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cebpears
4/23/2022 13:23 EST

Are the Central American countries stable at this time? I am considering Panjachel as a starting place for my Spanish immersion adventure. Is this a good choice? Why or why not?
Thanks,
cebpears

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FrancescaW
4/25/2022 12:45 EST

My suggestion is to start in Xela. Do at least one week, 2 better! Then once you have your grounding, then you can try something a little more rural as you put it, but the reality is. Perhaps some voluntary work somewhere. Cuidad Vieja is basically now a suburb of Antigua!
www.idealist.org has lots of voluntary opportunities for you to practice your Spanish. Facebook is used a great deal by foreigners and guatemalans here too. There are some very useful community groups, including an NGO group and expat group.
At the Lake for example you could choose a town like San Lucas Toliman which has hardly any foreigners living there. But transport getting too and from there to other parts of the lake can be an issue!
Best is to explore for ourself. Perhaps even go up to Coban or Lanquin, or Flores/Sta Helena! HueHue.....spoilt for choice!!
Good Luck!

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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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cebpears
4/25/2022 12:09 EST

Thank you so much for your advice Francesca. I had just finished a little research on Xela and realized it would be a less expensive living option. I was really interested in something a little more rural and found Ciudad Vieja. Do you know anything about it? I really appreciate the total immersion aspects that you pointed out and already knew to stay away from tourist dominated areas. I was hoping Panjachel would not be that way but after more research decided it was more tourist focused than other locations on the lake.

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FrancescaW
4/23/2022 19:18 EST

Guatemala is a great option for learning Spanish and about Mayan history and it's vibrant and colourful living culture.
However, if youbreally qish to immerse and learn Spanish a tourist destination like Lake Atitlan or Antigua is not a great idea. You will be much better off in Quetzaltenango or Xela as everyone knows it. Great city, 2nd after Guate City. Full of excellent schools with volunteer organisations to practice. 1 ton1 classes for 4 or 5 hours live with a local family. I did this for 2 weeks over 20 years ago and was the best foundation I could have asked for. Met so many interesting people I am still in touch w and many great organisations. Check out xelapages, Facebook Xela community page and another gt resource called something Mundo, but always forget the name. But Xela is where u want to start for sure.
Buena Suerte!

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Learn what members have to say about living in Guatemala.

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