- Testimonials -
We cherish these comments from our students and
have gratitude and appreciation for all we've learned from them
over the many years we have been teaching Spanish.
"The learning almost happens without you even realizing."
Esme is a gifted teacher whose energy and enthusiasm are infectious. It's clear that she has a great deal of experience working with students who are learning Spanish as a second language; she's deftly able to assess your level and communicate clearly and appropriately.
Conversation class with Esme is so full of fun, laughter, and general good story-telling that the learning almost happens without you even realizing. I had more than one moment in her conversation class where we'd pass the whole hour conversing and I'd think to myself afterward "I can't believe I just did that whole thing in Spanish!"
She's also a particularly excellent grammar teacher. The daughter of a school teacher, I'd go so far as to call Esme a grammar nerd. She doesn't just know the rules, she knows why they exist, and has developed clear methods for teaching them -- that goes a long way toward helping you understand the way the larger system of the language works, and in my opinion makes you a better, more intuitive Spanish speaker.
I loved my classes with Esme more than I can say. She gives herself to her work and her connections with her students completely. Learning with her is just fun!
Kayleen, Washington, DC
"My Spanish fluency skyrocketed."
There's a reason why students have followed La Hacienda teachers from school to school over the years as they continue to develop new Spanish learning opportunities in Guanajuato. Simply put, they exude a warmth and kindness that puts you at ease and welcomes you into their ever-growing family of student friends. Learning Spanish in an environment like that is a breeze and keeps students going back year after year.
I studied with Luis and Esme in February of 2014 for three weeks (at the previous school they co-founded, Adelita, where they were the lead teachers for 5 years). As an advanced student, I took four private classes a day and one group Latin American literature class. I was mainly interested in brushing up on grammar (and the pesky subjunctive!) I was really impressed by Luis' and Esme's knowledge of Spanish grammar and the thoughtful ways in which they taught it. I looked forward to every class, the laughter, the interesting conversations, and my increasing confidence with the language. Learning with them was so enjoyable.
My experience was so meaningful, that I continued with Skype conversation classes after returning home from my time in Guanajuato. Four mornings each week (for three months) Luis and I conversed about love and life and work and play in Spanish. It was like having a therapist...who gently and unobtrusively corrected my grammar – Lol! Most importantly, my Spanish fluency skyrocketed.
I couldn't be happier to hear that Luis and Esme have branched out to start a new school in a much more spacious and beautiful setting. I can't wait to see it when I return to Guanajuato to continue my studies with these fabulous teachers!
Michelle, Berkeley, CA
"I have studied in other schools in Mexico, with many teachers,
and this is the one I come back to."
I studied with Luis not only on two separate visits to Guanajuato, but also online in between classes. He is an amazing teacher. He somehow addresses each student's needs in a class. He is thorough, professional, patient, and has a great sense of humor. His classes are enjoyable and you learn! I highly recommend Luis – you will learn. I have studied in other schools in Mexico, with many teachers, and this is the one I come back to.
Mimi from Millbrook, NY
"The teachers were unfailingly patient and kind..."
I had a fantastic experience studying Spanish with Luis, Esme, and Beto. From the time I arrived at their school, Luis understood my needs and worked to create a class that would fit them. I learned about Mexican culture, literature, and current events – getting excellent grammar correction and vocabulary development throughout – and their classes deeply enriched my months in Guanajuato. The teachers were unfailingly patient and kind, yet they never missed an opportunity to sharpen my language skills. They were my guides to Mexico, and I could not have asked for a better trio to illuminate the rich history and complex present of that beautiful country.
Rebecca from Berkeley, CA
"Luis has a great (and rare) ability to meet you where you are at."
I had the good luck to study with Luis for a two-week session in 2014. I found it so worthwhile that I returned this year for another two-week session. He is a skilled and conscientious teacher who knows how to work with students of all levels. He was well organized, and has a great (and rare) ability to meet you where you are. He's patient and has a vast knowledge of literature both Latin American and North American. He is great at correcting your mistakes without making you feel bad! Grammar, conversation and culture are all part of his teaching.
Luis was also responsible for scheduling classes, and did a wonderful job in that regard. Classes were punctual and lasted the allotted time. Students with similar abilities were placed together. I never felt like I was wasting my time, and I think my Spanish improved a great deal. I recall that my classmates felt much the same way I did.
