Our Programs
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On this page:
Total Immersion Learning
The Teachers of PLQE
Library Facilities
Life with a Guatemalan Family
Culture, Customs and Social Reality
Families and Groups

La Hermandad Educativa is committed to quality language instruction in a context that gives students an awareness of the social, political and economic realities of Guatemala and Central America. But your time at PLQE presents more than just a chance to take some Spanish classes in Guatemala. It presents a unique experience in itself, one which you will remember and value long after you have left the country. Many students return to the school again and again to renew the friendships they have made with the teachers and the families here.

In this section we explain what you can expect from us in terms of classes, content, method, the qualifications of the teachers, the activities the schools offer, and what living with a local family involves. Of course, if you have any further questions feel free to contact us. See also information about the individual schools.

Total Immersion Learning

La Hermandad Educativa uses the methodology of "total immersion" in language learning. Total immersion is effective at promoting rapid language acquisition, and also helps you acquire an intimate familiarity with the culture and people of Guatemala

At the PLQE in Quetzaltenango, immersion learning has four dimensions: one-on-one instruction five hours a day, during which students spend 90% of the time speaking Spanish; homestays (from Sunday to Sunday) in which students can converse with Guatemalan families; lectures and trips during which students learn about the politics and cultures of Guatemala; and a location in Quetzaltenango, which, unlike Antigua, does not cater to non-Spanish-speaking tourists, therefore presenting another opportunity for students to implement what they have learned.

At La Escuela de la Montaña, immersion consists of four hours a day of one-on-one classtime; three meals a day practice with a host family in the neighboring Spanish- and Mam-speaking rural villages of Fátima and Nuevo San Jose; lectures and visits concerning nearby projects and communities; and a full week of housing in the main school building, in which staff and faculty speak only Spanish. Note: Enrollment at La Escuela de La Montaña is limited to ten students per week. Advance reservations are strongly encouraged.

During your first day of class at the PLQE or La Escuela de la Montaña, your teacher will assess your Spanish language ability with a written examination and personal interview. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, your teacher will be able to choose appropriate materials and techniques for your language level, and draw up a class plan for the week. Your week´s activities will combine grammar learning, conversation, vocabulary building, and pratice in reading and writing. Your teacher will also assign daily homework; students benefit considerably by praticing what they have learned by themselves or in groups.

Upon request, the Hermandad will adminster a written examination that the student may used to acquire university credit. The Hermandad can also help arrange university credit through travel/study academic credit programs. The school in Quetzaltenango is accredited by the Guatemalan Ministry of Education and the Guatemalan Institute of Tourism.

The Teachers of PLQE

At the PLQE in Quetzaltenango, both collective members (teachers and staff with administrative and management responsibilities) and teachers are university graduates, current university students, or university tutors. All teachers in the Hermandad have training and experience in teaching Spanish as a second language. Their interests and backgrounds are varied, but all share a common vision of social justice, sustainable development, and peace in Guatemala.

Teachers can also adapt the classes to most special needs that students have; in addition, teachers can dedicate classtime to any materials you bring to class.Students and teachers do not have to spend all their classtime within the school premises; we encourage students and teachers to go to cafes or visit local places of interest with their teachers if they wish. This can be a good way of engaging in conversation in a more relaxed setting and thus provide a good opportunity to get to know your teacher better. However, we ask that you pay your teacher's way during such trips.

Library Facilities

The PLQE in Quetzaltenango has an extensive collection of textbooks and dictionaries, Our library includes over 1000 fiction and non-fiction books in Spanish, English and other languages about Guatemala, Latin America, human rights, and more. The library also includes a video collection with over 100 films and documentaries in Spanish and English. Students can make use of the library and borrow materials as long as they are at the school.

La Escuela de la Montaña has a library of more than 800 volumes, including dictionaries, textbooks, fiction and nonfiction about Guatemala and Latina America in English and Spanish, as well as English-language novels.

At PLQE, we also offer Internet service to our students for free in our Internet cafe.

Life with a Guatemalan Family

Students at PLQE are encouraged to immerse themselves completely in the culture of Guatemala by living with local Guatemalan families while they study. However, homestays are not obligatory and students are free to arrange alternative accommodation.

At La Escuela de la Montaña, students eat three meals a day with a local family, but sleep in the communal schoolhouse, which formerly belonged to the owner of the coffee farm in its earlier incarnation.

Your experiences with a Guatemalan family allows you to benefit from total immersion, since you will be practising your Spanish in conversation at meal times three times a day, and other occasions during the day and evening. We expressly ask that the families correct the Spanish of the students they host, so as to advance the process of language acquisition. Unlike many other Spanish schools, La Hermandad places only one student in each home to ensure that only Spanish is spoken in the house. (Note: families and couples can be housed together if requested.)

The tuition fee includes a private room and three meals per day, from Sunday through Sunday.

Culture, Customs and Social Reality

In addition to five hours daily of one-on-one intensive language instruction, students learn about Guatemalan culture, customs, history and social reality through daily activities which include social, political and cultural conferences, educational films, visits to rural communities and ex-guerrilla encampments, and meetings with local community organizations.

Our extensive contacts with different organisations and individuals allow the school to present conferences on themes such as the role of women in the armed conflict, the process of reincorporation into civil society in Guatemala, the symbolism and history Mayan textiles, the role of trade unions in Guatemala, and much more.

Visits outside the school take place twice a week and mix pleasure and education. One trip might feature Fuentes Georginas, a beautiful set of volcanic hotsprings and pools located in a rainforest above Xela; the following visit might feature an educational project or community radio station outside of Xela. Saturdays offer time for a longer journey, such as climbing the nearby Santa Maria volcano, working with a group of K'iche' youths on the Hermandad-supported environmental project, visiting some Mayan ruins, or hiking to an ex-guerrilla encampment. The school's guide for these journeys is a Guatemalteco who spent over 10 years in the mountains fighting as a guerrilla with the URNG. The cost of tuition covers most activity costs, but you will often need to cover transportation costs, meals, entrance fees, and accomodation costs when necessary for trips outside of Quetzaltenango.

The incomparable beauty of Lago Atitlan, an easy weekend trip from Xela.

Families and Groups

The PLQE in Quetzaltenango has years of experience teaching children as young as four, and accommodating families. With advance notice and an extra fee, the school will arrange childcare for toddlers. Special information regarding family groups is available through the North American and European reservation offices. Families are welcome at the Escuela de la Montaña as well. The teachers there have taught children and young people of all ages. However, childcare can be arranged for youngsters who do not study formally. Additionally, there are over 100 potential friends in the communities of Nuevo San José and Fátima who can teach the intricacies of using slingshots in the coffee fields, making beautiful kites out old plastic bags, and preparing mud-tamales (instead of mud-pies).

Five-year-old Wilf Pope spent hours playing with his new best friends Tito and Luis.

Next door to PLQ we have the Luis Cardoza y Aragon Popular Center.
This center provides classes in art, music, computer programs and English to children of Quetzaltenango...
Proyecto Reforestación de Cantel
Many hands have left a caring imprint on that small piece of land near Cantel, and already the effects are evident...
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