When do I pay tuition?
The Tuition Fee is due the first day of your classes.
What currency can I pay in?
Your tuition can be paid in cash in Quetzales. You can also pay the tuition fee by credit card here at the school. If paying by pay pal, a 5% surcharge is added to each payment due to the card service processing fee. If paying by credit card, a 5% surcharge is added to each payment. We accept credit card payments using TAB Money, a secure app used in over 80 countries (but based in the USA). If you have US$ cash, it is easy to change them at one of the nearby banks at the park, and we can assist you with this.
How do I register?
Please contact us for enquiries about availability. You can submit your registration form online using our Secure Form (through our guatepay link on the Registration page). The one-time Registration Fee of US$30 guarantees your place and means you do not have to pay your tuition fee in advance (unless you would prefer to). It also allows us to match you to a teacher and host family that will best suit you. You may also choose not to register in advance and visit the school to sign up, but space is allocated on an as-available basis. Please note that simply requesting classes by e-mail cannot not always guarantee enrollment.
Is card payment service secure?
Yes. We use paypal and TAB Money. TAB Money is used by a lot of tourism businesses for secure payments and students don't even have to download the app to use it. For more information on TAB go to: http://www.tabmoney.com/travellers
What is your change or cancellation policy?
We understand if your plans change unexpectedly. If you have paid the registration fee, we cannot refund it, but it stays valid until you are able to come and study, whenever that may be. Once you are studying, we ask that you tell us the week before if you plan to stop classes/take a break. If you are sick and you can let us know the day before, we will not charge you for that day. However, with less than a day’s notice, we have to charge you as we must pay your teacher.
What day can I start classes?
You can start classes any day of the week. If you start later in the week and if the school is full, there is the possibility that you will be asked to study in the afternoon for those first few days then continue in the mornings from the following week.
What if I want to study for only part of the week?
If you only want to study for part of the week (for example when you first arrive) we only charge for the days you study (at the rate based on number of hours), not the complete week.
Can I study at weekends?
Although the majority of our students study Monday to Friday, we can also arrange for classes at the weekend.
Are you open during holidays?
Yes. It is possible to study any day of the year at the school. However, during weeks in which there is an official Guatemalan holiday, we normally replace the normal classes with an extended activity relevant to that particular holiday (this does not affect the tuition cost for that week). If you wish to receive classes instead of taking part in the activity we add $10 to the tuition fee for that week because our teachers receive additional pay if they work on those days. These days are as follows:
- Januany 1- Año Nuevo (New Year´s Day)
- March or April - Jueves Santo y Viernes Santo (Easter)
- May 1 - Día del trabajo (May Day)
- June 30 - Día del Ejército (Army Day)
- September 15 - Día de la independencia (Guatemalan Independence Day)
- October 20 - Día de la Revolución (Day of the Revolution)
- November 1 - Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day)
- December 25 – Navidad (Christmas Day)
Will I have internet access?
Yes. We offer free use of internet at any time on our school computers and wifi if you have a laptop. Some of our host families have wifi but not all of them, so please let us know if this is something you would require.
What should I bring for classes?
You only need to bring a pen and notebook to class, both of which are sold cheaply in many stores around town. The school provides teaching materials such as whiteboards, activity worksheets, teaching games, etc. Your teacher may make copies for you of text book pages regarding specific language points or exercises and these are included in your tuition. If you would like a complete copy of a text book /exercise book to work from (according to your level), we can provide you with a copy of the textbook series ‘Sueña’ for $6.50 per book
Do I have to stay with the same teacher?
You are perfectly free to change teacher when you start another week of study, just let us know on the Thursday or Friday before the week you wish you change teachers. We pride ourselves on having great teachers but of course each is different and a lot of students benefit from changing teachers and getting a slightly different style and personality.
Can I contact former students?
Yes, just email us and we will give you some email addresses of former students who should be able to answer any of your questions.
Can I stay with the family before I start class?
Yes. The weekly tuition includes 7 nights with the family and five days of classes. However, if you would like to extend your family stay (before you start classes or after you finish classes), it is charged per day and this includes the 3 meals.
What will my room be like?
Our families provide students with a private room with a lock. The families are used to accommodating Spanish language students and ensure that the room is clean, secure, and comfortable. Students share bathroom facilities with the family.
Can I change families?
Absolutely. Most students stay with the same family, but you are more than welcome to change families every week so you can get to know the customs, traditions, and lifestyles of different families.
Can more than one student stay with a family?
Yes. If you and your friend would like to stay with the same family, or in the same room, this is no problem to accommodate. If couple stay in the same house, you pay per person as the contribution goes towards the food costs.
How far from the school will my homestay be?
Our families are all located 5 to 10 minutes walk from the school, in Zone 1 of the city. We will give you a map with the location of your family house and how to get to the school
What other accommodation options are there?
If you would prefer to organize alternative accommodation we can assist you with this. There are numerous guest houses and shared houses and apartments available.
