Learning Spanish in Guatemala is fun, especially when it is total immersion living in Xela Guatemala. SISAI offers a small family friendly environment. The goal is to provide emphasis on the abilities to understand, read and speak Spanish. Therefore, enhancing the total immersion experience with the Guatemalan people and culture.
School begins at 8 am and ends at 1 pm. Spanish lessons are 5-hours a day Monday through Friday with a private teacher. All classes are customized one-on-one lessons designed to work at the student’s level to provide the optimum curriculum for meeting the goals for learning Spanish.
For new students, before lessons begin on the first day of school, the director meets with all the new students in a group. This is to personally welcome new students to the SISAI family and to go over some guidelines and suggestions for making the most of time spent in Xela. After the morning break on Mondays, all the students and teachers gather in the common area for an organized group meeting. The purpose is to introduce the new students to the current students and have fun getting to know each other with group games in Spanish. Also, during this group meeting a teacher provides the schedule for the week’s activities and excursions in detail.
There is a 30-minute break each morning where the school offers coffee and some pan dulce (cookies, sweet breads). Also, Doña Isabel, comes to the school during the break to sell some of her home-cooked snacks. For example: patches (like tamales) or vegetarian tostadas. The cost is usually around 5 quetzals (.65 cents). Her food is always delicious and very safe to eat.
Twice a week mini- conferences are held for all the students. The idea behind the mini-conferences is to listen to another teacher speaking Spanish (train your ear) and to learn about Guatemala and other interesting topics. For each mini-conference, one of the more advanced students is selected to translate into English. This is another excellent tool for learning Spanish.
Each week the instructors write a lesson plan and will review it with the student. There will be occasional assessments to help determine areas that the student may need additional focus or practice. This content will then be added into the weekly lesson plans.
After school activities and excursions
SISAI organizes daily activities for the students. During the week activities take place after lunch. These activities range from cooking classes to taking a chicken bus to a near by pueblo to learn about its particular culture and history. On Saturdays longer excursion are planned. For example hiking a volcano and visiting an sacred Maya lake. Many of the activities tie-in with the mini-conference topics.
These activities/excursions are all organized by the teachers at the school. It is like having a private tour guide! It’s not farmed-out to a 3rd party tour group. Students are having fun while practicing their conversational Spanish in a fun and comfortable environment.
Graduation and Socialize:
Sisai is a small school, which provides the opportunity to mix and mingle and meet other students from all over the world who share a common goal… to speak Spanish. Every Friday afternoon or evening a graduation party is hosted by the school. It is an opportunity to recognize all students who have completed their Spanish studies. Each student receives a custom diploma. Their achievements are recognized by their instructors, the entire staff, and other students. The friendships and experiences made at SISAI Spanish School are memorable!