Spanish Institute of Puebla

Spanish Institute of Puebla

Spanish Institute of Puebla
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
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37 reviews
Very good

William P
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico30 contributions
Sep 2022
The best immersion school I've encountered in Mexico. Great staff, solid curriculum, friendly, with lots of support services, e.g., laundry. They also have a nearby hotel with suites for students at very affordable rates. Of course, they also home stays in which you live with a local family.
Written October 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tacoma, WA80 contributions
Mar 2022
The classes and the instructors are excellent. My conversation guides were adequate, but not exactly what I needed. But do note, everyone is different. The school itself is in an interesting and busy area and that lunch is included in the tuition is fantastic. I originally chose a homestay experience but moved after the first week. It was nothing to do with the home or the people in it, just a matter of distance from the school and lack of access to other students for study and practice. There's a tourist-class hotel with kitchenettes nearby that was an easy move.
Written March 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Rochester, NY67 contributions
Jan 2018 • Solo
I spent 3 weeks in Puebla taking the group Spanish lesson at the Institute. Overall, this was a good experience. In a nutshell, did being in Puebla and taking classes at this school improve my vocabulary, speaking, and confidence? Sure. Was it that only possible way of doing so? Not necessarily.

- Responsive staff: the staff were readily available to answer any questions over email and would give you all the information on how to get to Puebla, what to expect, etc.
- Set start dates: the group classes start every 3 weeks, and you stay with the same people. That way, there is not "revolving door" of people coming and going, which is especially good if you follow a specific curriculum. (Because I was placed in a higher level, we did not really follow the book, and concentrated to speaking and some materials the teacher brought in every day, so having students rotate in and out wouldn't have hurt so much.)
- Great logistical support: the school arranged hotel stays for those who didn't want to stay with a host family, picked students up at the Mexico airport (For extra $95; the staff were also kind enough to give me information on how to take that same bus by myself for just the cost of the ride – about $15. My advice is do that rather than pay for a pick up.), washed your clothes for a same day pickup, etc. The school staff also pointed students to various vetted activities outside the school. I went horseback riding in the country and took a salsa class based on their recommendations. I was happy with both of these extra activities.
- Pretty clear pricing: the price on their website includes the classes, meals, 2 trips, and homestay (if you choose that option), so you can budget easily without many surprise expenditures.
- Flexibility of the school administration: the staff was pretty responsive to the students' needs. When one woman, who had been placed in level 6 of group classes, felt very much behind in that level, she was placed in level 2 of individual instruction for the rest of her stay. (This is probably done on a case-by-case basis, so don't count on that happening as a matter of course.) Another man, who was in a high-level class but wanted to spend his last week in a more casual atmosphere, switched from the group class to informal outings with his afternoon conversation partner.
- I was pretty happy with my homestay. The only thing is that I forgot to ask for no smoking in the house, because it's so rare in the US, and I got a smoker. But she was great in all the other ways: I had my own bathroom, plenty of privacy, but plenty of interaction and meeting her friends, too; large meals, etc. Do get in touch with your host before arriving to coordinate times, etc. Most Mexicans have WhatsApp. Apparently, not everyone was so lucky. Some folks had problems with water pressure and temperature, which is common in Mexico and not something the school can help. Tip: avoid Lolita for your homestay. A person who stayed with her had to buy snacks every day on their way to school because of how little food they got at home.
- Last but not least, the teacher (Angélica Z.) was great. Because I was placed in a level where you were supposed to have learned and revised all the grammar already, and because the other students thought the book was boring, she tailored her lessons to be focused on conversation and reading and discussing news items. When I brought up there were still some grammar things I was not clear on (namely, verbs with prepositions and conjunctions), she brought handouts on these subjects and explained them. Another student asked to learn some sayings, and the teacher gave us 10 each day.

Here are some aspects of my stay that might have been better suited to my needs. I'd like to emphasize that some of these are beyond the school's control, and others are due to my specific learning needs and will not apply to everyone's situation.

