Which Language School?

Dear Carl & Lorena

We are now on our third copy of the "Peoples Guide", having digested and passed on earlier editions. Hope you don't mind fielding another inquiry from Mexico novices.

In April, after retiring, we are going to Mexico for 4 to 6 months. After hitchiking from Tucson to Acapulco and back in the early 60s, we have made half a dozen trips recently traveling around Mexico by bus. We have beginners Spanish ability, and are somewhat confused about "extranjero" language schools.
We are looking for a good school (or schools) that will enable us to be more comfortable in traveling/living in country. Sessions of 4-5 weeks would be super. After a good amount of reading, including the latest edition of your super book, we are somewhat confused in picking a school. It would be preferable to find one in the bajio, Xalapa, or Oaxaca, that would have some students of our age group and objectives. Some schools sound OK from various books and/or their web sites. However, the more homework we do the more confusing it gets. Right now we are thinking of picking a city and showing up at the door of some language schools. We would really appreciate your advice and insight to help us choose.

Lorena Responds

Recently I attended 3 weeks of Spanish classes at Encuentros, in Cuernavaca. Jeannie, the director, is extremely competent and was very helpful. Most language schools will assist students with housing. Jeannie found Carl and I a place to live within hours of arriving in Cuernavaca.

As a results of years of learning a bit here and a bit there, my Spanish is a real mishmash. Jeannie designed a study program for me that improved my Spanish very rapidly. I would tease my teachers that anytime I made the same mistake three times in a row, that mistake became my next day's lesson. By the end of my three weeks, I'd even started reading Mexican newspapers. All of my teachers were women, many of them single and single mothers. We had a great time together, including regular salsa dancing lessons and local outings.

Encuentros is aimed at serious students, and professionals. It's not 'accredited", so you don't have a bunch of high school and college students down to party under the guise of studying spanish.

For more info on Encuentros <>

Cuernavaca is a fairly large city and probably isn't on you 'first choice' list, but it wasn't on mine either. Carl and I went there to do research for our latest book on living and retiring in Mexico. And to our surprise, we really enjoyed living there. Although there are quite a few gringos in Curenavaca, I seldom saw any of them, except for the couple times that we went to the English library looking for people to interview.

There is a lot of traffic in Cuernavaca, so we just parked our van and didn't take it out again until we were leaving. For getting around, we used cabs and buses. Cabs are everywhere (I've never seen so many cabs in any Mexican City) and most rides cost about $1. There is also a very good bus system.

Cuernavaca has a great central market and the liveliest plaza I've ever been to.

We left Cuernavaca reluctantly, even tho it is far too large a city for us to ever consider living in for any length of time. But when I'm ready for another round of Spanish study, I will be heading back to Cuernavaca and Encuentros
¡Que le vaya bien!

P.S. Wherever you end up studying, please let us know how it goes.

Janet & Roger wrote

Hi, Lorena,

Thanks for the advice. We've heard from Jean Andersen and believe Encuentros is for us! We won't be free from the world of work for awhile and then we need to stick stuff in storage before we can take off. It looks like mid-April will be our school start time. Would love to let you know how it goes! Any suggestions for leaving our car at or near the SanDiego/Tijuana border?

Thanks, again, for your help.

Roger & Janet....

Dear Lorena,

Several months ago, we wrote asking for your recommendation on a language school and you suggested Encuentros. We are now in our third week at this wonderful school. Thanks for the excellent advice.

Roger & Janet Dexter
©1972-2000 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens
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