Studying with Luis was an intense and valuable educational experience.
Julia, Pleasant Valley, NY
"I would not hesitate to recommend any of these superb teachers."
I spent two great weeks in Guanajuato in 2015. A major part of my enjoyment and satisfaction was the one-on-one classes I had with Luis, Esme and Beto. Through Luis I was able to improve my knowledge of slang and the everyday, informal aspects of Mexican Spanish; he is very engaging and attentive to the needs of each student. Esme is warm and vivacious and also understands the structure of Spanish well and able to instruct really well; it was a pleasure to be in class with her every day. With Beto I found we could talk about anything and he was able to always find the right words to amplify my expression in Mexican Spanish. He is fun, knowledgeable and very capable. Whether beginning or advanced students or in between, I would not hesitate to recommend any of these superb teachers.
Stuart, Berkeley, California
"I feel excited and challenged, and I love it."
When I started learning Spanish with Esme, Luis, and Beto, I didn’t know any Spanish at all. And I thought I was going to ace the learning process. I was wrong about that, but very right about the instructors I chose.
Classes with Esme, Luis, and Beto are fun, interesting, and challenging. The three have different and very effective teaching styles. Most students of another language have times when they feel that they “just don’t get it"; when Esme, Luis and Beto see that you are struggling, they talk with you and figure out what works best for you. They encourage you and help you find new ways to learn. They create a very supportive environment.
I took group and private classes for 7 months in 2014, and for another 5 months so far in 2015. The last two months I have been studying Mexican and Latin American literature and that class was everything I’ve said above. During the Fall of 2014 I did online lessons with Luis, which helped my spoken Spanish improve tremendously. I'm currently back in Victoria (June 2015), and am continuing my online classes until I return to Guanajuato – and La Hacienda Spanish School – in November. As always, I feel excited and challenged, and I love it.
And, as a teacher of English as a foreign language, I’m also benefitting from observing such professional and effective teachers.
If you want a learning experience that’s way above the rest, this is the school to attend.
Sue, Victoria, British Columbia
"I always felt like I had someone in my corner in Mexico."
Luis is a natural born teacher. He takes a genuine individual interest in each of his students, and is very conscientious about making sure that each student has the learning experience he or she is looking for.
From the beginning of my five months in Guanajuato, I put myself in Luis's capable hands for my hour of private lessons every day, after my four hours of group classes. I know that sounds exhausting, but it never felt like hard work to attend Luis's classes. It was the place I could go to bring any bigger-picture questions I'd gathered during the day, to practice using a new conjugation I'd learned in natural conversation, or to have a rule explained to me that we hadn't covered in a group class but that I found myself needing to use in my daily interactions in Mexico.
He has patience like no one you've ever met, and a real knack for correcting consistently and gently in a way that feels very effective. I liked my classes with Luis so much, I kept taking private Skype classes with him even after I returned to the United States.
I also really enjoyed having Luis as my teacher in some of my group classes. He's worked out a very thorough system for taking students through the structure and function of the Spanish language, and is an expert at balancing the classroom dynamic, making sure that everyone is participating, and that everyone is genuinely keeping up with the lesson.
But more than all of this, having Luis as my teacher, I always felt like I had someone in my corner in Mexico, someone who cared about how I was getting on there, and was around if needed. Anyone who has lived in a foreign country for an extended period of time will understand how valuable that is. Luis is a stellar teacher, and a genuinely good person.
Kayleen, Washington, D.C.
"I attained the conversational level that I was striving for."
I worked with Beto from a beginner's level up until subjunctive training. Through these classes I attained the conversational level that I was striving for.
He picked up quickly which topics came easily to me that we could move quickly through, and which ones required additional lessons. He was very thorough and patient and was consistently able to explain the concepts in a way that made sense to me.
Beto always had a cheerful attitude and I looked forward to classes with him. He used a variety of teaching methods to keep class interesting and informative. He was also kind enough to invite me to play soccer with his friends and family, so I felt I also received a cultural lesson in addition to the language classes that I received. I was very happy with my time working with Beto.
Justin, Denver, CO
"I really looked forward to attending the school every day."
I spent a month in Guanajuato in 2014, taking lessons for four hours every day from Luis, Esme, and Beto. I found each of them to be prepared, professional, experienced, and effective teachers, not to mention being fun to work with.