- Conversation partners/"guides": the school has you paired up with a "guide" in the afternoon, who provides conversation practice tied in to what you learned in class. They can also show you around town or go to a museum with you. They are college students or recent grads, often in areas other that teaching Spanish as a second language. Generally, I think this is a great idea, especially for students of lower levels, who spend a lot of their class time on technical aspects of the language like grammar or vocabulary and need more speaking practice. In my case, because I was placed in a higher level, a lot of my class time was devoted to conversation as it was. Moreover, I was staying with a family and got my dose of chatting there, too. I was looking to build my vocabulary in subject areas beyond talking about my life, my family, my likes and dislikes, and other everyday subjects. To be fair, as I mentioned above, the school is pretty accommodating of your preferences, so if you say you want to learn medical vocabulary, they will try to place you with a medical student. I was paired up with recent grads in the liberal arts, who were lovely people but, unfortunately, were often unable to help me with the focused vocabulary building I was looking to do, even if I told them the subject ahead of time. (I.e., one of them didn't know what capillaries were or couldn't remember the word for a glove compartment in a car.) My tip for prospective students who want to learn things beyond just chatting with the guide is to ask for one of the older, more established guides like Verónica. They tend to be booked up by happy repeat students, so ask for them when you are filling out your registration form.
Another thing I did not realize until I read it in the welcome packet is that you have to pay for the guide's meals/drinks/bus or cab fare/museum tickets when you are going there with them. This makes sense given the lower standard of living of most Mexicans, however, I often opted for the free museums (follow Museos Puebla on FB to learn which ones are free when), and other students stayed at the institute. This is not necessarily because I'm cheap, but because I wanted more structured learning during the class time I had paid for and to do the exploring on my own without the distraction of the guide asking me about my life.

- Prevalence of Americans and Canadians. I hasten to repeat that this is not something the school can control. However, the majority of the students were middle-aged or retired folks from the US or Canada. Now, the school did encourage you to speak only in Spanish and had you sign a pledge to do so. However, at lunches, in the hallways, on day trips, students, especially those in the lower levels, would often revert back to English, ignoring the Spanish-speaking staff around them. It got to the point where you'd address a student in Spanish, and they would answer in English. If you are looking for a more international environment, perhaps look for a place that has a more balanced mix of countries of origin so that Spanish is truly a lingua franca.

- Level of other students: again, something the school cannot control, but most students were beginners or intermediate. I would call my Spanish level upper-intermediate, but I was placed in the highest, 8th level of group instruction, where I was probably the most advanced of the 3 students. Perhaps this is different during the high season in the summer, when more students come. From what I've heard, the school does work with you to place those who complete all 8 levels or place way above the highest level in individual lessons for the price of group instruction. Again, this is done on a case by case basis. If you are truly intermediate, you will probably be fine.

All in all, I recommend this school, but do consider your goals and options.
Written March 8, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
First of all we want to thank you for your review... we appreciate reviews because it gives a third party perspective of the program. We also want to thank you for taking your time and writing a very detail review.
Written March 11, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Alex F
Perth, Australia39 contributions
My girlfriend & I had 3 weeks here and if we were ever to run a language school, this is how we'd do it!

Every weekday you have a 3.5hr classroom session with your teacher in the morning, lunch provided by the school and a 2hr minimum 1-on-1 session with a conversational guide in the afternoon. This is a fabulous mix as you have plenty of time to cover the things you have to learn (e.g. grammar, sentence structure, verb conjugation, etc) in the morning, and then plenty of time to just talk and learn the things you want to learn in the afternoon.

Our teacher was fantastic and although they say max class size is 6, we only had the 2 of us in ours & our teacher said in her 3 years teaching there she'd never had more than 4!

You get assigned a different guide each week & all 3 that I had & all 3 my girlfriend had were fantastic. They were all so friendly, easy going & easy to talk to that we very rarely returned on time at the end of the day (if you & your guide are both happy to stay out you don't have to be back the 2 hrs is up)!

Our Spanish is so much better than it was 3 weeks ago it's unbelievable!

