FAQS - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
In this section, we hope that you can find the answers to your questions by taking a look at some of the Spanish language school's most frequently asked questions. If you still do not find the information you are looking for, please feel free to email the Spanish language school's director, Brian Vander Kooy at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of El Instituto's year round residents, Alakai
With so many internet scams out there, how can I be assured that Instituto de Lenguajes Puerto Escondido is a legitimate business or even exists?
Start searching around on the internet for other sites and in other resources about Puerto Escondido. Instituto de Lenguajes Puerto Escondido is listed in The Lonely Planet's guides to "Mexico" and "The Pacific Coast of Mexico." You can find Instituto de Lenguajes Puerto Escondido on tomzap.com and other websites about Puerto Escondido. You could contact any of the local hotels or property managers that you may find on the internet. There sure to have heard about Instituto de Lenguajes Puerto Escondido and can testify to our reputation as a top quality institution. You can contact any of the students on the Students' Comments. page of our website. If ultimately you are not satisfied, don't send us a deposit and just show up, we'll be glad to do our best to make arrangements upon your arrival in Puerto.
What are my options for accomodations? I'm on a budget.
There are a variety of options available. The first one is a regular homestay with a local family. The rooms are very clean and have a fan and mosquito net. Most rooms have their own bathroom.
Another option is what we call a "pseudo-homestay" situation. At the psuedo homestay you stay at a family-owned small "hotel" where the family lives in-house. You rent a basic room with a bed, desk, fan and private bathroom. With the pseudo-homestay, you get the best of both worlds, the freedom to be on your own without feeling someone is watching over you and the opportunity to practice your Spanish and spend time with a local family. Sometimes we can even arrange a condo or house for you to rent. Please contact us for more information.
Puerto Escondido's beaches are calling you...
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I am a Spanish student and am coming to Puerto to study. What do I need to do to begin studying at the Puerto Escondido Spanish language school?
Just e-mail us and we'll send you a registration form and a placement test. The registration form will ask you for a brief description of your previous experience with the Spanish language, if any. It will also ask you the days per week and hours per day that you would like to study and all the other information that we will need to know to to make the necessary arrangements for your studies here with us. Our programs are flexible and students take a hand in designing their own programs. At I.L.P.E, we cater the studies to the students' needs and fields of interest. We also do our best to accommodate the students choice of study schedule so that they can make the most out of their time in Puerto Escondido. After registering, simply keep in contact with us as your travel plans solidify and your departure date grows near. We will help you with your plans so that your arrival will be as smooth as possible.
How many weeks of classes would it take to get a good grasp of Spanish?
That's really a tough question and it depends on many factors such as your previous experience with other languages, your personality, your present age, your learning style and your knowledge of your first language. The best long-term studies have been done on school children various countries learning English in the U.S. It concluded that children generally became conversationally fluent within 3-5 years and academically fluent in 5-7 years. This may sound discouraging but one must understand that acquiring another language takes time and commitment. On the positive side, I.L.P.E teaches in one to two weeks what is taught in a full college semester and students usually retain much more of what they learn because they put it to practice within a natural context.
When is the best time, season-wise, to visit Puerto Escondido?
Different people like the different seasons here in Puerto. June through early October is the rainy season and also the season for the biggest most consistent waves. It´s also the season when many European and Mexican tourist visit Puerto.
While it can rain torrentially during these months, it doesn't rain all the time. Usually it rains for two or three semi-solid days every couple of weeks. The rain can cool the air into the mid 70s and cause the coldest days of the year. It may also rain for an hour or two in the late afternoon one or two additional days each week but for the most part, summer is sunny and warm.
As the rainy season draws to an end in October, the skies clear and the temperature begins to drop slightly. November through February, the skies are blue and temperatures range from 60s at night to 80s during the day. From late December through February, the housing prices increase dramatically as Puerto fills with "snowbirds", mostly from the U.S., looking to escape the cold of the North.
In late February and early March, temperatures begin to climb into the 90s with clear skies. In June, the rain starts to fall again cooling the air, moistening the soil and turning everything green again.
Local Puerto Escondido's cowboys and cowgirls
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I would like to book classes and reserve a homestay. How do I get started?
Before we can confirm your booking and reserve your teacher, we will need a $50 U.S. deposit for your first week and $20 U.S. for each subsequent week. This deposit is completely applicable to your classes. If you are participating in a homestay, we will need an additional $50 U.S. deposit for your first week and a $20 U.S. deposit for each subsequent week to reserve your room. The deposit for homestays is also completely applicable to your lodging. Please contact us for options on gettting the deposit to us.
Once I get to Puerto Escondido, can I pay by credit card or travelers checks for the homestay and services provided by the language school?
Instituto de Lenguajes Puerto Escondido is a cash only business, as are most businesses in Puerto Escondido. We accept, pesos, dollars, yen, lira, pounds, colones, quetzals, sheckles, pieces of eight and gold doubloons but the homestay families only accept pesos. However, there are exchange houses and banks all over Puerto where you can change travelers checks. Also, there plenty of ATMs if you want to withdraw money from your credit or debit cards. We recommend that you advise your bank that you are going to be traveling in Mexico or sometimes they refuse out of country withdrawals.
What time should I schedule my classes?
Because classes are set up on an individual basis, they can be arranged at any time during the day, depending on teacher availability. Most students find that the hours during the middle of the day are the best for having classes because it is a good time to be out of the sun. Students usually take advantage of the cool morning hours to be out on the beach, take an excursion or walk around town.
Besides taking classes, I would like to participate in some activities. What can the language school offer me?
We offer surf lessons, rock-climbing excursions, ecological tours, excursions to nearby lagoons, mountain biking or hiking trips to local water falls or archeological points of interest. You can also participate in workshops on Oaxacan cooking, local artesanry or salsa dancing!
