Presenting: Hermilo Brito from the Ideal Language School in Cuernavaca – Making Spanish Learning Fun
11. Please tell us about the excursions and extracurricular activities that you offer to your students.
Every week there are planned excursions to tourist attractions and cultural places of interest. For each excursion there is a guide who explains the place and provides orientation for students, and teachers give students an introduction to the site they will be visiting before the trip.
The places we visit most often are: Mexico City (Historic District, Museum of Anthropology, Frida Khalo’s House, Xochimilco, Coyoacan), Pyramids at Teotihuacan, Taxco, Puebla, Chalma and Malinalco, Las Estacas Nature Park, Pyramids at Xochicalco, etc. For excursions lasting 2 days or more we go to Acapulco, Puebla and Tlaxcala, the Monarch Butterfly sanctuaries in Michoacan, Queretaro, etc.
We also offer the following activities:
– Private Consultation. Every day, from Monday through Thursday, students may request a private consultation, which is a 15-minute private session with a teacher to ask questions about vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, conversation, and doubts in general.
– Talks and Lectures. They are usually held at 1:00 p.m., after classes, and focus on various topics related to Mexican and Latin American culture. Subjects include Mexican history, politics, customs, relevant historical events, social and religious symbols, art, Mexican food, tourist orientation, and many others.
– Round Tables. Every week there is a round table where we discuss a topic which may be controversial and open to different interpretations: family, cultural differences, business in my country, politics in my country, corruption, etc. We know we will not resolve any of these issues or reach conclusions that will be published in specialized reviews, but we will practice Spanish in an easy-going, informal, and of course interesting setting.
– Songs in Spanish. Some people learn a language better with music, and this is a Spanish class with the best known traditional or popular songs from Mexico and the Spanish speaking world: Cielito Lindo, La Cucaracha, Eres Tu, and many more.
– Field Trips. Every week we organize a trip to a place close to IDEAL. The places we visit take little time but offer students the chance to get to know places of interest in the city or practice their Spanish and learn about Cuernavaca’s marvelous cultural and historical heritage.
– Movies in Spanish. Watching movies is a good way to practice Spanish; every week we show a movie in Spanish. Another option is to choose a film from IDEAL’s ample collection to watch any time the audiovisual room is free.
– Dance Class. There is no better way to feel at ease in Mexico than dancing; also, this class gives students the chance to meet local people, as it is also open to non-Spanish students. Students learn to dance to rhythms popular in Mexico, such as salsa and cumbia, in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.
– Mexican Cooking Classes. Learn to prepare – and above all, to enjoy – typical Mexican dishes: enchiladas, fried tacos, stuffed chili peppers, chilaquiles, Mexican style rice, pan de muerto, rosca de reyes, and many others.
– Social Coffee Hour. Every week we go out to a local restaurant or café. Accompanied by a teacher students can practice Spanish and enjoy pleasant company and stimulating conversation.
– Parties and social gatherings. Although there are planned parties and gatherings, such activities are organized spontaneously on any day of the week. These occasions offer students, teachers, and friends an opportunity to enjoy one another’s company in an informal setting.
– Spontaneous Activities. Students, teachers, and IDEAL staff members are always willing to organize activities outside their normal schedules, such as trips to the movies, concerts, local fairs or festivals, professional wrestling matches, or whatever comes to mind.
IDEAL students during our field trip to a gallery opening
12. Your school has a very pleasant family-like atmosphere. Please describe some of the activities that create this special environment.
In addition to the optional and cultural activities above described, there are details fostering the family-like atmosphere: mid-morning “Coffee Time” (La hora del café), coffee and snacks are offered to our students, The Palapas (outdoor classrooms with palm tree roofs) where classes are informally given, spontaneous activities organized by teachers and staff to make students speak the language, know the culture and enjoy Mexico take place.
Students at IDEAL know that they can reach out to anybody to get information about their stay here, or to make comments about the school or families; the important thing is to build trust and to make their studies and stay in Cuernavaca enjoyable. IDEAL is located in a contemporary colonial building, where we have aimed to provide a harmonic atmosphere.
The size of our school helps to have a family-like atmosphere; students, teachers and staff know each other, like a small group of friends. We are not like those huge schools where students are just a number; our students have a name (sometimes a nickname) and many things to share with us, and vice versa.
13. How does one earn university and college credits by studying at Ideal Latinoamerica?
It is possible to receive academic credits. IDEAL does not offer credit directly, but almost all colleges and universities grant academic credit for studies at IDEAL. Ask whether your college or university accepts studies at IDEAL and what their requisites are. Usually, inquiries should be directed to the department of admissions, foreign languages, or studies abroad.
For our part, we will be glad to help you obtain credit by sending your school any documentation it may need, such as syllabi, study plans, academic reports, transcripts, etc. We do not charge extra for doing this, but IDEAL has requisites for academic achievement and attendance that will determine your grades in Spanish.
Students of Texas State University – San Marcos, Johns Hopkins University, and Eastern Washington University, can receive credits for their studies with us due to previous agreements, ask for information before your trip to Mexico.
A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE is that we are accredited by the Mexican Ministry of Public Education (Code: SEP – 17 PBT 01451).
A birthday cake for one of IDEAL’s Japanese students
14. Where do your students come from and what kind of experience are they looking for?
Most of our students come from the USA, however, Canadians, Germans, Swiss and Japanese students are also well represented. It is not difficult to meet students from the following countries: Philippines, Vietnam, Africa, Brazil, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Israel, Japan and from many other countries.
The experience they are looking for is quite broad; many USA University and college students come to IDEAL to try new experiences and to have fun in another country while getting credits for their studies. We receive many retired French Canadians looking to improve their Spanish skills and fulfill their lives with new experiences after a lifetime of work. Europeans are very attracted to the exotic culture of Mexico, they are usually very smart speaking languages and are independent travelers, we provide them with information about how to get to interesting places to visit by themselves. Most of our Japanese students are young women experiencing life outside Japan, frequently changing their point of view about how life should be lived, and at the same time they get to see a really different culture to their own, like the Mexican culture.
Business people are an exclusive segment; they are looking to improve their language skills to be able to communicate with partners and employees in Spanish, but they are also seeking to understand our culture and its impact on their business. I appreciate your asking these questions. We say that we provide a new language, cultural knowledge, but the experiences are so important that students remember them for life.
It’s important to note that we are changing our global image from Ideal Latinoamerica to Ideal School for Spanish, including logotype, colors used, webpage etc. We invite you to visit www.ideal-school.com.
Thank you, Hermilo, for taking the time to talk to us about your language school. I had a wonderful time at IDEAL and in Cuernavaca in general and I hope to have the opportunity to visit this beautiful place and your school again. All the best to you, your team and all your students…….