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Antiguena vs Maximo Nivel

13 posts
Antiguena vs Maximo Nivel

I will be studying Spanish through an immersion course for the entire month of July. Maximo seems pretty good, and all communication via email has been professional and thorough. Prices are not too bad. Then I came across Antiguena Academy after doing some more research. The prices are better, and ALL hours are one on one. To boot, it has pretty good reviews as well.

I assume one school is better in particular areas compared to the other, and one is not objectively superior to the other. I just need help deciding which one to go with. Below are my objectives if it helps decide which one I should go with:

1. Above all, learn how to speak Spanish. I've taken four years of Spanish and will probably continue to do so in college. Grammar is not of priority, actual communication skills is what I'm after.

2. Good immersion experience - good host family that is helpful, friendly, etc. Soaking up Spanish in and out of the classroom.

3. Time for tours. While my focus and majority of time will be spent learning Spanish, I would still like to go on hikes, maybe a multi day tour done after school on the friday and done during the weekend.

4. Support - Help arriving the airport, transportation to school, amenities, bilingual/english support, etc.

With that all being said, which school should I go with? Should I go with a third Spanish school? Any and all feedback is appreciated.

25 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
69 posts
66 reviews
21. Re: Antiguena vs Maximo Nivel

I studied for several weeks at Antiguena Spanish Academy. The teachers are what makes this school. They provide good instruction in a beautiful garden setting which can’t be beat. The classes are 1 on 1 and focus on what you want to learn, which is just about what every school in Antigua offers, so no difference there.

The office admin communication by the owners was poor and detracted from the overall experience. After you’ve paid or made a deposit payment, it’s hard to get information about your homestay, its address, where and when to meet on the first day of classes, etc. Given that these details are necessary and needed in a timely manner for each new student who attends the school, its surprising that the office admin isn’t proactive in providing these details and the student has to initiate these information requests. Outside of paying for classes I can’t think of one time the office interacted with me or asked about my experience or if I had any problems.

Daily afternoon activities organized by the school are rather poor but still worth doing, but better tours could be arranged (factory for chicken buses, trip to Pastores to see shoes being made, etc). Students at the school are very social and often organize group outings or get togethers throughout the week. It’s a larger school, possible 25-35 students, or more.

Most students studying when I did stated the family homestay weren’t interactive. Most consist of a room you rent with 3 meals a day included. The only time you’ll see or interact with the family is during meals. That’s assuming your family is there and they haven’t outsourced meal production to a maid. Be advised if you want to use internet at your Homestay, you’ll need to pay $10-$12 USD EACH WEEK to the family in addition to the Homestay cost. Neither Internet nor laundry is part of your Homestay.

Overall, because of my instructor and the garden setting I enjoyed my experience, but other schools in Antigua or throughout the country would likely be a good experience as well.

1 post
3 reviews
22. Re: Antiguena vs Maximo Nivel

I've only studied at Antiguena Spanish Academy, and would highly recommend this school!

What a fantastic experience! I had only planned on studying Spanish in Antigua for a couple of weeks, but changed my whole itinerary in order to continue studying with my teacher, Marvin. I can’t even begin to say how grateful I was for this opportunity - the chance to have private lessons with a seasoned professional. The classes were perfectly paced, interactive, and interesting! Marvin and I spent seven weeks laughing, chatting, and all the while, learning. I leave the school speaking and understanding more Castellano than I could have ever hoped for.

I can't talk for the other schools, but I loved studying in the garden and having a break with all the other students on the rooftop terrace.

Level Contributor
1 post
60 reviews
23. Re: Antiguena vs Maximo Nivel

I have studied at both Antiguena and Maximo Nivel. This was about 4 years ago - so not sure if this all still applies but I will still share. I studied for two weeks at Antiguena (4hr day, 1 on 1 classes) and then two weeks at Maximo Nivel (2 hrs day, 1 on 1 classes).

Maximo Nivel seemed more organized and professional. Received full workbooks to work from for homework. No activities as far as I recall, but they did have a language exchange program (meet with a student studying english so you can both practice).

I enjoyed the activities at Antiguena in the afternoons (walking tour, macademia nut farm, cerro de la cruz) . One-on-one classes were amazing - I made a lot of progress during my two weeks. Everyone I talked too really enjoyed their teachers and their classes. My teacher was always prepared and brought photocopies, books and activities to keep class interesting. She only spoke a little english so it forced me to learn fast, however I know a friend requested a teacher who spoke fluent english so it is possible. I met other students here during class breaks and activities, whereas at Maximo Nivel I met none. Homestay was basic, but fine. Little interaction with family outside of meal times. The airport pickup was not there when I got out of the airport - I ended up finding another way but getting out of the airport in Guatemala City with no Spanish at night wasn't the most comforting experience.

Overall, I think Antiguena is really good considering the price (at least at the time) and loved the activities and meeting other students. However, I found Maximo Nivel a bit more organized and professional. So really just depends on what you are looking for and your budget.

Level Contributor
21 posts
38 reviews
24. Re: Antiguena vs Maximo Nivel

I attended Maximo Nivel for 1 month while my housemate attended Antiguena for 2 months.

What I noticed: Maximo Nivel gave me books (they tested my proficiency) then gave me a book, vocabulary, grammar, exercises. In contrast, I found out Antiguena only gives photocopies of information.

I visited Antiguena's office 2x and they gave me different prices each time, so it depends on who you speak with.

At Maximo Nivel, we had free tutoring {hola Estuardo :} M to Sat, for free, morning to afternoon, Antiguena does not have free tutoring.

Maximo Nivel gives free tea and coffee all day, Antiguena only certain times.

I also liked that Maximo Nivel is close to the center of Antigua, close to the Parque Central, to the Mercado...Antiguena is more on one corner, farther away from the action.

P.S. I am scheduled to return to Maximo Nivel in a couple of months to take TEFL, it's one of the very few schools that offer TEFL in the area.

Edited: 20 June 2018, 05:44
Level Contributor
21 posts
38 reviews
25. Re: Antiguena vs Maximo Nivel

Definitely Maximo Nivel. My roommate was attending classes at Antiguena and I went to Antiguena to check it out too.

At Maximo Nivel, we got books which we follow and we thoroughly go through the lessons, you need an approval from your instructor to graduate to the next book. My roommate attending Antiguena only had photocopies of lessons.

At Maximo Nivel, we get free tutoring and the tutor, Estuardo, is so helpful (they have more than one but he's the one there when I'm there) at Antiguena, no free tutoring, you have to pay.

Free all you can drink teas and coffee, Antiguena no. Free wifi and we have a computer room at Maximo Nivel, I don't know if Antiguena does. Maximo Nivel is close to Parque Central, so you're close to the restaurants, Antiguena, no, more of a walk.

I'm returning to Maximo Nivel, this time to take my TEFL course, looking forward to seeing everyone again :)

(oh, I already posted on this, but yes, definitely Maximo Nivel :)

Edited: 23 July 2018, 01:11
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