San Pedro Spanish School garden

Why I Chose to Study at San Pedro Spanish School

In Guatemala by Sheena56 Comments

San Pedro La Laguna is one of the most popular places to learn Spanish abroad – out of the many schools in town, find out why I decided to study with San Pedro Spanish School.

Here at DIY Travel HQ I’ve been travelling in Central America for the past 7 months & getting by with the little bit of Spanish I’ve been learning by myself.

I’d thought about taking Spanish classes a few times and I even visited a couple of schools in Oaxaca City.

Nothing spoke to me though, not enough to make me want to stop travelling.

That changed when I got to San Pedro La Laguna, one of the top places to visit in Guatemala.

Stunning view of San Pedro La Laguna

Stunning view of San Pedro La Laguna

I’d only planned to stay for a couple of days but as I was exploring the town, I noticed a lot of signs for Spanish schools.

This put the idea of studying Spanish back in my head & just out of interest, I checked out a few schools.

San Pedro La Laguna

The centre of San Pedro La Laguna

Why I Chose San Pedro Spanish School

The one that stood out the most was San Pedro Spanish School.

I spoke with Ramon, who I later found out was the founder of the school – I love it when owners are personally involved in their businesses.

Ramon was very friendly, warm & passionate about Spanish learning & linguistics in general.

San Pedro Spanish School entrance

The entrance to San Pedro Spanish School

He took me around the school & I was really surprised to find that all the classes were held in little huts, scattered around a huge garden.

And why not, because the world really can be your oyster & your teacher!

I had a very good feeling about San Pedro Spanish School & I always believe in following your intuition.

So I took a deep breath, put my travel plans to El Salvador on hold & signed up for classes there & then 🙂

Classroom hut San Pedro

My classroom awaits 🙂

Studying at San Pedro Spanish School

  • My Teacher

My teacher at San Pedro Spanish School was Teresa, a lovely Indigenous woman who has lived in the town her whole life.

Teresa has been teaching at the school for 5 years & her experience shone through.

Teacher at San Pedro Spanish School

I love a teacher with passion!

Even at my beginner-level, we spoke almost exclusively in Spanish in class.

I was pretty amazed that I could hold a conversation for 3 hours!

But Teresa was easy to study with. She spoke clearly & steadily, not too fast but not too slow either. S

he was very patient & understanding, especially in the many moments when I was lost in translation.

Check out our video for more on San Pedro Spanish School!

  • 1-on-1 Course Structure

I really loved the personal attention that came with having a 1-on-1 class.

Lessons felt more personalized & I progressed much faster than I would have in a group class or studying by myself.

My lessons at San Pedro Spanish School were a mixture of structured learning & conversational practice.

We focused a lot on vocabulary, grammar & conjugations as Teresa really wanted be to be able to communicate in proper Spanish, right from the beginning.

We also talked about our different lives & the cultural differences between Guatemala & the West.

I felt comfortable asking Teresa about all the little quirks I’ve noticed in the country that I couldn’t understand!

Classroom at San Pedro Spanish school

1-on-1 classes are personalised & help you progress faster

  • Learning environment

San Pedro La Laguna sits on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan – it’s surrounded by volcanoes & traditional Mayan villages, making it a picture-perfect place to study Spanish!

Having lessons outdoors was, literally, a breath of fresh air.

My classroom was a little hut in the garden, we moved to different ones every day.

Some of them were right in front of the lake.

The learning environment at San Pedro Spanish School was truly inspiring.

View of Lake Atitlan

Incredible view of Lake Atitlan from San Pedro Spanish School!

  • The Final Verdict

I’ve only been studying at San Pedro Spanish School for one week but I feel like I’ve improved tremendously.

I had an understanding of a lot of the grammar beforehand but now I’m actually able to put into practice.

The classes really consolidated by previous learning & they’ve given me the confidence to speak Spanish more naturally.

Me studying at San Pedro Spanish School

I loved studying at San Pedro Spanish School!

