21 Frequently Asked Questions
You probably have some questions about our school, Miguel de Cervantes and your attendance here. Here are 20 frequently asked questions. If you have any other questions feel free to contact us via e-mail or telephone.
1) Why should I stay with a family?
If your reason for coming to Guatemala is to improve your Spanish-speaking skills, then it is important to stay with a family. You will get lots of practice speaking Spanish with your family members. It is common for students to be invited on family excursions to the market or elsewhere. If it is practice you want with speaking Spanish, as well as home-cooked meals, warm showers, and your own rooms…why not stay with a family. Staying with a family is also a money saver.
2) Who gets the additional money when a student stays with a family?
All money in addition to the language courses goes to the family.
3) Will I have privacy if I stay with a family?
Of course you will have privacy. The families are asked to provide you with your own private room, your own private keys (one for your room and one for the outside door), a desk with a lamp in your room (for studying), and three different meals a day (except Sundays, since this is the day of rest for the family). Your family should provide warm water, a clean bathroom, and purified water for drinking. We evaluate our families in order to ensure they are meeting our requests. We also assure you that all our families live in safe neighborhoods.
4) Can more than one student stay with a family?
It is our general policy to place all students traveling alone with their own family. This way the student is surrounded by Spanish in the school and the household. However, couples or families are more than welcome to stay together. Let us know if you need any special requests or preferences with a home stay. During the high season families closest to the school will have more than one student staying in there house due to the many requests to stay close to the school.
5) What if I’m vegetarian?
We have the capability to set the student up with a family that is able to cook based upon the students’ dietary needs, whether the person has allergies, is lactose intolerant, or has chosen the vegetarian lifestyle.
6) What if I arrive a few days early for classes?
We can set you up with your family a few days early, given proper notice. You will need to pay a few dollars a day for this arrangement, which will all go to the family. We can also give you space in our guesthouse connected to the school. We can help you find a hotel or hostel within your financial means, as well.
7) How do I register for classes?
You should tell us in advance so we can make space for you. You do not need to pay in advance, but when is a busy season, we do have a registration fee which assures you a spot in the school. This fee is not part of your payment tuituion.
8) When do I pay for classes…and how much are they?
You pay for your class on your first day of class or if you are abroad, you must register.LINK TO REGISTRATION PAGE
You pay for the entire week (or more if you want). Once you give the money, we will not refund it for that week since we need to pay the family and the teacher for the week of work or stay. We accept U.S. currency, and Guatemalan Quetzales. We can accept credit cards however there an extra fee of 7% of the total amount paid. You must get permission from the school first before paying your tuition by credit card. Once you have permission you can pay using this Tuition Payment Form Also, it is easy to get a cash advance on a VISA card or to take out money from a check or debit card at a bank near Parque Central (located a block away from the school).
9)What if I miss my class?
If you did not inform us at least 24 hours in advance that you will not be able to attend your lesson, you will be charged for that lesson. Otherwise you should give us a phone call as soon as possible since an email is not as fast sometimes. That way we can tell your teacher not to come to the school and he/she can make other plans.
Only in the case, that your teacher was informed previosly that you will not be coming to class, you will not be charged for the lesson and you both can reschedule the lesson.
10) Do I have internet access?
We provide free internet access, wifi, to all our students and guests .
11) Who owns and runs the school?…And what does my money go towards?
Sary Muñoz is the owner of the school. Half of the tuition fee goes to the teacher, the other half goes to the school and it expenses.
12) Can I contact former students?
Yes, feel free to contact former students. Contact us first, and we will send you a few e-mails of former students. We do not publicize the e-mail addresses of our former students for obvious reasons.
13) Can I obtain college/university credit?
We are working on this options. Currently we suggest that you work through your university on an independent study program. We can provide you with documents showing what you have learned here at the school along with a diploma when you finish.
14) How do I get to the school? Xela? Guatemala?
If your flight arrives at night or just you would like to spend a night in a safe place in Guatemala City. Our agent in Guatemala Raquel Gressy will take care of you. She speaks english.
Raquel Gressy de López
Avenida Elena C 15-59 zona 1, Guatemala.
Tels: 2221-0793 y 5307-8336
Transportation from the airport to the bus station (1st. class), bus ticket NOT included $15
Transportation from the airport to the guest house, dinner, breakfast and transportation from the guest house to the bus station.
Bus ticket not included $30
In case your flight would arrive late or early we need to be notifyed as soon as possible. firstname.lastname@example.org
Miguel de Cervantes School of Spanish
(502) 7765 55 54, (502) 5688 46 94
(502) 2221 07 93, 5307 83 86, 5905 38 13
15) What are the hours of the bus from Guatemala City to Xela?
