I am in the process of looking for a spanish school for this winter when I will be traveling to the Yucatán Peninsula.
I had meant to write something on here about my last trip to Mexico when we went to Veracruz.
We stayed at the Veracruz Spanish Immersion School. Well, actually because we were there during their most busy week and we requested an odd schedule they put us up in one of their other houses, which was a short bus ride (or walk) from the school.
The school is run by an American couple, who I think have setup a great program in Veracruz. They meet you at the airport to make sure you arrive without issue. Our rooms were nice, and all the rooms had A/C, which was extremely important as it was the hight of the summer. Wireless internet access turned out to be equally important as some things with one of my clients meant that I needed to have internet access from my laptop to assist them, and I was able to do this without problem.
We met a lot of interesting people who were staying at the school. I think probably the idea of language immersion programs might bring out some slightly odd people, and there were some for sure :), but we met a lot of nice people and spent a good amount of time hanging out with them.
The instructors were mostly in their early 20s. Based on talking with some of the other students who had been doing these immersion programs for a while, it seemed like that might be different from most other programs, where older more experienced instructors were used, but I thought it was great. I enjoyed talking with all our teachers, and they were all immensely friendly and helpful.
All the instructors and students ate breakfast and lunch together, which gave you a chance to meet some of the other students/instructors that you might not have in your classes. They also have one of the instructors during non-lesson hours from 5am to 9pm in the common area/living room. This is a great idea, because if nothing is going on you can go hang out and practice your spanish, or just listen to others if you don’t feel like talking.
The other thing they do, which is a really great idea, is that for 2 hours a day you go out on the town with one of the instructors. You can use this time to practice your spanish, to learn about the city, to learn the bus system, to see sites, or in our case, to go find out how we can buy tickets for the upcoming futbol game between Cruz Azul and Los Tiberones Rojos.
One day a week is a day long trip to one of a number of destinations. This is when we went to see some ruins. We walked into the local town for lunch, and walked across a suspension bridge. It was fun.
Veracruz was a nice place. Safety was not an issue during our trip. We were our walking around the city past midnight, and it was no big deal. The buses that run up and down the main road were really easy to use and we took them several times a day to get all over the place.
The only problems we had were that I got sick (sore throat/cold) and then near then end of our trip got “sick” (montezuma’s revenge!). I probably had some bad ice somewhere. Next time I’ll bring some medicine in case that happens. But overall, it wasn’t that big of a deal.
We have a few other places we would like to visit, but I would definitely go back. We had fun and I think we learned a lot even though we were only there for a week.