Almost all our students opt to live with a Guatemalan family in the city. They will provide you with three meals a day, safe drinking water, a private room, and a hot shower. More importantly, they will provide you with good company, a sample of the legendary Guatemalan hospitality, and some lasting friendships. Of course, the principal advantage of this method of housing our students is that it gives them invaluable practice in the continuous use of the language in real-life situations.
These families are often already housing Mayan students from highland villages who cannot get a good enough education past sixth grade in their area. Many of our students feel that households with children or other students are livelier and afford more opportunity to practice the language. If you prefer more peace and quiet, you can request that you board alone with a family.
The living conditions of an average family are equivalent to a working-class U.S. family although, with the added income of students, many have been able to modernize their kitchens, upgrade their homes, etc. All our families have running water, hot showers, electricity, etc. They all provide drinking water, food that has been prepared to be free from any contamination.
We have no problems housing couples together. However, we ask that you state this on your application so that we are sure to alert the directors who handle housing and teacher assignments in advance. Keep in mind that the Guatemalan culture is sexually conservative and religiously oriented, so unmarried couples rooming with the same family may get placed in separate rooms.
If you so choose, there are some residence hotels and apartments in Xela that can be rented alone or with other students. Students who elect not to house themselves with a local family can deduct $45 from the weekly tuition fee.