino
meganmagaldino@yahoo.com
April 2007


I was in minerva for 6 weeks and it was a wonderful experience. I studied 4 weeks at the school, I worked 1 month as a volunteer in a dispensary as a nurse and I went back to school for two weeks. It was a very good opportunity to do both a volunteer's work and to go to school.
I had different ways of speaking Spanish and practising. I discovered the system of public health of Guatemala. The friendly and encouraging atmosphere provided me an ideal environment.
The teachers enjoyed teaching Spanish and iIhad several great teachers. Thanks to my homestay family, I discovered the Guatemaltecan way of life. I would like to congratulate all the people who contributed to teach me Spanish and the culture of Guatemala."

Blandine Deveaux (France)
blandinedvx@yahoo.fr
May 2007

I would like to use this opportunity to wholeheartedy recommend the Escuela Minerva to anybody who is consedering where they should study upon arrival in xela.

I studied at the school for 11 weeks and in fascinating insigts into Guatemalan culture and made many new friends. The director Julio, and the school admisión secretary Rosita, immediately make you feel welcome upon arrival. I personally studied with the same teacher for the whole 11 weeks, although some students opt to change every 3 weeks or so, and we got on extremely well, becoming good friends. During my time at Minerva I took part in organized activities including a sisit trip to an indigerious market. I also paticipated in, and thoroughly enjoyed, working of Guatemala cuisina, birthday parties and maestros versus estudents football matches! When my time came to leave the school my Spanish was at a very pleasing level, one at which I was able to have in-depth and varied conversations with local people using past, present and future tenses confidently. I shall definitely sep un touch with and overall have had an amazing time, one I will always be grateful for I would also like to add that I have had a wonderful stay with my homestay family, arranged by the school. Once again thank you to everybody connected to the Escuela Minerva for helping to make my time with joy such a rewarding one.

Sincerely,

Ben Carlo, 2006.
wailsong@yahoo.co.uk

Where can you spend 10 weeks and swim in the Pacific,
dive in the Caribbean, visit the 1500 year old Mayan
ruins of Copan, observe an active volcano and meet
with fellow students from 15 countries and all five
continents? We did all the above and more when we
attended the La Escuela Minerva in Quetzaltenango
(Xela) in Guatemala.

The teachers are mostly young university students who
have an excellent manner and boundless patience. The
management of the school is very aware that, in a one
on one teaching environment, individual chemistry is
important and it acts promptly when change is needed.

The school arranges up to 5 different group activities
a week for students, in addition to the 5 hours of
tuition a day. Such activities range from lectures
about the country and people of Guatemala, musical
evenings (marimba and classical guitar), trips to
natural hot springs and saunas, trips to local markets
and hiking in the surrounding hills. We played
football against the teaching staff and in the course
of several birthday parties learnt 'uno, dos, tres
elefantes culumpiantes' - a beautifully  onomatopoeic
word for the swaying of elephants.

Age is not a barrier to any part of this experience.
Being at the older end of the age spectrum we never
felt out of place and indeed enjoyed the perspective
of life offerred by the younger generation.
Guatemala is a fascinating country, Xela its second
largest city, can be traversed in 90 minutes of
walking its cobbled streets. You will enjoy the old
buildings and the colourful clothes, woven and worn by
the Mayan ladies.

Staying with a local family adds to the experience and
we certainly would repeat the experience.

For further elaboration contact:
mike_ferriss@yahoo.com

 

I arrived in Guatemala together with three friends of mine, all participating in a Spanish course at an adult education center, in California. All four of us decided to try the Minerva Spanish School in Guatemala, after another friend of ours came back from there and told us all about it.

After an extensive search on the Internet about the Minerva program we registered through Xela Pages and made the final preparations for our trip to Guatemala, at the beginning of January, 2006.

Upon our arrival in Xela we were warmly received by the School Manager, Don Julio Lima himself, who took the time to very kindly talk to us, introducing us to the program and showing us around the school. After that, he introduced us all to our respective host families, making sure we are all settled comfortably.

When the Spanish classes begun, we were amazed by the great internal organization of Minerva School: everything was ticking like clockwork. Then, we found the teachers participating in the program to be extremely well prepared for the job, capable to adjust to any level of their students knowledge in Spanish and ready to attend to any language needs that any student might have.

All our teachers were young, energetic, and having broad expertise in many domains and fields of Guatemalan social, political, cultural and economical life. Also, they showed the willingness to open any discussion about International life and, doing this in Spanish, made the dialogs between teachers and students more interesting and challenging.

For the entire period of our Spanish studies at Minerva School we felt all around us the warm, friendly atmosphere teachers and students alike were building together. We felt like home, it was like we were with long time friends, having good, quality time together.