Activities at San Pedro Spanish School

Besides offering Spanish classes, San Pedro Spanish School provides other opportunities to immerse yourself in Spanish culture & socialize with other students:

  • Conversation Club
  • Movies and documentaries
  • Salsa Classes
  • Weekend Activities
San Pedro Spanish School tour office

San Pedro Spanish School has a tour office that can help organise fun trips around your classes

Volunteer at San Pedro Spanish School

San Pedro Spanish school supports a project called Ninos del Lago, which provides educational opportunities & social aid to disadvantaged children in the community.

You can volunteer to teach children in the classroom, located close to San Pedro Spanish School:

  • 8:00-10:00 pm – senior students
  • 3:00-5:00 pm – primary school students

You can also assist by donating food, clothing, building supplies or sponsoring a child.

10% of profits from San Pedro Spanish School goes towards supporting Ninos del Lago.

For more information, please visit their website.

Ninos del Lago

Volunteer to teach children English at Ninos del Lago

Things to See & Do in San Pedro

San Pedro is a laid back town in the Guatemalan Highlands, on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan.

It’s a small town but as the backpacker hub of Guatemala, there are many restaurants, cafes, bars & budget hotels catering to foreigners.

This social scene is set near the lakefront however local life takes place further up the hill.

Here, men, women & children (some in Indigenous outfits) all congregate around the church, basketball court & market in the centre of town.

Church in San Pedro

Life in San Pedro revolves around the church, located on a big plaza next to the market

You can walk everywhere in San Pedro, though there are also tuk-tuk taxis.

If you’re taking Spanish classes and need a break from memorizing words & conjugating verbs, there are plenty of activities to choose from:

Cooking class in San Pedro

Take a cooking class in San Pedro!

San Pedro is a wonderful place with the the right balance of locals & foreigners, traditional life & modern conveniences. It just feels like home.

Like myself & many other people here, you may just end up staying one more day, week or month…

Lago Atitlan

San Pedro La Laguna & Lake Atitlan can be your home away from home 🙂

Where to Stay in San Pedro

  •  Homestay

San Pedro Spanish School offers the option of a homestay with a Guatemalan family, to complement your Spanish classes.

Living with a family is the best way to practice the language & fully immerse yourself in Mayan culture.

There are 2 options:

  • A host family with shared bathroom, 3 meals a day (except Sundays) & internet access – Q700 or $85.000 a week
  • A host family with private bathroom, 3 meals a day (except Sundays), internet access & 3 kg of laundry – Q800 or $100.00 a week
San Pedro Spanish School Homestay

The homestay experience with San Pedro Spanish School

  •  Hotel / Apartment

You can also choose to find your own accommodation.

Budget hotel rooms start at Q30 / $4.13 per person, per night or Q600 / $82.50 per person, per month.

You can also inquire around town about renting an apartment – ask around or check bulletin boards at cafes & restaurants.

Hotel room in San Pedro

Rent a room in San Pedro from Q600 per person, per month

Know Before You Go

School: San Pedro Spanish School

Tuition: 3 hrs a day / 15 hrs a week – Q750.00 or US$100.00

Class times: Morning or afternoon classes available

Homestay: Q700 / $96.30 to Q800 / $110.00 a week

 

*** The Final Word – If you’re looking to study Spanish abroad, I highly recommend San Pedro Spanish School for their professionalism & inspiring garden-lakefront location! *** 

Where have you studied Spanish abroad?

Thank you to San Pedro Spanish School for hosting me & giving me the opportunity to take classes at their wonderful school. 

Studied in August 2016

Comments

  1. Wow! That looks like such a great location to be studying Spanish. It sure beats just sitting in a boring old classroom. Also It seems to cheap compared to life here in Japan!

    1. Author

      Hi Rachael, yep it’s so much better than being in a classroom inside! Guatemala is definitely a lot cheaper than Japan but the costs are actually similar to many other countries in Asia 🙂

  2. This is amazing! for starters you are traveling around Central America…my dream! Secondly I love that you have enrolled in school, I sadly only know English BUT I have been toying with the idea of trying to learn another language, in fact Spanish is what I have been thinking. A long ways down the road our family plan to travel for 12-18 months before my oldest starts high school (she is only in 1st grade, so a long ways away) it never occurred to me to enroll in a school whilst on said travels, but what a great idea. I also love that this school does volunteering work and helps support locals; our family recently volunteered in Malaysia with a turtle project it was amazing and volunteering is something we hope to do a lot more of. Thank you for all the wonderful information, absolutely pinning for future reference!

