Na'atik Language and Culture Institute

Program Reviews

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Hassan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

We value the experiences travel, learning about different cultures and languages bring to our lives. As a result of that priority for us and our kids, we enrolled them in the online Spanish program at Na'atik. They have weekly sessions with Jose, a native Spanish speaker, they discuss soccer, food, travel experiences, more soccer etc.. It is super fun to see their Spanish skills improve through active conversation over the internet (visual and audio), which is perfect as we are hunkered down in the pandemic. Our kids were not very excited about this new activity at first, but now enjoy the sessions with Jose as they can sense that their Spanish is improving weekly, and the method is not a traditional learning method like a classroom would be, rather it is much more aligned with how I learned different languages....immersion. The program is super affordable and fun-highly recommended.

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing-it is fantastic! I would actually consider offering different platforms such as Zoom so that people can participate from different locations or may be more familiar with another platform, such as Skype. Google Hangouts, the current platform, works well and is easy to adapt to. I'm a Zoom guy :).
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Brittany
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Like so many people I have been quarantined and out of work due to the corona virus. I decided it would be a good idea to do something useful with this extra time and I knew just who to contact. About two years ago, I traveled to Mexico to study at Na’atik for two weeks. It was an incredible, life changing experience. Thankfully, Na'atik offers online classes. I decided to give them a try.
I was paired with my teacher, Cesar, who is amazing. The classes are fun and personalized to my level and my learning speed. We talk about interesting things while learning how to use the language. It has been a fantastic experience overall. So, fantastic, in fact, that I have re-enrolled and will continue to do so.
My hope is to return to Na'atik in person someday when travel is safe again. But, for now, I am happy that Na'atik is offering these incredible online classes.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I always get nervous before a class because speaking and listening in a language besides English brings me some stress. I am a perfectionist and knowing going in to something that I am going to make mistakes is difficult. But, Cesar is always incredibly supportive and creates and atmosphere in which I can make mistakes and keep learning.
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kerri
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I love my Spanish classes with Osmar. It feels like I am transported to Mexico every Wednesday evening, as we chat in Spanish and I can hear the birds in the background! A nice escape from rainy days in England :) I didn't want to learn to read or write in Spanish or have homework (my day job is quite intense), so I asked if we can stick chatting regularly to keep up my practice. I was grateful that Osmar was happy with this and every week we talked about big topics like the latest news (including Covid), politics, global warming, sustainable tourism and the environment. In just ten weeks of chatting, Osmar taught me how to use the different types of past tense (hurrah!) and at the end of each class he gives me pointers on what to correct and useful resources to practice more. 100% recommend picking up classes - so much fun and so good to escape the everyday rhythm of life with a taste of Mexico.

What was your funniest moment?
When Osmar and I both 'woop wooped' because I finally used the past tense properly!!
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Molly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My weekly Spanish class was everything I hoped it would be. I already have a strong Spanish foundation, and I wanted to brush up on my skills since I don't have opportunities to speak Spanish in my daily life. Na'atik and Maestro Pedro customized a conversation-based class that was perfect for me and my goals. Meeting via ZOOM was surprisingly easy, and Pedro made sure to create an encouraging learning environment where I felt comfortable making mistakes and learning new things. No matter what your level of Spanish, your Na'atik teacher will boost your confidence as well as offer you new challenges and areas of growth.

The fact that a percentage of my class fees went directly to providing English classes for the local Na'atik community was a special bonus. Na'atik will forever hold a special place in my heart.

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Theo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I traveled alone at the start of 2018 as a 15 year old male. I had gone to Na'atik once when I was 12 with my family, but I did not remember that much and I had never traveled alone to a foreign country. I was nervous at first but as soon as I met my guide at the bus terminal my fears dissipated. Ananias, my guide, took me to Catherine and Simon, who were in charge of my activities, and they took me to my home stay family. My family was very kind to me and they food they cooked was delicious. Once I was there, I never felt nervous and Catherine and Simon did a wonderful job taking care of me. Pedro, my Spanish teacher helped me improve my Spanish grammar and vocabulary and my family really helped me improve my overall fluency. I take Spanish in school but I can't practice like this. I also became more confident when I talked. Despite the fact that it rained for the first week, I loved the trip. This program was wonderful and I would recommend it to any looking for a way to immerse themselves in the Spanish language and improve their fluency.

