Academia Colonial

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Place Category: Spanish Schools

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  • 1 Review on “Academia Colonial”

    • Sarah
      10 years ago

      I spent 3 weeks studying at Academia Colonial in July 2009. I loved my time at the school so much!! I’d highly recommend studying there. The school is much smaller than others in town, and as a result, the staff were able to provide a high level of personalized attention. I felt like my business was appreciated and there was a comfortable environment for students to discuss concerns if any were to arise. Several of my roommates were studying at larger schools and had poor experiences – among other things, they felt like they were sometimes treated like a number and not a person.

      I paid for transportation to Antigua from the Guatemala City airport through the school. The $35 was well worth it! JP, the owner of the school, picked me up. He was easy to find and had a sign with my name on it. I had been nervous about arriving at the airport and having something go wrong (no driver, no way to contact anyone, not being able to communicate well in Spanish if a problem were to arise, etc.) so I was extremely pleased that the pick-up went so well. JP was very personable, gave me recommendations about things to do and places to go during my stay, and he dropped me off right with my host family.

      On the school’s website, there is a description and several pictures of their “luxury accomodation” options. This description was extremely misleading; I booked a “luxury accomodation with private bath”, only to be placed in a tiny room in a not-so-clean house, and the bathroom (which was shared between 3 people) was outside. I am a budget traveler and have done a lot of backpacking, and I understand that living conditions in different countries can be very different than the way things are in the US. I also understand that I was in Guatemala during high season and there are many more rooms in town without a private bath. Had I been informed ahead of time that I might not have a private bathroom and that the “luxury” accomodations were few and far between, I would have been fine with that. So, if you choose to book a homestay through any other language school in Antigua, I’d recommend asking questions ahead of time to better understand the living arrangements ahead of time.

      That being said, my host family was wonderful! I felt like I had my own Guatemalan mom while I was there. She loved spending time chatting with me and the 4 other students staying in the house at the time, and she took care of me when I got sick. She had a great sense of humor and was extremely patient and helpful when it came to helping me with my Spanish. Outside of the condition of the house and the bathroom situation, I really couldn’t have asked for a better homestay experience.

      At the school, I studied with Paolo for 3 weeks, 4 hours each day. He was an incredible teacher and helped me focus on exactly the areas I needed to work on. He used many different teaching methods in our classes, which kept things interesting and enjoyable. Several other students I spoke with in town (who were attending different schools) complained that their teacher just sat and talked to them, monopolizing the conversation, for the entire time. Paolo allowed me to focus on conversation, grammar, and helped me practice until I really understood each new concept. He was incredibly patient and positive. I didn’t want our classes to end!

      On most weekdays, the school had activities planned for the students for a small fee ($8 max). I went on a walking tour around town, visited a coffee plantation, went to a small village to learn about Guatemalan traditions (my favorite trip by far!), and I took several cooking classes from Gaby, the cook. She was incredible! The activities were particularly enjoyable because we went with a small group of students as opposed to a large busload like other schools do.

      Academia Colonial is a restaurant/bar at night (“Rumbar”), and JP makes some of the best mojitos I’ve ever had! The atmosphere is relaxing, friendly, and the food and drink prices are really good. I ended up at Rumbar most nights because I liked it so much.

      In summary, I loved everything about my experience at Academia Colonial, and I wouldn’t even consider studying somewhere else if I were to return to Antigua.

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