Spanish immersion in Yucatan
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Spanish immersion in Merida Study Spanish in Mexico Bookmark and Share
Learn Spanish in Mexico
Spanish immersion in Merida



Institute of Modern Spanish

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Calle 15 #500B
X 16A y 18
Col. Maya
Local Telephone:
(999) 911-0790

Learn Spanish in MexicoFrequently Asked Questions: We understand that preparing for a study trip abroad can keep you busy. We encourage you to contact us directly should you have any questions about studying in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico at the Institute of Modern Spanish. Also, for your convenience, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions which you will find below.

How can I learn as much Spanish as possible? There is no better way to learn a language than through immersion. While our goal for you is that you gain fluency in the Spanish language and expand your understanding and appreciation for the Mexican culture, you have to determine your goals for yourself. We sincerely hope that your goals match ours. We would like you to take your courses at our Institute seriously and put your whole heart into learning. If you consistently and earnestly attempt to learn and understand, you will be amazed with the advances you make in your ability to communicate in Spanish and with the friends you make when you show genuine interest and enthusiasm in the Mexicans you meet. The following are some suggestion to help you learn Spanish with greater ease and obtain longer retention of what you learn after your trip:

1) Talk to your Mexican host family. Ask them questions about their daily lives. What type of employment are they in? What are their interests and hobbies? If invited, accompany them to the grocery store or on other errands. Ask questions during these trips. If the family has children, ask to see what they worked on in school. Don't be the first to leave the lunch table, stay and converse for a while. Be involved with the family on a daily basis.

2) Listen to the radio and watch television. This will help you to improve your listening comprehension. Most Mexican host families will watch soap operas in the evenings and some will watch talk show type shows in the afternoon. Pay attention even to the commercials. See if you can guess what is being advertised on the television without looking at the screen. If you do not have access to a radio, ask your host family if they can lend one to you. Listen to it while you get ready in the mornings.

3) Try and attend movies which are spoken in Spanish. While Mexican/Latin American made movies are relatively infrequent compared to U.S. made movies, if you keep an eye on the movie announcements in the newspaper, you will find one. Also, children's movies made in the U.S. are often dubbed in Spanish. If you are unable to attend a movie spoken in Spanish, avoid simply listening to the English of an un-dubbed U.S. movie. Read the Spanish subtitles, too. Many language learners find this to be a valuable exercise.

4) Once or twice a week buy a newspaper, magazine or comic book. This will help you to improve your vocabulary and reading fluency. Also, if your host family has small children, offer to read to them in the evenings. If they do not have small children, spend sometime each day reading aloud in your room. Although it is tempting, do not read anything in English. If you want to read a book for pleasure, ask your teacher to recommend one written in Spanish that is at your level.

5) SPEAK SPANISH! Don't spend your valuable days in Mérida with students who always speak English and never attempt to speak Spanish. Speak Spanish to everyone, even to your fellow students at the institute. It may seem a little strange at first, but after a short adjustment that feeling will go away. You and your fellow students are in Mérida to learn Spanish. Many find it extremely helpful to make a personal promise or a promise along with fellow Spanish students not to speak English for an entire day. Also, you could even compete among yourselves to see who is able go the longest without speaking in English.

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How is my Spanish ability level evaluated? The Institute of Modern Spanish uses a 10-block program for Spanish language instruction. We have designed a test that places students in one of these 10-blocks. Students are encouraged to send a placement test along with their registration forms or to take the test online at http://www.modernspanish.com/onlinetest.html. If this is not possible, students can take the placement test at 8:00 AM on their Monday start date. For Spanish conversation classes, students are pre-placed according to their own self assessment on their registration form which includes language experience and other languages spoken. However, placement is not finalized until after classes on Mondays. Our teachers provide us the service of evaluating students oral proficiency.

