Below is a collection of information that has proved useful to students in the past. Although this page is entitled ‘Information for New Students’, we hope that some of the information will be helpful to our returning students as well.
Teachers are assigned to each client by the school. Teachers may be changed as often as liked upon request, and the wishes of the student for a particular teacher are taken into consideration. There is no general entitlement to be taught by the desired person, however and requests for change must be made at least one day in advance, for a change in teacher the following week.
Home stays, teacher stays and student houses as well as school rooms and apartments are assigned to each client by the school. These lodging types may be changed as often as liked upon request and the wishes of the student for a particular home or accommodation are taken into consideration. There is no general entitlement to stay in the desired type of lodging. Requests for change must be made at least one day in advance, for change the following week.
Centro Linguistico Internacional
Callejón del Burrito El Injertal #7
Guatemala, Centro America.
Telephone: (+502) 7832-1039
Facsimile: (+502) 7832-1039
Cellular: (+502) 53883 625 - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
From the United States you must first dial 011! Keep in mind time changes (we are generally GMT-0600), so please only call during odd hours during an emergency.
Postal code: 03001
GIFTS for families
In general it is always advisable to bring a gift for your family. Some ideas for gifts include tablecloths, pictures and pretty much anything having to do with your place of residence. However, it is highly inappropriate to give money directly to the families, and we suggest that alcohol not be given.
INTERNET CAFE HOURS
Internet cafe hours at the school are 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm Saturdays, and 10:00 a, to 5:00 pm Sundays, although sometimes it is open longer. The café is closed on holidays. All students can use, and there is hookup for personal laptops (there is cable access in the apartments at the school and wireless access in the school's internet cafe).
We now have wireless Internet in Guatemala. It is sometimes only on during Internet cafe hours, so people in the apartments need to hook their laptops to the cable after hours (they still have 24 hours access, just sometimes not with wireless).
MEALS AT THE SCHOOL
This option is available for our students who stay in our apartments and rooms at the school. The price is $30 for breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday. Vegetarian and special dietary requests are available at request.
SCHOOL OFFICE HOURS
Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m
UNIVERSIDAD RURAL LINKS
The main page for Rural: http://www.urural.edu.gt/
The part on their web site that deals with credit:
There are several ATMs throughout the central plaza in Antigua. Any extra fees depend on the cardholder's card company. The fees are low, there are many ATMs and students use them very often. The ATMs only dispense quetzals. The exchange rate received is only slightly lower than exchanging cash at the bank. The difference is so slight, that most students do not mind doing it. Make sure you’re ATM card will work internationally before you leave, and that you have a 4-digit PIN.
PAYING in EURO
We cannot accept Euro; the banks give a bad exchange rate as well. So it is better to convert the Euros to dollars in Europe. There is probably a 3% conversion, then from dollars to Quetzals another 3%, but in Guatemala Euros to Quetzals is probably an 8-12% conversion rate, and few banks offer Euro exchange.
PROBLEMS WITH PAYPAL
If you encounter problems with Pay Pal, we can send you another request for payment. Hopefully this works. If not, please let us know. Sometimes when students have bills in the thousands of dollars, we have to break the payment into multiple money requests and in smaller amounts. If you do not already have a Pay Pal account and the link in the request we sent you still does not work, you can simply go to paypal.com, sign up for an account, and then send money that way. If such is the case, we would then cancel the requests we already sent you.
PROBLEMS WITH BANK TRANSFERS
Please, email us confirmation of payment, along with details as soon as you have sent the money. Please include: the name of bank, the date and the amount of transfer. It is also extremely helpful if you include the name of the account which sent the money – sometimes it is different than the reservation name and we need to search to find out who sent us the money. In case the money is not received, you are ultimately responsible for paying the bill.
We accept traveler's checks; local banks do as well and one bank does not charge commission. Please note that banks in Antigua only take traveler’s checks in US denominations, and only checks in amounts of $100 or less (i.e. no $500 checks).
Tipping is NOT required, although greatly appreciated. You may tip the driver, maid, or cleaner directly. If you decide to tip, the amount is up to you. As we often have inquiries asking about the proper amount to tip, we suggest:
for the driver: 10-20 Q ($1-$3) per person
for the maid: 20-40 Q ($3-$6) per week, per room/apartment (for lodging at the school)
for the cook: 30-50 Q ($4-$7) per week, if meals are taken at the school
CONFIRMATION OF AIRPORT PICK-UP
The office sends out an email 24 – 48 hours before each student’s arrival confirming their pick-up and arrival (only upon request). The information contained in this email includes whether there is airport pick-up and whether the student will be dropped off at the school or other place of lodging as well as a contact number to call in case of emergency.
