1. When and how should I make a reservation?
You can make your reservation whenever you decide that you want to study with us. To reserve your place, fill out our online enrollment form. Advanced registration gives us time to pair you with the teacher and family that we think will be the best match for you according to your interests and preferences. Booking 3 weeks in advance is advantageous, but we can also accept last minute reservations!
2. Do I have to pay a registration fee?
For students who register in advance online, a registration fee of US $33 is required. Registration is available online via our online enrollment form. The payment of the registration fee can be completed safely through Paypal.
Payment of the registration fee guarantees a space for you as an applicant and gives us time to make the best match possible between you and your teacher and host family. The fee also helps to cover the maintenance of the web page, promotion, brochures, mailings, phone calls and other general expenses. Students who choose not to register in advance are welcome to visit our office for registration; space is granted on an as-available basis.
1. Do you have classes for beginners with little or almost no previous knowledge in Spanish?
Many of our students have no previous knowledge of Spanish. Our teachers have the training and the experience to teach beginners and the total immersion system allows you to learn very quickly. We have a Spanish/English translator as part of our staff, who will be glad to help you communicate if you have any questions for the administration.
2. Can I study specialized Spanish vocabulary?
All of our teachers have at least some university courses. Some of them have degrees in fields as diverse as psychology, food science and pedagogy. We can assign the teacher(s) that best suit your needs. We also have teachers who volunteer with a medical clinic, so classes can include a component of medical vocabulary (with a specialized textbook) and role-playing of clinical situations.
In addition, we can help you contact organizations and people that can give you information or volunteer opportunities according to your experience and training.
3. How often are the language courses and how long do they last?
Because lessons are one-on-one, you can start your lessons any day of the week, though we prefer that you begin on a Monday. If you start mid-week, we’ll likely schedule you in the afternoon for your first partial week. The length of the courses depends on how much time you have available to commit to language acquisition. Students let us know each week if they will continue the following week, and payment is made weekly, so it’s fine to be unsure of how long you’ll study here. Most students stay about 3 to 5 weeks, but others stay 2 to 5 months. Often students study for a few weeks and later come back after doing some travelling.
4. Should I bring materials or books?
Celas Maya has a library with textbooks, dictionaries and some novels, all of which are available to both teachers and students. However, if you do have some materials that you would like to use, please feel free to bring them. We also encourage students whose first language is other than English to bring their own dictionary. If at the end of your stay you would like to donate your books, we will be glad to accept them.
5. I would like to know how much the Spanish tuition is without the homestay.
Tuition with homestay is Q. 1,880.00 weekly (aprox. 250). This includes 5 daily hours of one on one teaching, weekly activities and five hours of free weekly internet access or unlimited wifi access (Monday through Friday). Note: We maintain fixed prices in Guatemalan Quetzales. The prices quoted here in US dollars are an indication. The final amount in dollars might change according to the exchange rate at the day of payment.
6. Is it possible to have 3 or 4 hours of class per day?
Study schedules of less than five hours a day is possible, we have schedules of 15 and 20 hours per week. Even studying less than 15 hours per week would be possible. If you study less than 25 hours per week, you will be scheduled probably during the afternoons only, between the hours of 2 and 7 pm.
7. Do I enroll by the week, or is there a longer term to sign up for?
If you are certain about the amount of time that you want to study with us, we encourage you to sign up for the complete period. On the other hand, if you are not sure, you can enroll by the week.
8. What about holidays?
Celas Maya offers classes every day of the year, but we do maintain some holidays (Good Friday, Christmas, New Year´s Eve). See our holiday page for details.
9. When did the school open?
The school was founded in February of 1999. All of our permanent teachers have 4 to 20 years of experience. Our school maintains a very good reputation, as we have the satisfaction of having had thousands of students participate in our different programs.
10. Is Celas Maya a cooperative or collective?
No. Celas Maya is an establishment that is managed by its founding member. The teachers are hired depending on the amount of students at any given moment.
11. Are the activities planned during the school week done in groups?
The activities are planned for the students, so all of them are done in groups. Some also include the participation of teachers.
12. Do you have teachers who can teach around issues similar to social work?
All of our teachers have knowledge of the social issues that are salient in Guatemalan society. Some of them have experience in social work.
13. Do you have programs for children?
Yes. We have had many families come to Celas Maya, and we’re glad to arrange one-on-one instruction for children with teachers who are experienced in working with children and young people. We recognize that Spanish learning must be enjoyable to be effective for students of all ages. For children especially, classes are designed to make learning Spanish fun, with games and excursions incorporated into the program.
14. Can you host large groups of students?
Yes. We have the experience and administrative capacity to host large groups of students to study Spanish. Each year, Celas Maya hosts a group of anthropology students from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, for three weeks of intensive language study. For large groups, we arrange homestays with two or three students per family, communicate with a group leader prior to the group’s arrival to plan special activities, and make schedules for equitably distributed internet access. Airport pick-up service and practical services such as laundry may also be arranged. Write us at email@example.com to ask about possibilities for high school and university credits.
