Ruinas is the perfect balance of educational excellence and cultural opportunity.
Yes, there are large cities (Antigua, Oaxaca) where you can also study Spanish.
And , of course, a city of 500,000 people will have more attractions -and,
distractions!- than a town of 6,000. Still, if your goal is to learn Spanish
in a cultural context, we feel very strongly that a small town with a world-class
cultural heritage is far better suited to achieving that goal. Antigua, for
example, has 97 language schools, all within a few blocks of the town center.
Assume at any given time that each school has ten students, and you'll see
that your "immersion experience" will be shared with a thousand other students
speaking English, French, German, Swedish or Italian, but when they meet
each other, they are definitely not speaking Spanish! In Copán Ruinas,
by contrast, the 20-30 students in town will be truly immersed in a
non-cosmopolitan population of unjaded, friendly villagers who ONLY speak
important to consider the quality of the family-living experience. According
to the renowned Lonely Planet Guide for Guatemala, in Antigua, for example,
"too often there are several foreigners staying with the same family at once.
In this case, it's more like a hotel, than a family atmosphere. Also, often
there are separate mealtimes for the students and the family." Such a situation
is inconceivable in Copán Ruinas. Here the families truly delight
in 'adopting' someone from another culture for a week or two. You really
become part of the family. In this environment, your Spanish skills will
Here's what Lonely
Planet recommends: "Antigua is not for everyone who wants to study Spanish;
there are so many foreigners about, it takes some real discipline to converse
in Spanish rather than in your native tongue. If you think this will bother
you, consider studying where there are fewer foreign students and more
opportunities to dive headfirst into learning Spanish."
we see it, Spanish schools in a large city are an industry. In Copán
Ruinas, it's an opportunity.
Ruinas is located in the western highlands of Honduras, more the 1,800 feet
above sea level. This altitude is known as
or temperate land, and it is therefore comfortable year-round. The visitor
will experience neither the swelter of the coastal jungles, nor the night-time
chill found at higher elevations to the west and in Guatemala. Like other
tropical countries, Honduras has two seasons - wet and dry. The dry season
usually lasts from December to May, the wet season from June to November.
During the wet season, mornings are typically clear, then thunderstorms build
through the afternoon into a refreshing shower, then the clouds dissipate
in time for a lovely sunset. The coolest months are January and February,
while March and April are the warmest. Still, this is the tropics, so average
temperatures tend not to vary more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit (5
Is it easy to
communicate with home?
easy in Copán Ruinas to keep in touch with family, friends, or business
associates. The national telephone company, Hondutel, has an office a minute's
walk from the school, where you can place long-distance calls. Or, you could
use the phone at your family's home. It's generally much cheaper to arrange
in advance to receive a call from abroad, rather than to dial from Honduras.
are five internet cafes in town, offering very inexpensive and reliable access
to the World Wide Web.
in Copán Ruinas, Honduras
contrast to its neighbors Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua (which have
been ravaged by war and civil unrest for much of their modern history), Honduras
has been remarkably peaceful. The new president is
Western-educated, and committed to improving the Honduran economy, which
continues to suffer the effects of the devastating Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
The president has made very clear that he views the sustainable development
of eco-tourism to be the key to revitalizing the Honduran economy. In fact,
his inaugaration was held at the ruins of Copán, in order to underscore
the importance of eco-tourism - and Copán Ruinas - to the future of
Honduras. We believe the best way for outsiders to help a poor country like
Honduras is to visit it, meet the people, and spend some time and money immersing
yourself in another culture.
of Copán Ruinas is, in fact, very safe, and very welcoming to visitors.
This is what the respected Moon travel guide has to say about Copán
Ruinas: "It's hard not to be charmed by the relaxed friendliness of the place.
In contrast to many Guatemalan mountain towns, Copán Ruinas evinces
an overwhelming sense of safeness and a lack of resentful, tense vibes between
locals and foreign visitors. Any afternoon and evening in the square, one
can watch schoolchildren playing, elders liesurely passing the time of day,
and a young man plucking a tune on his guitar under the admiring gaze of
and teenagers are welcome. We've had many families study here, and have developed
a kids-friendly curriculum to keep the youngsters engaged and happy. Most
of the families who house our students have children of their own, who, like
all kids, are quick to make friends. Also, we can arrange visits for your
kids to local schools, an experience that will prove unforgettable. We think
studying Spanish for a week or two in a safe and friendly Central American
town is a wonderful way to encourage in a child an adventurous spirit of
travel and a lifelong respect for other cultures. By the way, yes, there's
a pizza parlor, and several ice cream shops in town~.
FAMILIES: Families coming with children
and teens to study are able to stay in the same homestay
family or we can make other arrangements. Sometimes teens
prefer to be with their own family for better integration
of the language, so we can also arrange this. Be sure to
note that we receive many families each year where one of the family
members, usually one parent, already knows
that language or just prefers to not study.
This is fine with
Medical care or
four pharmacies and an English-speaking doctor in town, as well as ambulance
service to the hospital, 1.5 hours away. We recommend that visitors carry
with them all the prescription medicines they will need during their