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What should I bring? As Mérida is located in a tropial area, the temperature will be quit hot, and it will be humid. While shorts are appropriate attire for both men and women, we strongly urge you to bring shorts that are at least mid-thigh length. Anything shorter may cause uncomfortable situations, especially for women. Women may find they feel more comfortable in skirts of proper length (not mini-skirts). A noteworthy comment about Mérida's night life is that the Mexicans tend to dress-up more than most Americans for a night on the town. Please keep this in mind when packing. You may find a pair or two of dress pants to be very useful. Although the summer temperature is hot, we recommend that you bring a cardigan sweater or a light jacket as sometimes the evening air can be cool, especially close to the beach. Mérida has a rainy season which starts in June and lasts for approximately three months. During this rainy season, it will rain sporadically--usually in the afternoons for a half hour or so. While a rainy season may sound like an inconvenience, it really is not. Most Mexican have returned home from work or school for lunch ("comida") and a "siesta" and are at home during the rain. Also, the sun returns almost immediately after it rains. Sometimes it seems that the sun is still shining brightly although it is raining. Although this is the case, if you will be in Mérida during the rainy season, you will find an umbrella handy. Other things you should bring are comfortable walking shoes, sandals, swim wear, a light-weight beach towel, your own toiletries, sun screen, and insect repellent.

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How much money do I need to bring for personal expenses? Most students find that they can easily spend US$130.00 to US$180.00 per week on miscellaneous expenses such as taxis and snack foods. This amount will vary depending on how active you are during your stay -- movies, dinner, shopping, nights on the town etc. -- and the amount of gifts and souvenirs you wish to purchase. We suggest that you bring some spending money in cash and an ATM card. Check with your bank about international withdrawal rates before you leave for your trip. You may wish also to bring some traveller's checks although the exchange rate is often a little lower for traveler's checks. With traveler's checks you have the security of replacement in the case of lost or stolen checks. Currently the exchange rate is approximately 11 Pesos (the Mexican currency) per United States dollar. You can ask at the institute where the best places are to exchange your traveler's checks. Also you may wish to bring a major credit card for unexpected emergency expenses.

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What other costs may I have? Class materials areUS$7.50/week. Optional trips and excursions arranged by the Institute of Modern Spanish have an additional cost payable in US currency (cash) or Mexican Pesos at the institute. These trips range from approx. US$15.00 to US$45.00 and are available depending on enrollment. An additional note concerning these trips is that most require you miss the afternoon meal at your host family's home. For this reason, if you wish your ask host family to provide you with a sack lunch, this is completely acceptable. Be sure and give at least a one day advance notice for a sack lunch. Also, some trips have a lunch included. More information about Institute sponsored trips is available on our trips/excursions page.

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Will I have access to the Internet to check my e-mails? The Institute of Modern Spanish has wireless internet connection for those students who travel with their laptop. In addition, there are several "Internet Cafés" scattered throughout Mérida--in the Northern residential area conveniently close to the Institute and the host families, as well as in the downtown area. Most Internet Cafés charge the equivalent of US$1 to US$3 per hour for Internet Access and are opened convenient hours. The Institute's office and host families can provide directions to these Internet Cafes.

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What trips and excursions are available? The Institute of Modern Spanish can make reservations with a local travel agent for trips not arranged by the Institute of Modern Spanish. The travel agent that the Institute of Modern Spanish recommends provides excellent service at economical rates. Please visit our trips/excursions page for more information. You can either pre-register for these trips (U.S. bank check or credit card payment), or pay once you are in Merida (Mexican peso cash payment). The most popular trips are Chichen Itza, Uxmal & Kabah, and Uxmal Light and Sound show.

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What other activities are available? In addition to Cultural Excursions & Trips, the Institute organizes cooking classes and art classes when sufficient demand exists. We work with a gym/dance school to provide students with gym access and salsa dance classes. Cost for such classes is minimal and, in most cases, is paid directly to the class instructor or to the gym/dance school. Conversational groups composed of Spanish students and Mexican English students are arranged weekly when interest exists. We also offer cooking classes and art classes--such as piñata making classes--when interest exits.

