I just wanted to let everyone know that we made it safe and sound to Cuernavaca. We might be a little tired but we’re all doing well. I’ll make sure everyone stays in touch and keeps you up to date on the excursions, classes and our whereabouts in Cuernavaca. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mis divinos y queridos estudiantes,
I will be arriving at the airport about two hours before our flight takes off. As soon as I check in and get through security, I will go to the gate. Please be sure to check flight status at: http://www.aa.com. You can put in the flight number to make sure that the time and gate information has not changed. Between now and the day of the flight, feel free to email me if you have any questions. En unos días estaremos en Cuernavaca–la ciudad de la eterna primavera.
BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!!!!!
Although you probably will be enjoying yourself too much to really get homesick, there are several ways you can keep in touch with the folks. Here are a couple of ways:
1.) Telephone: You can buy calling cards at the institute so you can call home. These cards can be used at public phone booths or from home. If you use the cards at home, you get a lot more minutes than you would if you use them at a public phone booth. The difference is substantial. A $10.00 phone card will give you about 2 hours of talking time from a private phone. If you use a phone booth, you get about 45 minutes. Please remember that when calling from your “family’s” home, please keep phone calls to a minimum.
2.) SKYPE: Using Skype is one of the best ways to keep in touch. If you have friends and family members who are computer literate and who have webcams, wherever you have an internet connection, (e.g., at the institute, perhaps at your home, at an internet café), you can keep in touch. Skype is wonderful because it’s FREE and you get to look at the person you are talking to using real time video! Skype also has pay plans where you can make calls to land-lines using their service. I’ve never felt the need to use their pay service so I’m not too sure how it works. To download SKYPE to your computer or laptop, go to www.skype.com. There are Skype versions for both MAC and PC platforms.
3.) VIBER for Android or iPhone: Viber lets everyone in the world connect. Freely. More than 40 million Viber users call, text, send photos and locations with each other worldwide – for free. Viber is available for iPhone® and other smartphones. We are always introducing new features, platforms and possibilities. Viber is completely free with no advertising, and we value your privacy: read about their policy at http://www.viber.com/privacy
Get it, you’ll like it. Remember you have to have WIFI access to use this. Almost all the families that house our students have WIFI at their home. There is WIFI at the institute and many cafés in Cuernavaca.
4.) EMAIL: There are a couple of computer terminals at the institute for you to use. Sometimes there is a line, especially between classes. There are many internet cafés that you can use. These are downright cheap–something like 4-5 (40-50 cents) pesos for an hour!
5.) CELLPHONES: Boy, there’s not a better way to get yourself in trouble! Unless you have a great international cellphone plan, I would advise against using cellphones to call the U.S. Some people have found great plans–which, for some reason, I have not. One student from last year used her cellphone so much that her mother cut it off when the bill got up to a couple thousand dollars. So, if you are independently wealthy, or if you have a great international plan, then I recommend cellphone use! If not, BEWARE–there always appear to be hidden costs that you never are aware of until you get that bill!
6.) CONVENTIONAL MAIL!: WHY BOTHER?????
In about 3 weeks, we will be in Cuernavaca, la Ciudad de la eterna primavera! I hope you are as excited about going as I am. I realize that the next few weeks are going to be hectic for you as you make your final plans for the trip. Hopefully this will be a smooth process! In addition, I know that you may be wondering what is the best way to pay once you get to the institute. Here is a breakdown of the charges:
1. Students will be required to pay the following upon arrival at the institute:
Fees, onsite tuition, transportation to/from the institute $720.00. Remember that you can subtract $100.00 from this amount because part of your application deposit is applied to your tuition and fees.
Books and materials: $50.00 (I don’t remember students ever having to pay this in the past, but one never knows depending upon your individual course content.)
Room and Board: $620.00
2. Accepted forms of payment: traveler’s checks; dollars or pesos, or Bank Cashier’s check. Note that Credit/Debit cards or Money Orders are not accepted.
3. Excursions are optional and payment is due prior to each excursion.
It is probably best to take what you need to pay at the Institute in the form of a cashier’s check. Of course, you would have to get that from your bank. If you opt for this form of payment, have the check made out to “Instituto de Lengua y Estudios Latinoamericanos.”
Please let me know if you have any questions.
While searching on the internet, I came across the TripAdvisor site. TripAdvisor.com is a travel website that assists customers in gathering travel information, posting reviews and opinions of travel-related content and engaging in interactive travel forums. The reviews are posted by people just like you who have been to a place and who wish to write about and share their experiences with others. I noticed that there are reviews of the Spanish Language Institute, where we go, in addition to information about safety in Cuernavaca. Please take a moment to read some of the 49 reviews that have been posted there–the most recent one is from February 23rd. You’ll notice that the Spanish Language Institute get 5 stars out of 5 stars! Can’t ask for much better than that. Here is the link to the website: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g150797-d1203542-Reviews-Spanish_Language_Institute-Cuernavaca_Central_Mexico_and_Gulf_Coast.html