    1. Author

      Thanks so much Hannah! I think incorporating some language learning into travelling with your kids sounds like an awesome idea & something that everyone would enjoy. I hadn’t actually thought about it either but kids are a long way off for me 🙂 For myself right now, after travelling for nearly a year, taking Spanish lessons was a good excuse to take a break & base myself in one place for awhile, along with really wanting to improve my Spanish. Good luck with your future plans & travels! 🙂

  3. Wow! This looks great. I actually used to work at an English language school in Australia, and loved meeting all the different nationality students that came through. I think your school is so unique – how fun it is to learn out in the nature in a hut. It definitely beats indoors in the air condition. Your feedback is very positive about this class and now it’s making me think about Spanish classes. It’s a language I have been meaning to learn.

    1. Author

      Hi Soraya, I used to teach English in China so it’s definitely interesting being on the other side of the classroom this time around! Learning outdoors in the beautiful garden with the lake just around the corner was definitely inspiring. I think Spanish is one of the most useful languages to learn, especially if you plan to travel in Latin America – go for it 🙂

  4. Interesting, I’ve never considered that area before, it looks so beautiful!

  5. Looks like a fun place to study. I would absolutely love to learn another language – but feel hopeless at it!! Guess I’ll never know if I don’t try, right?

  6. This is actually the second account Ive read of someone studying Spanish at this school! It looks so spectacular! I love that the lessons are in little huts, like you said, it inspires you! This is definitely on my bucket list for when I (eventually) go to South America!

    1. Author

      Awesome! San Pedro Spanish School is one of the most popular & professional language schools in Guatemala so I’m not surprised you’ve heard of it before. An incredible setting but also great teachers too 🙂

  7. Love your classroom 🙂 And the idea of 1 on 1 lessons is awesome. It just makes so much sense as everybody studies differently. I also like the fact that you include culture in your studies as I think it is so important when getting to know a language. Don’t only learn how to say something but why!

    1. Author

      That’s totally right, the best part I like about taking classes as opposed to learning yourself is that you can actually speak to a real person & have things explained clearly, in different ways, until you understand it 🙂

  8. I have 2 girlfriends that spent 2 months traveling through Central America and spent 2 weeks at this school! They loved it. I met them in Honduras near the end of their trip. What a great experience.

  9. This looks like it was such an amazing experience! Nothing better than learning a country’s language in the actual place. I’m dying to do the same in Italy!

  10. When any venture is run with personal involvement and passion, the results are altogether on a different level. The same is the case with San Pedro school too. No wonder you chose to study Spanish there rather than anywhere else.

  11. Looks like an awesome learning environment. I took classes for a week in Bolivia and I loved it – so much more immersive than my A Level Spanish (which was promptly forgotten when I stopped using it!). 🙂

  12. Boy could l use this right now? Living in Seville and not speaking the language is quite the challenge :-). The cooking class looks awesome too, and to top it off, the cost is reasonable. Cool 🙂

  13. As an ESL teacher, I love helping my students learn and overcome their problems. Sometimes, teaching complete beginners is more fun, as long as you can persuade them to throw their apprehension out of the window!

    1. Author

      Hi Katrina, a couple of things I really appreciated from the classes was being in an environment where I felt comfortable practicing my mediocre Spanish & having a teacher that was patient & encouraging 🙂

  14. Great post! I’m just starting to learn Spanish (in the UK) in readiness for our 2 year road trip in Latin America next year. Will definitely need to polish up on my skills when I get there!

  15. I almost studied at this school! In the end I decided to choose a school in Antigua instead. Sounds like you had a great experience as well.

  16. Thanks for this great resource. I pinned this for future reference. Currently learning Spanish in Toronto but learning in Guatemala in a garden sounds every enticing!

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