An Unforgettable Experience

Sophie walking with our host family down the street of an artisan market.
Sophie with our host family

Coming up you are going to hear interviews I conducted while working with the San Pedro Spanish School in San Pedro, Guatemala. My 16-year-old niece, Sophie, and I spent two weeks there in August 2016. I highly recommend the San Pedro Spanish School for those interested in a Spanish Immersion experience. My friends who work in medical interpreting recommended the school, and we were not disappointed.

First of all, the setting is ideal. San Pedro is located on the amazingly beautiful Lago Atitlán, within the Sierra Madre Mountain Range of Guatemala. We often took lanchas (boats) across the lake to explore and visit nearby towns. My teenage niece loved San Pedro just as much as I did. It’s a relatively small town, muy tranquilo. People in town told us the population was around 18,000 but based on my internet search, it might be smaller, and it definitely feels smaller. We mostly got around town comfortably by foot, and occasionally used a tuk-tuk, a 3 wheeled motorized Guatemalan taxi. The tuk-tuks provided a thrilling ride through town, and often a cheerful chat with the chofer. On the streets, you hear a mix of Spanish and the mayan language Tz’utujil. The people are friendly often exchanging saludos as you walk by. Many of the women are in traditional Mayan dress, so that beautiful, embroidered fabrics surround you wherever you go. At San Pedro Spanish School, we studied in the tranquil garden or in palapas overlooking the blue waters of Lago Atitlán with the breath-taking mountains as the backdrop. You will notice the songs of tropical birds during the interviews recorded at the school. While I worked on podcasts with my Spanish teacher, Javier, my niece studied Spanish too. Her instructor was creative. Their lessons often included walks through town, comparing life in San Pedro to life in Minneapolis. San Pedro Spanish School arranged our homestay, which in my opinion, was the highlight of our trip. We ate 3 meals a day with the family, and they included us in their day to day activities. We took part in the youngest son’s birthday party, on the weekend, we went to the beach together and then shopping San Juan, a neighboring town, and our host mother showed us how to make an authentic Guatemalan meal of pipián y

At San Pedro Spanish School, we studied in the tranquil garden or under palapas overlooking the blue waters of Lago Atitlán with the breath-taking mountains as the backdrop. You will notice the songs of tropical birds during the interviews recorded at the school. While I worked on podcasts with my Spanish teacher, Javier, my niece studied Spanish too. Her instructor was creative. Their lessons often included walks through town, comparing life in San Pedro to life in Minneapolis. San Pedro Spanish School arranged our homestay, which in my opinion, was the highlight of our trip. We ate 3 meals a day with the family, and they included us in their day to day activities. We took part in the youngest son’s birthday party, on the weekend, we went to the beach together and then shopping San Juan, a neighboring town, and our host mother showed us how to make an authentic Guatemalan meal of pipián y

San Pedro Spanish School arranged our homestay, which in my opinion, was the highlight of our trip. We ate 3 meals a day with the family, and they included us in their day to day activities. We took part in the youngest son’s birthday party, on the weekend, we went to the beach together and then shopping San Juan, a neighboring town, and our host mother showed us how to make an authentic Guatemalan meal of pipián y tomalitos de chipilín. And I have to admit, it was the best pipián I’ve ever had.

Janvier and I working on a podcast at the San Pedro Spanish School
Janvier and I working at the San Pedro Spanish School

Before I publish my first podcast, I would like to introduce my Spanish instructor at the San Pedro Spanish School, Javier Mendez. Javier helped me coordinate the interviews and collaborated with me on the phrase review podcasts, which will be part of the premium series. Up next, a brief introduction Javier and I recorded from San Pedro, Guatemala.

To learn more about the school, go to studyspanishinguatemala.com. You can see pictures of our trip on Facebook.

Listen to podcasts from Guatemala

Interview with Letty About Chikungunya & Zika
Interview with Francisco, a Curadero
Interview with Ester, a Comadrona

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