I studied at Centro Maya for seven weeks, and I honestly could not recommend the school more highly. There are many great language schools in Xela: what I think makes Centro Maya so special are the people and the sense of community that is instantly recognizable at the school. Your studies literally go to pay for higher education for young Mayan men and women, and the proprietor of the school, Pedro, is a gentle, earnest, and funny guy who really makes you feel welcome.
Manuel C. USA
Centro Maya Xela is a non-profit Spanish and Mayan language school that was founded in 1993 by a small group of indigenous people, in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Our school was created with the vision to provide jobs for educated mayans, to help preserve the beauty of indigenous languages and culture, and create a scholarship program that would allow our young mayan women the opportunity to attend the university.
In Guatemala, there still exists discrimination against indigenous people, but for mayan women, the discrimination is not only ethic-based, but gender-based as well. In our poor country 70% of indigenous women are illiterate, and there are no government funds to support scholarship programs like ours. Centro Maya Xela a small school, but an important one. Several of our scholarship participants are now attorneys, physicians, teachers and community leaders in their town and villages. We are replacing poverty and illiteracy with education.
We at Centro Maya are very gratified that former students energetically applaud the professionalism and effectiveness of language instruction at the Centro. But while first-rate Spanish instruction is the foundation for everything else we do, when we established the Centro we also hoped that while fostering new linguistic skills we might facilitate a more holistic cultural experience. Our basic goal is to illuminate the beauty and struggles of our native land in the hope that along the path of their journey our students might recognize significance in their own lives by sharing in ours. We believe we have achieved a degree of success in that goal, because thousands of departing and/or returning students have told us in any number of ways that while they are thrilled with their Spanish progress, the language study itself is not what most touched their hearts and fired their imaginations.
Our teaching staff comes from various Guatemalan pueblos and we are all native Spanish speakers. Many of us also speak a variety of indigenous languages native to our communities. Every teacher is university educated with years of experience in teaching to foreign students and cultural exchange is an important part of our program. At Centro Maya Xela have had over 2500 foreign students study Spanish with us over the past nineteen years from more than 30 different countries.