We also got put up with an amazing local host family. We loved our time with them so much we were gutted to leave & we're still in regular phone contact with them & will be returning to Puebla again soon to see them again!

Overall our experience was so good that we would return in a heartbeat if our travel time allowed it. All the people who work there (from the director to the cleaners) are absolutely lovely & couldn't be more friendly or helpful.

If you're going to study Spanish in Mexico, you need to do it here!
Written June 19, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your review... it is nice to have students from all over the world that study Spanish with us. Our students become part of our family so it is just as hard for us to see you leave as it is for our students to leave. We would love to have you back at the Institute as we have so many returning students that attend our program.
Written January 6, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Janet W
Wauwatosa, WI114 contributions
Feb 2015 • Solo
I spent 6 weeks there this winter and it was so worth it. Came into the program after spending a semester in college Spanish and left with a very strong Intermediate level of understanding. I was even dreaming in Spanish after 3 weeks. The costs are VERY reasonable. The instructors are all very competent. This is TOTAL immersion. English is not allowed. Even the text is totally in Spanish.

This is not a program for the casual learner. You will WORK. Four hours of class in the morning - the classes are small. My first three weeks there was one other person in my class, and my second three weeks I was the only student in my class - I was not charged extra because there was not another student of my level. After an hour lunch break you head off to the Zocalo to meet with your personal guide, who takes you to various locations of your choosing - museums, libraries, tourist attractions, or just sitting down and talking over coffee for 2 hours - all in Spanish only. You almost always have at least an hours homework. You really work hard - this is not what most people would consider a vacation, but I can truly say you will enjoy every minute. And at the end of just 3 weeks, I had a much better understanding of Spanish- at the end of 6 weeks, I was feeling comfortable in almost all situations. Plus the city is beautiful and safe. Never felt uncomfortable, even when I went out exploring alone on weekends - there is SO MUCH to see here.

I stayed with a family. They made me feel at home immediately, and again, here you can only communicate in Spanish. I had a private room with private bath and WiFi, which really was a godsend, since I did not have to pay for telephone calls - Facetime!!!!!!

In the fall and winter months, there are many older students - some burning up vacation time ( use it or lose it) others like myself recently retired and exploring new life opportunities. THe classes are generally very small during this time frame. In the Summer, I have been told, there are MANY college age students and classes are larger, but no more than 5 or 6.

This was a great experience. I plan on doing it again next year.
Written April 20, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for taking the time to review our program. We know that prospective students are going to take the word of past students more than anything we can say about our program. One thing we have always done is to make sure that the student is placed in the level they are at, even if they end up being the only student in that level... so in this way we can assure each student gets the most out of the program. We would love to have you with us next year and we will work hard to make sure your experience will be just as good or better. Jane Lewis Student Services
Written April 22, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Seattle, WA7 contributions
Feb 2019 • Friends
I attended SIP in February of 2019. I have attended a number of other language schools in various countries over the years, and would give this one very high marks. My teacher (Angelica) was wonderful, and I had the sense everyone loved their teachers, all of whom seem to be accomplished and dedicated. At the beginning of the course, all students sign a "pledge" to speak only Spanish at any school-related functions.While this is not enforced as such, I think it does dramatically increase the likelihood that students (who ranged in aged from about 17 to over 80) will, in fact, speak Spanish a great deal of the time--during lunch; during outings; during breaks. Although this can feel rather exhausting at times, it is absolutely the best approach for those serious--or even moderately serious- about learning Spanish.

My one piece of advice would be to think about what you actually want, and let Antonio know: Antonio, the teachers and afternoon "guides" are very flexible and do their best to accommodate the students' needs: For example, I think the idea of the afternoon "guides" is to show you around Puebla. Sometimes this can be challenging due to the noise on the Puebla streets. So, if, for example, you would rather sit in a cafe with your afternoon guide and just chat rather than visiting sites, that's what you do. If you'd rather watch a (Spanish-language) movie with the guide, that's OK, too. If you want help with pronunciation, tell them. Make this program work for you, because that's what they want it to do.