The management of Minerva School had also lots of activities, for our enjoyment in the free time, after the school hours. We were absolutely delighted by everything that Don Julio prepared for us. The schedule couldn´t be more interesting. From a variety of private concertos, given just for us, the students at Minerva, dancing lessons, visits to hot springs (where we indulged in the goodness of Nature, with her best offering of healing waters, surrounded by luxurious tropical vegetation and with breathtaking views of volcanoes all around us), day long trips to colorful villages, genuine local markets, famous archeological sites and typical artifacts factories, a two days trip around the famous Lake Atitlan during the weekend (packed with adventures and activities in itself), to trekking up Santa Maria volcano, all being wonderful , awesome experiences for us all.

This way, without noticing how fast time flew by, we built rich memories in our minds about this exotic and troubled land, about this country full of contradictions and about its people, with their luminous wide smile and their kindness of heart.

These memories will go with each of us everywhere in our paths, will be ours for the rest of our lives and will be shared with our families, friends and with just about anybody who is curious to hear about our adventures in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

I am grateful to my very young, but amazingly experienced teacher, Jimmy, for helping me with all my Spanish grammar problems, for having comprehensive answers to all my questions, for being so patient in correcting the many grammar mistakes I kept doing and for the bright and interesting conversations that we had had , in a very relaxed atmosphere, when my brain just couldn´t take any more. Subjunctive exercises. Thank you very much, Jimmy, you have the wonderful gift of spreading knowledge all around you. Keep doing what you are doing best, but please, don't forget to also pursue your dreams in life.

Personally, I want to congratulate Don Julio Lima, for the wonderful enterprise that Minerva is and to thank him for giving me the opportunity to learn Spanish in his school and with that, not only to catch a glimpse of, but to actively participate in a way of life that one cannot even begin to imagine, unless he/she was there.

And I, my friends, am proud to say I was there!

Daniela Friedmann

Mountain View - California, USA.
danielafi2006-gu@yahoo.com
january 2006

Die 2 Monate in der Escuela Minerva waren fuer mich eine sehr bereichende und wertvolle Zeit. Einerseits habe ich viel spanisch gelernt, habe aber gleichzeitig auch sehr viel ueber die Lebensweise in Guatemala, die Kultur, die alten Weisheiten der Mayas, die Politik usw. erfahren. Durch die Konfrontation mit dieser anderen Kultur habe ich auch sehr viel ueber mich gelernt. Die Schule ist ziemlich klein und daher sehr familiaer und persoenlich. Ich fuehlte mich von Anfang an sehr wohl und wilkommen und die Herzlichkeit und Lebensfreude der Lehrerinnen verbreitet ein sehr gutes und anregendes Lernklima. Julio, der Direktor der Schule ist auch immer bereit fuer Fragen und Gespraeche ueber sein Land, ueber das er ungemein viel erzaehlen kann. Unter der Woche gab es immer verschiedene aktivitaeten (Salsatanzkurs, vortraege ueber Politik, Mayas, Wirtschaft..., ausfluege zu heissen Quellen, maerkten, kirchen etc.) und am Wochenende wurde auch immer ein Ausflug angeboten (Vulkanbesteigung, Lago de Atitlan, Momostenango etc.). Mir fiel der Abschied von der "Familia Minerva" sehr schwer und es ist schoen zu wissen, dass ich nun in einer anderen Ecke der Welt so gute Freunde habe.

For me, the 2 months at Escuela Minerva were an enriching and valuable time. On one hand, I learned a lot of Spanish, but at the same time I also experienced a lot about the Guatemalan way of life, the culture, the ancient wisdom of the Mayas, (Guatemalan) politics etc. By having contact with this other culture, I also learned a lot about myself. The school is really small and therefore very close and personal. From the beginning I felt welcome and the teachers' warmth and zest for life provided for a very good and motivating learning environment. Julio, the school's director is also always prepared for questions and conversations about his country, about which he knows a tremendous amount. Throughout the week there were always several activities (Salsa dancing lessons, presentations about politics, the Mayas, the economy…, fieldtrips to the Hot Springs, markets, churches, etc) and on the weekend an excursion was always offered (volcano climbing, Lago de Atitlan, Momostenango, etc) Saying goodbye to the "Familia Minerva" was very hard for me and it's nice to know, that I have such good friends on the other side of the world.