Im serious about learning Spanish and from viewing the website I wonder how academically serious of a language school I.L.P.E. really is.
For a lot of people who see that we also teach surfing at I.L.P.E. the old stereotype of the surfer dude comes to mind. However, I assure you that we are quite serious about teaching Spanish even though we do enjoy living in a beach environment.
Who are the teachers and what qualifications do they have?
The majority of the teachers working at I.L.P.E. are native speakers and have college degrees. All teachers are fluent in Spanish and have been trained in second language acquisition methodology by a master teacher. All of the teachers speak English and have been teaching for years.
What methodology do you use to teach Spanish at I.L.P.E?
We teach through a combination of methodologies depending on the students' needs, their background with language learning and current level of Spanish. However, our basic philosophy is to teach as much as possible in Spanish while embedding new input in context to make meaning obvious. Each class includes components of reading (using mostly childrens' books in Spanish), writing, speaking, listening and grammar application. The grammar instruction is usually done in English so the student doesn't have to struggle to understand both the Spanish language and a new grammar concept at the same time.
I want to help out the community while I am there. What community service options are there?
For most of the students who want to participate in volunteer service we make the arrangements for them to help at the local orphanage or at an iguana, crocodile, mangrove restoration project. We do also arrange for intermediate and advanced students to help in the local schools but the schools are out from July through mid August. You can volunteer as many days a week as you would like. We charge a one time $20 set up fee to make arrangements for the community service.
What is the student population like at I.L.P.E and how big are the group class?
People come to I.L.P.E. from all over the globe but 50% or more are from the U.S. Most students are professionals coming to Puerto Escondido specifically to learn Spanish and some want to learn to surf at the same time. We occasionally get a surfer or two and a few travelers passing through on their journeys through Latin America. Most students are in their late 20s to early 40s although we do get groups of kids and teens, mostly in the summer and during winter break. Because of that, during June, July, January and February the student population can swells 20-40 students during those months. However, the majority of the year we have about 5-20 students studying at I.L.P.E. at any given time. Consequently group class sizes and availability of group classes fluctuates. However group sizes never exceed 6 students per teacher.
How do I get from the Puerto Escondido airport to town or to the school and how much should it cost?
There are only a few registered taxis/suburban allowed to do pick ups at the airport. They have pretty much set fees. I think it's between $10-$15 U.S. (100-150 pesos).
Are there places to exchange money in Puerto? Do I need to bring travelers checks?
There are exchange houses and banks all over Puerto where you can change travelers checks. There are also plenty of ATMs if you want to withdraw money from your credit or debit cards.
How big is Puerto Escondido?
Puerto Escondido is a town of about 80,000 people.
How much opportunity will I have to speak Spanish in Puerto Escondido?
You will have as much opportunity to speak Spanish as you want, especially if you stay in a homestay. You should know that there is some tourism in Puerto Escondido but most of the tourists hang out in a few areas insular and the percentage of tourists to locals is very low. So if you decided to spend your time at the areas where all the gringos hang out, you could end up speaking English almost all the time. However, if that is not your prerogative, it can be very easily avoided; just dont frequent the tourist areas. There are plenty of beautiful beaches and areas of town where you can comingle with the locals.
Are there any gyms in Puerto Escondido and are they expensive?
There are a few gyms with machines and free weights in Puerto Escondido and they're very affordable, $15-$30 a month.
Im interested in Oaxacan cooking and salsa dance lessons. How much do they cost and when are they?
The salsa dance and cooking lessons are arranged on a request basis and cost the same as our regular classes.
Im coming to Puerto Escondido for an extended stay do you offer any discount prices?
Since our Spanish Language school is a very small "teachers' cooperative," we operate on an extremely low profit margin and keep our every day prices as low as we can. The teachers actually earn the majority of the income. As such we can not offer any discounts without compromising the integrity of our language school. Our homestay prices are dictated by the host families. We only charge a one time $20 fee for making the arrangements. Therefore, we cant offer any discounts on homestays either. However, because exchange rates fluctuate and individual homestay prices vary slightly, we generally advertise our homestays a little above the actual price. That way our students are generally pleasantly surprised with the slightly lower price. Some of our homestays are more affordable than others but they are generally located in more humble homes and a bit farther from the beach and the language school.
Is it necessary to register in advance?
If you just show up at the language school, we will try to fit you into our schedule for private classes or combine you with other students. However, unless you make a reservation with us and pay the deposit, we can't guarantee availability of teachers. If you want to stay at a homestay, especially during December, January, June or July it is recommendable to make your reservation well in advance.
What's the food like in Puerto Escondido? Is it all Mexican food?
The food is very good in Puerto Escondido. Type type of food that you will find depends on the area where you eat. If you eat in the areas more freqented by tourists, you will find all kinds of food, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, American. However, if you eat in any other parts of town it will be typical Mexican and Oaxacan fare with a lot of options for sea food.
Is there celular service in Puerto Escondido?
There is celular service by Nextel. It's fairly affordable to get a plan in the area but roaming charges can be quite high for people who want to bring their phones frm home.
There are so many options for language schools out there, why should I choose to study at Instituto de Lenguajes Puerto Escondido?
The main reason people like to study in Puerto Escondido as opposed to other places is because it is located on a stretch of coastline with some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. Many people choose I.L.P.E. because we offer the highest quality instruction available at an extremely reasonable price. People also choose to study in Puerto Escondido because its a medium sized Mexican town of around 80,000 friendly people. Puerto Escondido is small enough to be intimate but big enough to have everything you might need. Its far enough off the beaten track to not be over run by tourists but yet it has sufficient amenities to make your stay here pleasant. Ask any Mexican friend about Puerto and theyll probably have heard of it or have visited and can tell you what a great place it is.
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