Final advice: If you're going to do a home stay and have strong (or moderate) opinions about what you'd like that to look like (close to the school? With an active family or with a quiet widow you rarely see?), make that known. If you don't, you may end up a 20-minute bus ride away from the school in a neighborhood in which you don't feel comfortable walking alone after dark (this comment is mostly for women). I stayed in an AirBnB close to the center of town, which was perfect for me. Plenty of privacy, and easy access to Puebla's many restaurants and its Zocolo after dark. While this was more expensive than the home stay option, it was well worth it for me.
Written February 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
First of all we want to thank you for taking the time to write a review about the Spanish Institute of Puebla, we appreciate it and we know it will help other students in the future. We work hard to make sure the learning experience is rewarding for all our students being the classroom work or the afternoon conversation. We would love to have you attend the Institute again as you continue with your Spanish learning.
Written February 26, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Santa Fe, NM1,180 contributions
Dec 2017 • Solo
I took a three-week immersion course at the Spanish Institute of Puebla. With 4 hours of class in the morning and 2 hours one-on-one with a native Spanish speaker in the afternoons, this is a learning experience well worth the money. The director and the teachers work hard to provide a learning environment that empowers the learner to achieve increased fluency and facility in Spanish through in-class exercises, local tours and excursions, and family stays. Although I had a good person to stay with who provided me with a comfortable room and good breakfasts and dinners within walking distance of the school, I think I would want a hotel room in the future - only because at my age and with my personality type, I would want more space and time to myself. As it was, it was the home of a recent widow who was doing her own thing, so it was more like renting a room then being in a family. However, it did give me the chance to have authentic conversations in context with a Spanish speaker. This home-stay was really the only thing that wasn't up to the exemplary nature of the rest of my experience. If you are lucky enough to be placed in Maribel's class, you will be treated to the excellence of her craft. Each class was jam-packed full of information, practice and fun activities that made each morning go by quickly and always left me wanting more.
Written March 23, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
First of all we want to thank you for the time you took to write the review... we know that time is valuable. We are happy to read that your experience was excellent and that your learning experience was well worth it. If you ever decide to come back let us know and we can work with you in other accommodations that will be more sutted to your personality. We wish you the best with your Spanish.
Written March 29, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Blythe, CA9 contributions
Jul 2015 • Solo
I have attended several immersion programs in various places in Mexico over the past decade, and SIP is without doubt the best I have attended. As an advanced, fairly bilingual learner, this was a perfect option for me to continue to improve my command of the language. My home-stay was great and I really enjoyed the excursions. Antonio is a really great director and my teacher was fabulous. A couple of highlights of my time there really stand out. One is that while I was there, there was a group of students from the US Naval Academy there learning Spanish as a part of their Academy training. Another was that there was a student there from Germany who spoke no English, and I spoke no German, but we were able to communicate quite well in our mutual third language--Spanish! On top of it all, Puebla is just a gorgeous place to be in the summer. If you are a serious student of Spanish and are looking for an excellent immersion program, I would recommend SIP with no reservations. And, maybe I will see you there because I do plan to go back.
Written December 4, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
First of all we appreciate your review of the Spanish Institute of Puebla and we will welcome you back at any time. After attending other Immersion programs we are happy that you attended our program so this will give you a point of comparison. We are lucky to have students from many countries, ages and backgrounds that bring a very interesting chemistry to the student body and the Institute. Thank you again for your recommendation. Jane Lewis Student Services.
Written December 8, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Phil R
Ajijic, Mexico4 contributions
Aug 2015 • Couples
SIP is one of the best organized schools in Mexico and has earned its reputation for precise Spanish instruction, BUT.... it is very old school instruction. Arcane grammar rules await the students. For example, after my instructor had named all 13 'tiempos' of the present and subjunctive on the board, we were informed that to move from the 'estilo directo' in the 'pluscampuerfecto' to the 'estilo indirecto' you have to move the tense to the 'antecopreterito'. Don't quote me on that rule as I had forgotten it by the time the ink was dry in my notebook. But it was an example of the style of teaching. The books too were a little esoteric. I had to read about the famous turn of century Mexican architect Varagon (or someone like that) with vocabulary like 'celosias' (the ever useful 'window shutters' and that he designed using the 'vernacular of the earth'. I wanted to learn how to speak Spanish with friends, neighbors, people I encounter on a daily basis in regular employment. I did not want to know how to discuss the merits of a Zen garden in Spanish.
