Learn Spanish In Mexico

By Karen Kressin 

Learn Spanish Well and Cheap


Want to learn Spanish?  Here’s an idea for retirees, ex-pats, and other gringos with time to spend in Mexico:  Study Spanish at a university program. 


The program I know best is Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara (UAG), but there are others.  (See below.)  Autónoma roughly means private. 

UAG offers a 4-week program every 4 weeks, starting on Mondays, year round.  Placement tests are given on the previous Friday and pre-registration is encouraged.  If you’re late, however, it’s generally OK to test and register on the first day of class.  They’ll even let you take just the first half of the course (for half price), if you want to study only 2 weeks.  UAG accepts Visa and Mastercard, for a fee of about $10.


If you want, the university will arrange a home stay with a Mexican family in a shared room and including all meals.  The homes are close to the university in the upscale suburb of Zapopan.   


UAG’s Spanish course is 4 credit hours of grammar and conversation, 5 days a week.  Some sessions include a culture option.  An excursion to a nearby locale such as Tequila or Sayula, a cooking class, and a salsa class, for example, are offered as extras.  


While non-traditional students often take the course, most of your classmates will be college-age from universities in the U.S. and Canada – Perfect for maintaining your youthful outlook! 


And the best part:  UAG’s low cost.  (All USD)

4 weeks tuition:  $350 plus $25 admin fee 

(Optional culture class: add $200)

4 weeks optional home stay $375 + $20 admin fee

Textbook: about $12

Full immersion cultural experience:  Priceless


Compare this with a 3-credit Spanish course at my state college, part-time in-state  tuition.  (Your state’s may cost more):

Tuition and fees:  $741

Textbook:  $121       

Full immersion cultural experience:  Not available


Of course, there are Spanish language institutes in Guadalajara and all over Mexico that don’t grant university credit, but my research indicates that the institutes generally cost more than the universities.   Also don’t sign up for a program through an American college or university.  Most add on a sizeable profit, usually about 100%, and some 4- to 6-week programs cost as much as $4000. 


There are lots of universities.  So check the Web or, if you are lucky enough to be in Mexico already, mosey on over to your local public or autónoma university and ask about a Spanish program!



Internet Sites

for some Spanish programs at Mexican universities


UAG: www.uag.mx/12/cii.htmlUDG  (Univ. de Guadalajara):  www.cepe.udg.mxUniv. de Guanajuato  http://www.ugto.mx/idiomasUNAM ( Mexico City) http://www.cepe.unam.mx/indexing.php Puerto Vallarta(UDG) www.cepe.udg.mx Morelia, Michoacan http://www.unla.edu.mx/idiomas/quees_ing.htm Merida, Yucatanhttp://www.educacion.uady.mx/codi.php?id=espa Oaxaca  http://www.fioaxaca.com.mx/espanol.htmlVera Cruz (Xalapa)http://www.uv.mx/eee/index.aspZacatecas  http://idiomas1.reduaz.mx/spanish/default.htm Queretaro  http://www.uaq.mx/ingles/cursos.html#Span-CourColimahttp://www.ucol.mx/acerca/coordinaciones/cgd/dgiab/principal/eape.php Tolucahttp://www.uaemex.mx/cilc/ Puebla  http://www.udlap.mx/internacional/english/students/cursos/espanol.aspx Monterrey (Univ. de Nuevo Leon): http://www.filosofia.uanl.mx/  also(Tec de Monterrey/ ITESM):http://pi.mty.itesm.mx/csepi/Ingles/undergraduate_students/exclusive_courses.htm 

Caveat:  Mexican websites vary widely.  For detailed and up to date information, you might have to contact the school at an email address you find on the site.  Also remember, “languages” in Spanish is idiomas.