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Becky
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I stayed for 5 weeks and loved every part of it - I wish I never had to leave! I already had a decent Spanish base before going, so the classroom portion for me was mostly practicing conversation and comprehension. Staying with a host family was my favorite part of the trip. I feel like I got to know them very well and loved how they involved me in all of their normal daily and weekend activities. My Spanish definitely improved throughout this time, although I don't think I realized it until I came back home. I cannot recommend Na'atik and their study abroad program highly enough. Do it! You won't regret it.

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Deborah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My week of study at Na’atik and living with a host family was amazing, actually transformational. The small (3) class size, the experience of the teacher (Pedro) and the overall Na’atik experience exceeded my expectations in every regard. Our host family, Doña Fernanda and Don Modesto May, were lovely people, who were eager to know me and the friend who also stayed in their home. The simplicity of our housing surprised me initially, but it came to feel like “home” by the end of the week. The people of Carrillo Puerto are humble, hard-working people who were friendly and helpful. As far as I know, the 9 of us at the school this particular were the only Americans in the entire town- which meant that we stood out. It also gave us a great opportunity to speak to many different people, in stores, restaurants, and in the street. Carrillo is a quiet place, with not a lot going on socially, yet I had the feeling that if I had had more energy in the evenings, I could have found more of a social life. Overall, it was a wonderful experience!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would change is sending the Orientation package out earlier to participants, to give us a clearer idea of what the entire experience will be like. I hope to be able to return with my husband soon.
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Karen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My companion and I spent 2 weeks at Na'atik in Phillipe Carillo Puerto Mexico. It was an amazing experience. From the information we received prior to the trip to the communication and support we received as we were traveling to the program to the wonderful staff and students, it was a thoroughly delightful and enriching experience. I could not have imagined how comfortable I would be bicycling around a small city, visiting local shops and restaurants and using my Spanish as I acquired it.
The school staff were so welcoming and conscientious that I was completely comfortable, and my host family was very experienced and made every effort to help me with my language skills. I greatly admired my patient teacher who "endured" 4 hours a day of Spanish conversation with me
as I learned and used my newly acquired Spanish. I was the only one in my class as my skills fell just above very beginning and below those accomplished conversationalists. I appreciated the care that was taken in placing me just at my level.
There were two field trips planned, one to a Mayan medicinal plant forest and one for kayaking and swimming. We also took a trip to Tulum (one hour) and to the beach town of Mahuhual on our own. Bus transportation is very convenient.
We will be returning next year.

What would you improve about this program?
Because I am a visual learner, I would have liked a workbook with vocabulary and phrases in it.
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Maddie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent the month of July in Carrillo and had one of the best experiences ever. The classes were great, they were super small so I felt like I got plenty of attention. My host family was great. It was good practice to have to talk to them in Spanish and the food they made was amazing. I felt very safe in Carrillo, even as a 16 year old girl by myself, and had a great time exploring other cities nearby on the weekends. I would definitely recommend this program.

Renee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

For a short review: I had a week to spare between semesters and I'm so glad I picked Na'atik as my program. It exceeded my expectations and I left learning so much about the language, culture, history, and the wonderful people that live there!

Academics:
Prior to Na'atik the only Spanish I knew was the little bit I picked up from Duolingo and that sort. Edwin was my teacher and he was very patient with me. Our 4 hour classes were very interactive and I was lucky enough to have picked a convenient week that allowed us to explore the community during class hours to gain real life experiences outside the classroom. We hit subject after subject in just a week and I learned so much more than I expected from vocabulary, confidence, to culture.

Support:
The school is 100% there for you. I think after every class I hung around the school to chat up with the English teachers, site coordinator and the owner. We went out for dinner, we went to a lagoon, we kept in touch through messages and I always knew who to go to with questions or concerns. I have so much love and appreciation for my host family. My host parents sat with me everyday after meals to help me practice my Spanish. Even though I was a total beginner in the language, they never stopped and they gave me just enough vocabulary so I can keep up.

Safety:
I'm 19, petite, and hadn't traveled much ever, so I had my concerns about flying into Mexico and navigating my way to the town on my own, but it was so, so easy. The bus ride from the airport to the town was my biggest concern, but there was absolutely no need to worry. The town itself is very welcoming. Everybody smiles and says hello, and when I practiced my very broken Spanish to people in the community they were so nice to me.