Now everyone was very friendly and the afternoon guides were excellent. If you need to pass an exam in Spanish, this is THE school without doubt. If you just want to communicate in Spanish, then I would consider less formal alternatives.
Written August 24, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Phil: First of all I´m happy to see that you enjoyed the organization of the Spanish Institute of Puebla. We take our student reviews very seriously and we will look into all the details you have mentioned in your review., The books that we use for our 8 levels are interactive books in which the student has to speak at least 50% of the time. The books follow the European Framework of Language Learning and the ACTFL guidelines. Although the books cover some grammar, the main emphasis is placed on conversation because we are aware that our students want to communicate in the Spanish language as soon as possible (that is also the reason we have 2 hours per day of Individual conversation (no grammar and no rules... just conversation, pronunciation and vocabulary building). Your teacher told me that your first reaction was ¨I do not like the book¨... you just wanted conversation with no book. For learning we need guided communication so we can manage the student learning from one level to the next. The rule you stated does not make any sense, and that is not our way of teaching. The book (our 7th level book... for individuals that can communicate fairly well) does cover the direct style of speaking and the indirect style of speaking followed by exercises to immediately see why it is important to know the differences. In the direct style you have to quote literally what a third person says and with the indirect style you can paraphrase what a person said. This is very important in Advanced Conversation so the person you are communicating with knows if that is exactly what the person said or it is your interpretation of what the person said. We regret that you did not enjoy reading about Luis Barragan, a Mexican architect, who won the Pritzker Prize, the highest award in architecture, in 1980 and his personal home, the Luis Barragan House and Studio, was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2004. In our classes we also bring interesting aspects of the Mexican culture, because we believe that when our students can enjoy the Spanish culture their Spanish communication becomes easier. Barragan´s influence can be seen all over Mexico. Again we want to thank you for your review and regret that we were not able to fulfill your expectations. Jane Lewis Spanish Institute of Puebla
Written September 3, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Los Angeles, CA17 contributions
Apr 2014 • Solo
After 3 years studying Spanish in my local community colleges, I felt I'd reached a plateau, so I decided to immerse myself for three weeks here. And it worked. Believe me, it was not easy. Do not do this as a vacation past-time. Spanish immersion requires your full-time effort, but it definitely pays off. I finished last week, and now in Mexico City I'm having deep conversations with people, understanding most of what's on TV (except for slang and people from Venezuela). and reading whatever I feel like reading (with some dictionary assistance).

I chose Puebla because there are very few English speakers here, so there's little incentive to cheat, and because it's a charming colonial town. The school's atmosphere is warm and familiar. I do advise anybody who's interested to stay with a family, even if the linens and water pressure aren't equal to what you're used to, and to adhere to your signed promise not to speak English (although after class, if you must with some of the beginners, it's okay to bend that rule).

The director of the school, Antonio, his wife, Lupita, and the ladies in charge, Rosalia and Roxanna, will make you feel completely part of their family. My particular teacher, Diana, was delightful but strict, very mature for a person her age (20-something). You will work very hard: 4 hours a day in class, 2 hours a day with your conversation instructor, and another 2 to 4 hours a day doing homework. But this is why you're doing this: to learn Spanish.

It's interesting, because during those three weeks I felt as if I wasn't making any progress, but here in Mexico City I realize how much I actually know. Now, when I get back to the States, I just have to keep on keeping on. I'm actually overwhelmed.
Written April 22, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
It is always great to read reviews after students have left the Spanish Institute and are in a Spanish speaking environment... this is the real test and what you express is what so many other students express. We make our students work hard in their Spanish language learning so we appreciate when students see the results. Gracias por sus comentarios.
Written January 6, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Spanish Institute of Puebla - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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