(1st class bus – Q80.00 one way)
12 Av & 5 Calle,
Calle Rodolfo Robles
17-43, Zona 1
|Daily (to Guate):
|Daily (to Guate):
16 Calle 10-03, Zone 1
7 Av 19-44, Zone 1
|Daily (to Xela):
|Daily (to Xela):
23 Av. 5-86 Zona 3
14 Av 5-15, Zona 3
|Daily (to Guate):
|Daily (to Guate):
8a Av 16-41 Zona 1
12 Av “A”, 0-65, Zona 7
|Daily (to Xela):
|Daily (to Xela):
16) Do I need a visa to travel to Guatemala?
Citizens of Canada, the United States, Switzerland, Israel, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, and the EU countries do not need visas for tourist visits to Guatemala. Visitors from some countries, including Eastern European countries, Iceland, and South Africa do need visas in order to visit Guatemala. Thus it is suggested for those who need visas to inquire at a Guatemalan embassy months in advance of travel. For the majority of privileged travelers, however, a 90-day stay is given upon entry into Guatemala. One simply needs to present his or her passport to the Guatemalan immigration officials and the number “90” is either stamped or written inside the passport. This can easily be extended for another 90 days at the Departmento de Extranjeria (Foreigners Office located in the Inguat Headquarters) in Guatemala City or simply by traveling to one of the many countries bordering Guatemala. Hundreds of foreigners have been repeating this process for years as it is almost impossible to receive dual-citizenship in Guatemala.
17) What should I pack for my trip?
You should pack what you would normally pack for any long trip. You should remember that there is no need to pack a lot of clothes. After all, there are cheap and effective laundry services here. And there is always the opportunity to buy clothes. In Xela, one should remember that it does get cold at night. So a hat, gloves, and a light coat are good ideas. During the rainy season it is not a bad idea to pack a poncho. Sun tan lotion and mosquito spray are also necessities during the summer. Toilet paper is a good idea since some places do not believe in providing their customers toilet paper (or if you´re taking a hike, indoor bathrooms do not exist). If you need your computer or I-pod and do not plan on doing a lot of traveling, it is safe to bring these things to Xela as long as you are very careful. Otherwise, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
18) What is the weather like?
The weather in Guatemala is usually warm and wet during the rainy season, from mid-May to early-November. Guatemala is usually warm and dry during the rest of the year, especially from mid-November to April. In the highlands, where Xela is located, one can expect high temperatures during the day and low temperatures at night, especially during the dry season. It never snows in Xela, but it has been known to drop near freezing at night in December, January, and early February.
19) Will I have opportunities to volunteer with a worthwhile organization or project?
If you are motivated to volunteer for an organization or project, you will be able to do it. There are dozens and dozens of organizations and projects that need volunteers. We will do our best to place you with an organization of your choosing. One should remember, however, that in order to be placed in some organization or project, the volunteer often must commit to a minimum amount of time (from just weeks to a year) and must possess a minimum “level” of Spanish in order to serve them. It should be noted that there are plenty of organizations willing to work with volunteers for short amounts of time and at any “level” of Spanish.
20) Is Xela easy to get around?
Xela is quite easy to get around. Most places are within walking distance. The city is served by a system of buses and microbuses, which are nothing more than Toyota vans. Taxis are also available. One can travel virtually anywhere in the city by bus or van for around 15 cents. On the outskirts of town is the large public bus station, which is actually in the commercial area of town and next to the largest outdoor market in Xela. These public buses, often called “Chicken buses,” depart from the Minerva bus station and travel to virtually every corner of Guatemala, including local villages.
21) Is Xela a safe city?
No one should pretend Guatemala is a safe country. It often isn’t safe. However, Xela is a relatively safe city. The most dangerous areas in Guatemala are the remote and rural areas, especially at night, long stretches of highways, and in the capital, which gets most of the bad press. Of course it is never a good idea to walk home inebriated in the early morning alone (for a predator, there is nothing that cries out for more attention than a drunken blond-haired foreigner late in the night where nobody is around) in any city, including Xela. Xela is much safer than most cities of its size. That is not to stay that crime does not occur. It does. And one has to be careful. People need to be cautious. Traveling with another person late at night is always a good idea, especially if you are a woman. Never carry your passport or credit cards around, day or night. Always have a little cash on you in case you do get robbed. And stay away from areas that are not well-lit. Remember, the vast majority of times you are approached by a robber, the only thing he wants is money or possessions worth money. By only carrying a little cash around, the robber is happy that he got something and you only had to give up a little money in the process.