Martina greminger, suiza
tina_greminger@bluemail.ch

I planned to study Spanish for four weeks during august 2005 in Minerva Spanish School - And stayed for six. The wonderful atmosphere in school, a welcoming family and a very motivating quick progress in my Spanish still made it hard to leave. Go to Xela and greet everyone in escuela Minerva from me! Kathy

Mein Plan war, vier Wochen im August 2005 in der Minerva Spanish School Spanisch zu lernen - Ich blieb fuer sechs. Die wundervolle Atmosphaere in der Schule, eine tolle Gastfamilie und ein motivierender, schneller Fortschritt in meinem Spanisch machten es am Ende immer noch schwer, zu gehen. Auf nach Xela - und viele liebe Gruesse an alle in der escuela Minerva! Kathy

Katha Kraemer
katha.kraemer@gmx.de

I had the pleasure of studying for three weeks in January 2004 at the Escuela Minerva. It truly was one of the best experiences of my life. The quality of the teaching couldn't be better; my grasp of Spanish grammar improved dramatically, along with my ability to speak and understand. The one-on-one teaching experience is both incredibly effective and flexible.

The atmosphere at Minerva is comfortable and welcoming, and the teachers are fun and personable. Being truly immersed in Guatemalan culture is an eye-opening experience. There is a beauty and complexity to this culture that one comes to appreciate more and more with each day.

Staying in the home of a host family enriches the experience. I was able to visit at length with my host family, comparing notes on our daily lives and our views and beliefs. I learned a tremendous amount about the Guatemalan culture from my family. They couldn't have been more welcoming, more concerned about my welfare, or more attentive to my wishes and needs. It was a wonderful experience on all fronts!

I would be happy to answer questions or visit in more detail with anyone who is considering a trip to Minerva!

Greta von Bernuth
glvonb@comcast.net

The friendly and encouraging atmosphere provides an ideal learning environment. The teachers enjoy their work and nurture the students. The mutual respect and apreciation between administration and teaching staff shines forth as a wonderful example of a socially responsible business administration. Teachers and students improve lives in Xela and the surrounding areas in numerius ways.

Scott Palmer                                                              
530-891-2888 spalmer@buttecounty.net

I studied at Minerva for three weeks and it was a wonderful experience. The school is intimate and friendly, but it is also lively and interesting with loads of activities and opportunities to meet other students. My teacher was fantastic. She had plenty of teaching experience and training (like all the teachers here) and my Spanish improved a great deal. Lessons were lively and fun and the time flew by.

My family lived very close to the school, cooked amazing foor and provided plenty of opportunities to test my Spanish. I felt I had chosen the right place from the start. I had a great welcome from Julio, lively director of the school, my family and the other staff and students. I cannot recommend Minerva enough- this is a place with genuine warmth and lovely people. You'd be a fool to miss out!



Minerva is Great for Families

The Minerva school was a wonderful experience for our family and we highly recommend it for others. We attended for two weeks, along with our two children, ages 8 and 6, in the summer of 2003. We would be happy to talk to any families considering attending the school who might have questions about how well it works for children.

Everyone at the school was warm and welcoming and very patient with us and our children. The children’s teachers were particularly patient and kind. They took Joshua and Eva on outings to the nearby zoo, to play soccer, and  to bakeries; read them stories; encouraged them to write in Spanish; and played games, such as Scrabble, with them in Spanish. The children also participated with us in an outing organized by the school to visit nearby hot springs. They loved swimming in the thermal pools and interacting with the teachers and other students. The school has a very fun-loving and friendly atmosphere. Our children enjoyed the party we had one day to
celebrate the birthday of one of the teachers. I’ll never forget my
daughter dancing and singing along while Julio, the director, played “La Chucaracha” on his guitar. Joshua and Eva were very proud of themselves at the ceremony held to mark our “graduation.”

The one-on-one instruction provided by the school is great. We all learned a tremendous amount. It was also very positive for our children to see their parents learning a language. It reinforced for them how important we think it is for them to know another language.

One of the highlights of the program is living with a family. We loved our  family! Our children spent many hours each day playing with their three children and with cousins who lived next door. We ate three meals each day with the family, went on outings with them, and were invited several times to visit their extended family. We learned a lot of Spanish while being with them. They couldn’t have been more friendly, generous, and open. We were sorry to leave them and look forward to some day returning.

After we left Minerva, we traveled in Guatemala for two weeks. Our children learned a lot more Spanish, as well as Mayan culture and natural history. We greatly enjoyed our time in the Lake Atitlan area, Antigua, and Tikal and would be happy to make recommendations to families interested in traveling in those areas.

We were all sad to leave Guatemala and wish we could have stayed much longer. Joshua and Eva felt very accomplished upon completing their adventure and have each made presentations at school about their trips. Our trip to Guatemala was one of the best things we’ve done with and for our children.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Debra Prybyla & David Blockstein
daviddebrahome@gmail.com


I studied Spanish at Escuela Minerva for four weeks in March and another eight weeks in August and September.  All those weeks I was at Escuela Minerva I had a really great time.  I had classes with teachers Flory and Monica and I don’t think that the teachers at other schools could be better.  I really learned a lot and they are great people.  It’s a small school and there is always a family atmosphere.  It wasn’t just 5 hours Spanish each day with the many activities the school organized. Many evenings I went with students and teachers to a restaurant or cinema and we always had a good time. 