Staying in Xela.
1. Where in Xela will I be staying?
Most students stay with a host family. The price quoted in our information page includes a family homestay, with 3 meals daily every day, and dinner on Sunday. In your registration form, please be sure to include information on your food preferences (for example if you are a vegetarian or have diabetes), if you would like a family with children, pets, or any other information that can help us place you with the appropriate family.
If you prefer, you can also arrange your own housing. Xela has some budget hotels, and you may also be able to rent an apartment if you plan to stay for at least a month.
2. Will the family also host me on the weekend before school starts?
Normal move-in day is the Sunday before you begin school. However, we can arrange for the family to host you as many days before this as you need for only Q50 ($6.50) per night. Please be sure to indicate that you need this service before you arrive, so that the family can prepare to receive you.
3. I am traveling with a friend. We would like to stay together in the same house. Is this possible?
You can stay in the same house as your friend. Also, many host families have accommodations for couples; just let us know beforehand if this applies to you.
4. Should I come directly to the school or go to my host family’s house?
Because we like to give our students a small introduction to the school and some recommendations, we prefer that you come directly to the school. Once you are here, we will have the host family pick you up at the school.
1. How much spending cash should I budget?
If you are on a tight budget, you should be able to get by on about $25-$35 a week (staying with a host family). With that you will easily be able to participate in all the school-organized activities, buy meals on Sundays, and still have money for snacks or coffee once in a while. However, if you are someone who likes going out to coffee or bars often or if you are planning on doing a lot of travel on your own on the weekends you will need a little more than that.
2. What is the best way to get access to my money from Guatemala?
Most stores here only take quetzals in cash, but there are many banks located in Parque Central where you can withdraw money from an ATM using a debit/credit card (NOTE: We recommend bringing some method of cash withdrawal other than just a credit card, since there is a 10% service charge on every credit card transaction made in Guatemala. Debit cards do not have this charge). Banks will also cash personal and traveler´s checks. At Celas Maya you can pay your tuition in dollars, quetzals, with a credit or debit card, personal checks or traveler´s checks. Contact us for more specific information on exactly what methods of cash withdrawal you should bring and why.
3. Can someone pick me up at the airport?
If you would like someone to pick you up at the airport, please let us know beforehand. This service costs US$24, which is paid to Patricias B&B, our representative in Guatemala City. The service includes pick-up at the airport, transportation to the B&B where you can stay the night, breakfast, and transportation to the bus station. If your flight arrives before noon, you can use the pick-up service the same day without a night in the guest house for $10. They will have a sign with your name on it at the airport for easy identification. Once in Xela there will be plenty of taxis outside the bus station. Just give them the address of Celas Maya and they will take you directly there. This taxi ride should cost about Q25.
4. Where do I get off the bus?
You should wait until the bus arrives at the terminal to get off. Taxis are generally available at the bus stations. Celas Maya is at 6a calle 14-55 Zona 1, three blocks west of Parque Central.
5. What else can I do to prepare for my trip?
Once students register on our online enrollment page, we will send an information packet with everything you need to know about what to bring and how to prepare for a great trip. You can also work on your Spanish in advance by taking online lessons with us, studying via Skype face-to-face with one of our teachers. Check our website www.celasmayaonline.com
6. Do I need vaccinations for my stay in Xela?
Although no vaccinations are required to visit Guatemala, we strongly encourage you to consult your physician and visit your local travel clinic to learn about recommended vaccinations for travel in Guatemala.
Excellent information is available on the US Center for Disease Control website, http://www.cdc.gov/travel. However, please do not use this information as a substitute for consulting a physician.
Malaria is not a threat in Xela, but it is a good idea to have a few weeks worth of anti-malaria pills in case you travel to the coast or lowlands. Chloroquine or Paludrine is the recommended type in Guatemala. But again, in the areas of Guatemala City, Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Quetzaltenango and Chichicastenango, it is not necessary to use malaria medication. Only in the more tropical or coastal areas.
It is very common for foreigners to experience stomach problems while here. Even though families take precautions, you can still be sensitive to all the new bacteria. The most common problem is traveler’s diarrhea, but you can also easily pick up some friends in the form of parasites, amoebas, or other bacteria. Therefore it might not be a bad idea to come with a few anti-diarrheal pills (like Pepto Bismol), but you can also get those anywhere in Xela as well.
There is also always the risk of contracting a parasite here from the water or food you eat if it is not purified or properly cleaned. With the proper precautions, such as only drinking purified water, not eating food sold on the street in little food stands, and always washing your hands before you eat, you should be able to avoid this. However, in the event you do contract a parasite, we have an excellent bilingual doctor we work with who can give you a prescription that will clear it right up.
Please contact us if you have any other questions.