HOME STAY ADDRESSES FOR STUDENTS
We know which families we will be using for the following week on Thursdays in the afternoon, because every Thursday morning the administration staff asks all the students if they would like to change their place of lodging. By the afternoon, the staff has a good idea which families will be available for the following week. In general, we do not give the family addresses out before we send out our final pick-up confirmation. In Guatemala ALL families are independent contractors and some students change their departure dates and lodging during the week. Therefore, we do not know until 3-4 days before a student’s arrival in which home they will stay.
If you MISS YOUR FLIGHT to Antigua
If you are unable to make your flight and you have requested a pickup, please notify us IMMEDIATELY. If the driver goes for a pick-up, we must pay them. We will therefore ask you to send $30.00 (we will send a request to you via email) via Pay Pal. If you are on a later flight, or coming to us at a later time, we can take care of the additional costs then.
BEGINNERS - progress
Beginners are very often concerned as to what their progress rate is. First of all, it can be a lot dealing with a new language. What is accomplished during a lesson depends upon many factors, including what needs the student has in learning the language, dedication of the student, hours studied per day, etc. For a description of a typical week, you can see the "Method" and "Plan of Study" portions on our web site, but basically for all students there are a series of speaking and listening exercises combined with a more limited number of writing and reading (again, it depends on the students learning needs, but we tend to focus on conversation). A beginner quickly learns a wide range of common vocabulary, situation phrases, and some basic grammatical concepts, such as the formation of sentences, uses of the different verbs, formation of the plural, and asking questions.
Most beginners take 5-8 hours per day, although 4 are possible. Students generally study 8 am to noon, then a few hours in the afternoons. There are daily activities that we encourage our students to go on.
Arranging a home stay with a local family with children is not a problem, provided we have some kind of advanced notice (a week or two before is not advisable for the summer time - please try to let us know more than two weeks before arrival). Students often travel on the weekends, or if they stay in town, walk and explore the various shops in town, hang out in the park, study, or relax at the school. On Sundays students eat in town at any of the many fine restaurants or cafes. Many times students will get together for this. There is even a McDonalds, Burger King, and Dominos for those so inclined for a taste of home.
More than likely we will have children or young people attending our school. In summer, our enrollment gets to about 60-90, of which 5-10 are children under the age of 18. There are also young people in town, Guatemalans of course, but also foreigners.
Regarding safety, Antigua is a very safe town, even for children and young people. It really depends on the child’s responsibility and maturity level, which only a parent can determine. Generally, if children go out during the daytime, they will not encounter any problems. Also, if the child goes out at night, they should go with somebody else – preferably an older adult. This is not to say there are problems at night, but sending a young person out anywhere, in any country, at night is generally not 100% safe. If a student is unaccompanied by an adult, it would be best to have a ‘guardian’ made available to the child/young adult. Among our students, there have been few reported problems in the past – these problems were encountered late in the evening or on tours with no tour guide. Although no former student was physically harmed, money and goods were stolen. For other information on security in Guatemala go to:
For minors coming to the school - they need written permission – a letter stating that you are his/her parent or legal guardian, having his/her permission to attend CLI as well as giving us permission to secure lodging for him/her. Include the date and your contact information. We are not using a form any longer, so just a note with parent’s signature is fine.
Most minors under 18 traveling with valid passports need no special permission from their parents to enter or leave Guatemala. However, most citizens will need a visa for a stay longer than 90 days - that period can be extended for an additional 180 days upon application to Guatemalan immigration, which can be done right in Antigua. Recently, in an attempt to stay longer than 90 or 180 days, some foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, have obtained false or fraudulent immigration stamps in their passports showing they left and re-entered Guatemala. Immigration officials have detained and fined several such individuals.
For medical insurance with US insurance carriers: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations. When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure,
Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad,
available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page
or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
For non-US insurance carriers:
check with your own government/insurance carrier. There are a few international carriers which will give short-term medical coverage for travelers. While we do not recommend any specific company, there are a few links to help you get started:
http://www.cdc.gov/travel/camerica.htm (innoculation information)