What time can I start my homestay?
You can start the homestay at any time of the day but if we can we like to send people at lunchtime. Students normally leave their homestay in the morning after breakfast (as you would in a guest house or hotel). If you are planning on arriving to Xela in the afternoon, you can come to the school during the normal operating hours of the school and we will arrange for your family to come and pick you up. If you will arrive very late, we normally ask students to stay in a hostel the first night and we will take you to your family in the morning.
When should I plan to arrive at the school?
Arriving the day before your classes begin will allow you to settle in with your home stay or your hotel. However, we also have students who fly in early that morning and begin classes in the afternoon. We are flexible based on your preference. If you arrive late, outside of school opening hours, we recommend staying in the nearby Black Cat Hostel, which is just one block from the school and then you can come to the school in the morning before class.
How do I get to Xela?
From Guatemala City:
If you arrive in the day then it is possible to travel straight to Xela on a first class bus for Q60-Q70 (4 hours). See here for timetables. You can travel to the bus stations by one of the taxis that wait outside the airport (around Q80/$10) or we can also arrange a pickup from the airport and transport to the bus station. If you arrive later than 3pm, we recommend that you spend the night in the city and travel the next day.
From San Pedro or San Marcos, Solola:
Take a chicken bus or pickup up to the main highway between Xela and Guatemala city (via San Pablo & Santa Clara). Get off at the stop called km148 ‘Ciento cuarenta y ocho’. From the highway get on any bus in the direction of Xela. The total journey takes 2-3 hours.
From San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico:
There are many shuttle companies that run transport to Xela for around $25 (8 hours). An alternative is to take a second class bus to the border at Cuidad Cuauhtemoc, and from there a chicken bus to Xela via Huehuetenango. The second option will cost about half the price of a shuttle.
Can someone pick me up at the airport?
Yes. We can arrange a pickup from the airport to take you to the bus station. This service costs $10. If you arrive later than 3pm, you can stay overnight in Guatemala City. The guest house we use charges $24 for a pick up at the airport, a night’s accommodation including breakfast, and transport to the bus station the next day
Do I need a visa to travel to Guatemala?
If you’re from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and most (but not all) EU countries, you will receive a 90 day tourist visa upon arrival. This visa is also valid for Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. It is possible to renew this visa at the immigration office in the capital or by traveling to Mexico or Belize. If you are unsure whether you need a visa, check with your embassy.
What is the weather like?
The temperature here is about 20°C - 25°C / 70°F - 75°F during the day, but the nights can be quite cool, especially in December and January when the temperature can drop to below freezing at night. The rainy season runs from May to September with showers in the afternoons, but the mornings are still sunny and warm. The altitude of the city is 2335m.
What should I bring?
Obviously it depends on your ongoing travel plans but here is a list of things you might like to bring:
Valid travel insurance policy
Camera and cables to upload photos as you go.
Spanish dictionary (although these can also be bought second hand here in Xela)
Suncream, Xela is at altitude and it is easy to burn.
A small basic flashlight - we sometimes have powercuts, or you can use it for hiking trips.
Copies of passport and other important documents (it is also recommended that you scan these and email them to yourself)
Phone numbers of your bank/credit card provider.
A light rain jacket
Shoes suitable for walking rough terrain
Pictures of home and family to show your host family
Do I need vaccinations for Guatemala?
There are no legally required vaccinations for Guatemala; however it is recommended that travelers are up to date on the following vaccinations: MMR, DPT, poliovirus vaccine, Hep A, Hep B, and Typhoid. For the most up to date information about vaccinations and travel health visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/guatemala.htm
Where can I change money?
You can change money as soon as you get to the airport as there are several banks. In Xela there are banks in the center of town where you can change money or travelers checks or take out money from an ATM. We can recommend the closest.
Where can I volunteer?
There are many options for volunteer work in and around Xela, either while you are studying or after you finish (to practice and make use of your new skills) We work with the non-profit organization EntreMundos, widely regarded here as the experts in connecting volunteers to appropriate and deserving projects. We will make you an appointment with their volunteer advisor who will help you find the best fit for you.
To find out more about this organization and the different placements available go to www.entremundos.org. When considering volunteer work, please bear in mind that EntreMundos will do their best to find you a volunteer job that suits you, but many placements ask for a minimum time commitment of one month, and some request a minimum level of Spanish ability.
Do I have to pay to volunteer?
We will set up the free meeting with the EntreMundos volunteer coordinator. The majority projects do not charge for volunteer work, but some ask for a small donation to help cover their costs. If you choose to volunteer after studying, be aware that you will have to cover your own living costs (travel, food, accommodation) as very few of these small Guatemalan non-profits have the funds to cover these costs for you.
Do I have to arrange volunteering before I arrive?
No, it is actually best to settle in, get going with your Spanish studies and then look into volunteering. Most projects do not require advanced notice and it is better to visit them personally.