Antigua is one of the most popular places in the world to study Spanish. I chose to study here for the same reason that I think most people do. If you Google “best place in Central America to study Spanish” Antigua is almost always number one. And it certainly doesn’t disappoint.
I studied for four hours a day five days a week, for three weeks, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I, along with four other people, lived in a house with a Guatemalan family. We would have breakfast at 7:30 each day and then head of together to school at 8. All the lesson’s were one on one, so it doesn’t matter where you are in your Spanish, you will learn something. When I first started, thanks to some time in Cuba (the first time around), I could count to five. But that was it. I couldn’t even say how are you in Spanish, and my teacher was not impressed. But by the end of the three weeks, not only could I count past five, I had learnt my Spanish grammar for the past and present, and (provided people didn’t want to discuss the future) I could actually hold a basic conversation in Spanish.
The teachers at my school made learning fun. We would play games in Spanish, that made it seem like you weren’t actually at school, even though it was actually putting vocabulary into your brain, and every Friday there would be an excursion to somewhere. The local coffee farm, a neighbouring town, it was always something different.
One of the downsides of studying here is that there is too much to do. The first week I was disciplined and always did my homework, but the second and third, I was too busy having fun with my new found friends. When class ended we would all go home to have lunch, which along with breakfast and dinner was provided for us six days a week. And then, when we all should have been studying we would go out. We took Salsa and Merengue lessons every day and spent a mountain of time in one of the many amazing coffee shops. (Refuge being my favourite) or at Luna De Miel eating crepes and playing cards. At night, we would go to a bar or a salsa club to practice our Salsa, or to open mic night at Rainbow. There is just an abundance of things to do in Antigua, that you will never get bored or have nothing to do.
One weekend we all decided to go somewhere new, so we hopped on three chicken buses, a tuk tuk and a boat and spent the weekend at a surf camp in the little known town of El Paredón.
What makes Antigua so great also is it’s one downfall for studying Spanish here. It’s a tourist town, so thanks to the multitude of American tourists that pass through here, everyone speaks English. So if you’re like me, and will only use another language when forced to, you won’t make as much progress as the people who don’t care, and use their new language every chance they get. Having said this, I wouldn’t trade my time spent here for anything. It really is one of the most amazing experiences you will ever have. I chose to study at Antigüeña Spanish Academy, but there are many good schools to choose from.
Check out my article about Studying Spanish In Cuba to see why it’s better to learn somewhere no one speaks English.