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Is Mérida a safe city? Merida is one of the safest cities in Mexico. Recent events in Mexico may raise questions regarding Merida's safeness. However, Merida is a very traditional city which holds to its small-town safeness. View our safety statement written Fall 2006. While many visitors comment on how safe they feel in Mérida -- many say they feel safer in Mérida than in many bigger cities in the United States -- we still urge you to use common sense and avoid potentially dangerous situations. For example, do not wander the streets late at night looking for a taxi. Instead call the taxi company and have them pick you up at the entrance of your home or from wherever you need ride. Also, do not accept rides or gifts from strangers. Again, use your common sense and you should have no problems. The Institute of Modern Spanish and host families are located in the Northern residential area of Mérida. This area--and Paseo/Prolongacion Montejo--are considered the safest areas are Mérida.

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What do I need to know about living with a Mexican Host family? Your host family will provide you with the following: three meals a day, laundry services or directions to the nearest laundry business (varies from family to family), one clean towel every week (for bathing--not to be taken to the beach), clean sheets every week, limited local telephone calls, and a key to the house. Also, your host family will be able to answer any questions you have about the city of Mérida. If you have problems or concerns of any sort during your stay at a host family's home, please direct them immediately to ou housing director. There is absolutely no reason for you to feel uncomfortable or obligated in any way when your living accommodations are concerned. While local calls are provided, please keep them to a minimum. Each phone call is charged to the host family's telephone bill. Do not make any long distance calls from your host family's home. You may ask if you can use a calling card which charges directly to a your own telephone bill in the United States. If your host family declines, public telephones are frequent and they are easy to use. In either case, be sure and have the toll free number to connect to your long distance service from Mexico. Your long distance service (AT&T, Sprint, MCI, etc.) will be able to provide you with the number. If an emergency or other unforeseen circumstances arise during your stay in Mérida and you wish to contact someone, such as your parents, via e-mail or fax, notify Janese Ceron. A key to the house has been given to you out of good will, it is your responsibility not to lose it. It should be returned to your host family when you leave. Also, while you are staying with you host family, make sure that you do not leave windows or doors opened that were not opened when you found them. Protect the security of the home just as if it were your own. Treat your host family with respect and you will get the same in return. As with many aspects of immersion in a culture other than one's own, politeness ('por favor' and 'gracias') and common sense (knowing to ask permission before inviting someone to your host family's home) play a major role in building good relations with your host family.

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Can I drink the water? Your host family is responsible for providing you with safe water for drinking and warm water for bathing, as well as meeting any special dietary needs. Do not drink the water out of the tap. Your family can not drink the tap water either and will purchase purified water or boil water for drinking. Use purified water for brushing your teeth. Another note concerning the water is that you should avoid the ice cubes at sidewalk cafes. Stay with bottled beverages in such cases. Some travelers find it helpful to eat yogurt or take Lactovita (acidophilus) capsules three times a day around meal time. This prevents the bacteria found in water from causing you problems. Furthermore, you may wish to bring an antidiarrhea product such as Imodium AD. If you feel ill at any time during your trip, inform your host family so that they can provide you appropriate food and direct you to a physician, if necessary.

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What if I still have questions about my trip? While there seems to be a lot of things to keep in mind while planning to study abroad and while studying abroad, it is a manageable task. You will find it rewarding and will probably be a little sad when the time arrives to return home. We hope that this information has been helpful. Any further questions can be addressed to Miguel or Janese Cerón, by calling 1-877-4MERIDA (463-7432) Toll free from U.S. & Canada. Outside the United States/Canada, please call 011-52-(999) 911-0790. Also, feel free to e-mail students@modernspanish.com. We wish you the most pleasant stay in our city!

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Learn Spanish in Mexico
Study Spanish in Mexico
The Institute of Modern Spanish has served over 6,000 students since 1995.
Spanish school in Mexico
study Spanish in Mexico
Only Spanish school in Mérida with its own van
exclusive
for student transport.

Learn Spanish in Merida
Learn Spanish in Yucatan
Institute of Modern Spanish facility includes swimming pool and wireless internet.
study Spanish abroad
Learn Spanish in Mexico
Opened year-round including Spring Break and Winter Vacations.
Start any Monday.
We offer special educational tours with airfare included for groups of all ages.
Major Credit
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Learn Spanish in Mexico

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