I write in the last week of my month here in Xela. Although it is sad to be soon departing, I believe a few memories will depict the reasons for my strong recommendation for Spanish instruction at Celas Maya.
In my first week, I remember looking into the central garden during my one-on-one lesson in Spanish. I entered Guatemala with a working conversational proficiency in Spanish, but the one-on-one instruction provided an opportunity to expand on that. With reference to the memory of the garden, I would say that the beautiful setting around which students and instructors work on individual tables amplifies this opportunity as - it is all too often forgotten - the location and environment in which one learns are critical. Celas Maya's facilities are unparalleled in this regard, and Quetzaltenango provides the perfect background city in which to learn.
I also remember the challenge of explaining medical concepts in Spanish with my instructor through Celas Maya's medical Spanish track. As a medical student, it is important I learn to communicate effectively with my patients in Spanish. Celas Mayas' incorporation of medical Spanish into one-on-one lessons and medical simulations is an excellent way to do this. If I am able to relate better to my Spanish-speaking patients in the future, it will be in large part because of this element of Celas Mayas' curriculum.
A final thing to mention are the special activities optional to students in afternoons and weekends. They coordinate and manage these activities - including trips to local hot springs (Fuentes Georginas, hiking trips to volcanoes, beach trips, etc.) in an easy-to-navigate way, making exploring Xela and surrounding departments simple. Expanding on this, Celas Maya creates an environment in which meeting people from around the world happens every day, forming yet another enriching aspect of the program.
A few simple memories and pictures cannot do justice to my high regard for Celas Maya, but hopefully they have at least whet your appetite.