Answers to some of the most commonly asked
questions students have asked ….
Why study Spanish in Xela?
We at Minerva Spanish School believe that Xela offers Spanish students the perfect balance of educational excellence and cultural opportunity.
If your goal is to learn Spanish in a cultural context, we feel very strongly that a small city with a world-class cultural heritage is best suited to achieving that goal. In Xela, students will be truly immersed in a Spanish speaking cosmopolitan city.
It’s also important to consider the quality of the family-living experience. In Antigua, for example, too often there are several foreigners staying with the same family at once. In this case, it’s more like a hotel, than a family atmosphere. Also, often there are separate mealtimes for the students and the family.” Such a situation is inconceivable in our school. Here the families truly delight in ‘adopting’ someone from another culture for a week or two. You really become part of the family. In this environment, your Spanish skills will soar.
What’s the weather like?
Like other tropical countries, Guatemala has two seasons – wet and dry. The dry season usually lasts from December to May, the wet season from June to November. During the wet season, mornings are typically clear, then thunderstorms build through the afternoon into a refreshing shower, then the clouds dissipate in time for a lovely sunset. The coolest months are January and February, while March and April are the warmest. Still, this is the tropics, so average temperatures tend not to vary more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit (5 Celsius).
Is it easy to communicate with home?
It’s very easy in Xela to keep in touch with family, friends, or business associates. There are numerous Internet Cafes in Xela, all charging around US$ 1.00 per hour or less.
Increasingly students are bringing cell phones with them for their journeys. If you plan to bring a phone, let us know and we will give you the necessary info to get connected.
Phone cards are another popular option and they are easy to purchase in Xela.
Is Xela safe?
The city of Xela is, in fact, very safe, and very welcoming to visitors. It’s hard not to be charmed by the relaxed friendliness of the place.
Do you teach children, too?
Children, minimum five years old, are most welcome to study Spanish at Minerva Spanish School! We’ve had many families study here, and have developed a kids-friendly curriculum to keep the youngsters engaged and happy. Most of the families who house our students have children of their own, who, like all kids, are quick to make friends. Also, we can arrange visits for your kids to local schools, an experience that will prove unforgettable. We think studying Spanish for a week or two in a safe and friendly Central American city is a wonderful way to encourage in a child an adventurous spirit of travel and a lifelong respect for other cultures.
How is the medical care and prescription meds?
We recommend that visitors carry with them all the prescription medicines they will need during their stay.
If I live with a family, will I have a private room or will I have to share my room with other students?
Every student at the Minerva Spanish School gets his or her private room. You won’t have to share your room with anyone unless you want to. We do have double rooms available for couples, though.
Can my host family provide vegetarian meals?
Certainly. Just let us know when you fill out the registration form and we’ll advise your host family accordingly.
Can I change my host family if I don’t like the place?
We work with a variety of host families and if you don’t like the one we place you with, we’ll move you to another one the next day. Our host families are carefully selected and provide good service, however, and requests to change families are very rare.
How far from the school are the host families?
All our host families are located within a short walking distance from the school. Thus you can walk back and forth in just a few minutes.
Can you place me with a family with children?
Yes, we have a number of host families with children of all age groups. Just note your preferences on the registration form when you sign up.
I‘d prefer to stay at a hotel. Can you make the arrangements?
Yes, we’ll be happy to make a reservation at a local hotel for you. Please let us know when you sign up what kind of hotel you’re looking for and what your budget is.
Can I start any day or do I have to start on Monday?
We prefer students start their classes on Monday. However, we are very flexible with our schedules and allow our students to begin their courses whenever it’s convenient for them.
Can I have classes on Saturday and/or Sunday?
Yes, if you are in a real hurry, we can arrange for you to have classes on Saturday and/or Sunday. We recommend, however, that you take off at least one day per week. You can’t study all the time! See Excursions for ideas on what to do on the weekends.
How can I pay for my course? Do you accept credit cards?
You can pay with US$, travelers checks, money orders or Guatemalan Quetzals. You can prepay with your credit card using our online reservation form.
Can I change my teacher if we don’t get along?
Certainly! We want you to be happy and enjoy your classes. Let me point out, though, that requests to change teachers are very rare here. Our teachers are well trained and very good at adapting their instructions to their students’ needs, interests and learning styles.
Do I need to bring textbooks and a dictionary?
We will provide all the class materials you’ll need, so bringing textbooks isn’t necessary. A notebook and a dictionary is something no Spanish student should be without though.
What else should I bring?
- Dollars or travelers checks; Canadian money or travelers
checks are not excepted!
- Credit Cards, Bank cards. In almost each village you can
pay with Visa, MasterCard only in larger centers. It is quite difficult to get money with your Cirrus Bank Card.
- Photocopies of important documents.
- Money Belt.
- Warm clothing. Because Xela is located 2200 meters above sea level, and in the morning and in the evening it can get quite cold.
- Swim wear
- Sun Protection
- Rain Protection, especially during the rainy seasons
- Solid walking shoes and shower footwear
- Medicines for first aid items + prescriptions
In Guatemala the electric voltage is 110. This is the same plug as the United States. You may need a world-plug if your plugs are different.
Can you recommend a good guidebook for the area?
There are a number of books that discuss Xela – Guatemala, or Central America. The Lonely Plane Handbook for Guatemala (with a large section on Petén Guatemala), and the Rough Guide to Guatemala are indispensable.
Recommended by Lonely Planet
“Warm welcoming staff; plenty of activities”.
Do you have a question that’s not answered here?
Contact us and we’ll happy to assist in any way we can!