Spanish Immersion in Mexico
Merida, Yucatan: A Charming City to Study Spanish
Love Spanish-colonial architecture? How about swaying palm trees in the tropics? You may find that the city of Merida on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is the most delightful place to study Spanish. My husband, Kurt, and I certainly thought so.
photo credit: wikimedia commons
A Blissful Two Weeks in Colonial Merida
A Magical Place
If you have ever wanted to explore a beautiful, tropical locale while learning Spanish, Mexico's Yucatan may be your best choice.
I suggest Merida, the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatan. Merida is only four-hours by first-class bus from the resort beaches of Cancun.
Merida is a colonial city, one of the the oldest in the Americas, and is considered the safest city in Mexico -- a point the U.S. State Department failed to mention in their April, 2010 warning against travel to Mexico. The Spanish in Merida is considered pure and lacks the heavy regional accents found in other Mexican locales.
My husband, Kurt, and I recently attended The Spanish Institute of Merida for two weeks of one-on-one instruction. I can not say enough good things about the experience. Here's a quick overview of a typical day:
1. Wake up in my private, air-conditioned room with its en-suite bathroom. Eat a hearty, Mexican-Caribbean breakfast prepared by the mother of my host family. Chat in Spanish with my host mother.
2. Walk to the bus stop to meet Kurt and take the fifteen-minute ride to the school. (We chose to stay with different families.)
3. Enjoy four hours of one-on-one language study with mi maestra (my teacher). Sometimes we'd walk to a nearby cafe to practice conversation skills over a cup of coffee. By the second day of classes, my teacher had my learning style figured out -- I'm a visual learner and she accurately pinpointed my strengths and weaknesses. And in one sentence she described the bedeviling Subjunctive Mode in a way that cleared a lifetime of cobwebs from my head -- I now crave every chance I get to practice the subjunctive. (In a nutshell, a subjunctive verb is used when doubt or uncertainty exisits within a sentence. Since the subjunctive is rarely used in English, its common use in Spanish poses a learning challenge.)
4. Break for lunch with our fellow students and "headmaster" for lack of a better word; the conversation was maintained in Spanish and the topics fascinating. Most meals were taken at Don Pepe's, an authentic Yucatecan restaurant located within the actual home of Don Pepe. As I chowed down, I could see within a roped-off area Don Pepe's living room, complete with sofa and TV.
5. A two-hour, one-on-one conversation with my guia, or guide, whose job was to correct my spoken Spanish as we visited museums and any other places of interest within walking distance of the school.
6. A return trip on the city bus and a refreshing swim before more fun and enlightening conversations in Spanish with members of our host families.
In short, we enjoyed our two blissful weeks in magical Merida. We can't wait to go back!
Spanish Institute of Merida - my recommended school
When Kurt and I studied in Merida, we attended the Spanish Institute of Merida. Check out their link.
- Spanish Institute of Merida
Come on down to Merida. So close to Mayan civilization, the resorts of Cancun and Cozumel and so much more.
This is Yucatan - Music to Dance the Night Away
I LOVE this video. Catchy music. A colorful slide-show of fascinating places found in the Mexican state of Yucatan. Enjoy! And if you love the music as much as I did, scroll down to buy your very own copy of La Maravilla.!
Spanish language Tips - How I improved my Spanish Skills
There are numerous way to learn Spanish fast. Consider incorporating the method featured here in addition to your Spanish immersion program.
- Duolingo | Learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian and English for free
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- Learn Spanish Fast: Watch a Telenovela
Telenovelas? Of course! Telenovelas -- or soap operas -- are my favorite way. I especially enjoy those from Mexico. Hecho en Mexico!
Spanish Study Tools from Amazon
Spanish Immersion Poll - Mexico or Somewhere Else?
Pictured is the main cathedral in Merida, Mexico, Yucatan.
(photo courtesy of wikimedia commons)