Will I have a chance to travel during the program?
Compared with the bustle of Guatemala City, La Antigua feels generally calm and quaint. La Antigua is a nice small city to explore on foot, sign up for a chocolate making class or take a small hike in the surrounding hills. There are numerous little cafes (best coffee ever!) and restaurants to enjoy during lunch breaks and in the evening. Since your weekends are free and you might like to add some time after your program for personal travel, we suggest a guided hike at a nearby volcano, relaxing at Lake Atitlan or even taking a surfing excursion to El Salvador. Ask us for suggestions!
How are the Spanish classes structured?
Choose group or private classes or a combination of both. You will learn from teachers with master's degrees and/or certification in teaching Spanish and over five years of experience. Classes focus mostly on speaking and listening but will attend to your particular goals as well. In addition to classes you'll also have the option to join English-Spanish language exchange sessions with local English learners in one-hour sessions. Host family members are usually around to help you practice during breakfast and dinner, too! What is the accommodation like?
Standard accommodation is a shared room with one or two other students/volunteers of the same sex, in the home of screened, middle-class host family (private rooms available for an additional $30/week). You will receive a key to the home and can come and go as you please. Your host family's home will either be within a 10- to 25-minute walk or a short taxi/bus ride from the school where InterExchange's partner offices are situated.
All families must partake in a formal application, vetting and interview process before becoming hosts. You'll receive your specific host family information with your arrival packet.
Hostel stays can also be arranged, or apartments for placements four weeks or longer. Please inquire for details.
Can I arrive whenever I want?
Yes, but you’ll want to be there by Sunday, which is when your host family accommodation starts, so that you’re ready to head to your orientation Monday morning. If you’d like to arrive a day or two early, just let us know and we’ll add the extra nights! Please note that there is a small additional fee for adding nights before or after your program, which covers both the accommodation and your breakfast and dinner.
Can I stay with a friend?
Yes. Please let us know in advance and we'll get you placed with the same host family.
I'm a vegetarian – will there be vegetarian food available?
Yes, host families have experience with vegetarians, but please let us know in your application so we can find you the right placement.
How will I get around in Guatemala?
Walking is a great, free option in La Antigua, but buses are also very inexpensive and support staff will provide info on using public transportation or taxis. Your host family can help you with this as well. If you'd like to organize a trip on the weekends we can help with that too!
How can I stay in touch with friends and family back home?
You'll have access to a computer room and high-speed internet at school. We recommend bringing a tablet or other personal device, as computer access can be limited during busy hours, but WiFi is available. There are also plenty of internet cafés available throughout La Antigua. Please note that you may not have WiFi at your host family's home, although many do have WiFi.
You can also purchase a local phone plan while in La Antigua.