Because I studied 12 weeks at the school I had to write a thesis (Costumbres de Guatemala) and at the end I had to give a presentation about it.  Escuela Minerva is the only school in Quetzaltenango which does this, which proves the professionalism of the school.  If you want to learn only a little Spanish in a big school and go late every night then this is not your school.  But if you really want to learn Spanish in a family atmosphere then Escuela Minerva is your school. 

Lindo Greve 
Lindo_greve@hotmail.com

I am a first year Spanish student from the University of
Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada. I have attended Escuela Minerva for four weeks to practice my Spanish prior to my second year Spanish course. Xela and Especially Escuela Minerva provide an excellent environment to learn, study and practice Spanish. Whether for travel, university or work, Escuela Minerva can design a program specifically for you. School director, Julio Lima is a university professor and his instructors are friendly, organized and very professional. The school and home stays are located in a residential part of Xela, approximately 20 minutes by walking to the city center. It is a safe environment for studying Spanish. The staff at Escuela Minerva are eager to share their knowledge of Spanish and the cultures of Guatemala with you.

Brian Woodley
bwoodley@pacificcoast.net



Nachdem ich verschiedene Spanischschulen in ganz Guatemala durchprobiert habe, kann ich Euch nur waermstens die Minerva Spanischschule in Xela empfehlen! Dort bemueht man sich wirklich sehr um die Schueler, es werden viele Ausfluege und kulturelle

Veranstaltungen oder Diskussionen angeboten und der Spanischunterricht hat ein sehr hohes Niveau. Ich hab in den 3 Wochen die ich dort verbracht hab ne Menge gelernt  - sowohl sprachlich als auch ueber die Kultur   und Politik Guatemalas, und habe die Zeit dort sehr genossen!

After having tested out several Spanish schools in all of Guatemala, I can recommend the Minerva Spanish School without any reservations! They really care about the students here and offer a lot of excursions and cultural events or discussions and the quality of the Spanish instruction is very high. In the 3 weeks that I spent there I learned a ton -- not just grammar-wise, but also about Guatemalan politics and culture and I really enjoyed my time there!

Sabine Gose


The Escuela Minerva is one of the best Spanish Schools in Xela.  The teachers affiliated with it are all charming and very knowledgeable. All the students who were there when I was there felt welcomed into the Minerva family.  Even students who were only studying for 2 or 3 weeks developed real and rewarding friendships with their teachers. 

The one on one education is the best way to learn Spanish.  Additionally, all the host families associated with the school are of sterling quality. They go out of their way to have conversations with their students - which is why my Spanish went from  non-existent to very competent in one month.  The school is currently undergoing renovations so that it will be an even more pleasant facility soon.  It is located in a beautiful neighborhood very close to the main downtown area of Xela.

Also,students can take weekly trips to interesting places nearby and participate in stimulating conversations about the Guatemalan economy, Mayan religion, etc.  I highly recommend the school to anyone considering spending some time in Xela.  I will be happy to answer more questions at  

Bidisha Banerjee
bidisha.banerjee@yale.edu
.  

Woody was the coordinator of Escuela Minerva for more than 8 months.  He has detailed knowledge of the schools style, atmosphere and philosophy. Woody also has traveled extensively in Guatemala and would be happy to help in any way he can with your trip.

Woody Rubin
woodyrubin@hotmail.com

 

STUDENT REFERENCES

USA, CANADA & KOREA

Megan Megaldino
meganmagaldino@yahoo.com

GERMANY

Sandra Weiss
weisss@gmx.de
sandra.look-haasler@gmx.de

Jens Bange
j.bange@tu-bs.de

Reinhard Albert
reinhartalbert90475@tiscali.de

NETHERLANDS

Annemieke Boer
annemiekeboer@hotmail.com

SWITZERLAND

Patricio Frey
djgnu@sunrise.ch



Kurt Duesel
oedi@bluewin.ch

SCANDINAVIA

Stale Gronlund
staleg@hotmail.com

Mette Stentoft
mettefaraway@yahoo.dk

CANADA

Emma Comeau
emma.comeau@sympatico.ca

CZECH REPUBLIC AND SLOVAKIA

Karen Hynst
klapunda02@hotmail.com


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minerva Spanish  School

Minerva Spanish School
Quetzaltenango "Xela"
Guatemala C.A.
(502) 7767-4427

 

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