My Spanish skills improved markedly during the time I was there, and I really looked forward to attending the school every day. Each brought their unique personality and creative flair to the classroom. (Once Beto composed a story about superheroes as a worksheet on verb tenses.) And each honestly cared about my experience as a student in their school and a visitor to Guanajuato. I can't recommend these teachers highly enough.
Kate, Tawas, Michigan
"I highly recommend this school!"
I spent over four months learning with Luis and Esme when I was in Guanajuato, and it was a great experience. Luis and Esme provide a learning experience that is a great combination of formal classroom education with casual language and conversation. It is possible that in one day you'll have a detailed grammar class with Luis in the morning, and then learn some common slang in a conversation class with Esme in the afternoon. They are also extremely friendly, and willing to offer advice and guidance regarding your Mexican travels. Additionally, the long term program is a great, cost-effective option for a long stay, and Luis is always very flexible with how you want to use your hours. I highly recommend this school!
Lauren, Denver, CO
"I've never had so much fun with a teacher in my life."
I am just about to graduate from the University of Glasgow where I study French and Spanish. In fact, yesterday I received my Spanish speaking exam grade in which I got an A! I have to dedicate this A to the teaching I received in Mexico with the great teachers Luis and Esme.
Before I went to Mexico, my Spanish was dire… I was always scoring low marks in tests and exams. For my course, it was compulsory for me to spend at least 3 months in a Spanish-speaking country by either working or studying. After some research, I read many raving reviews about several teachers from the colonial town of Guanajuato. I then looked at their prices, which are amazing, and decided that this was where I was going.
I decided to spend just under five months in Guanajuato, where I took group classes with Luis and Esme, and private classes with Luis. I cannot recommend these teachers enough. From the first day I set foot into their classes, it was obvious that these two are professional and well-experienced teachers of teaching Spanish to foreigners.
Luis is like an encyclopedia of Spanish grammar and common difficulties which learners of Spanish face. I was amazed with his knowledge, and when my Spanish professor (who is a Mexican specialist) at uni checked out my notes, he was very impressed.
As for Esme, I have never had so much fun with a teacher in my life. Again, she is very experienced, and knows how to teach what she knows. I mostly had speaking classes with her, and I was impressed with the way in which she engaged with us, correcting our mistakes and also motivating us greatly.
My private lessons with Luis were great, I already had a firm idea of what I wanted to study, etc., and he adapted to it very well, even allowing me to use my own materials. Of course, for those who have no idea what to do, he is great at organising his own syllabus for your needs. As I was looking for a more academic style, he helped me greatly. However, I know he is also very capable of helping people with all goals, from learning language-specific vocab, or just the essentials to have a holiday in Mexico!
Another thing I loved about these teachers is that they would always organise get togethers and parties for the students. This is a great way to keep speaking Spanish (or relax and have a wee English convo with the other students), and a great way to get to know the teachers and have a laugh. After my 5 months there, I can confidently say Esme and Luis are very good friends of mine.
Another great thing that I must point out is of how flexible they are. An example is with the classes that I missed. If I missed an hour, or was sick for a few days, no problem, I could add it on whenever I wanted. Consequently, I still take private lessons every week with Luis via Skype from here in Scotland, and I will continue to do so for a very long time. Most companies charge you for the hours you miss, and have little or no flexibility. This is not the case for Luis and Esme.
As I said, I am amazed that I managed to get an A in my speaking exam in Senior Honours of University, and I know for a fact that it would not have been possible without my classes with these great teachers! I will definitely return, and I wholeheartedly recommend taking classes with these teachers, no matter what your level and goals are.
Jamie, Glasgow, Scotland
"I have the highest regard for the teachers and their methods."
Terrific classes with terrific teachers. I took one-on-one classes in 2014 and then again in February, 2015, and have the highest regard for the teachers and their methods.
Beto was my one-on-one tutor this past February – professional, thorough, and genuinely kind and funny. He took me from where I was and prodded me forward, encouraging me to improve, never lecturing or talking down, as some teachers might do. I requested mostly conversation and writing essays and that's what I got with a bit of grammar thrown in. But they'll certainly give you formal grammar if that's what you want.
I wasn't in the group classes, but often I sat outside waiting for my own session, and what I heard coming out of the group lessons was super: lots of interaction, teachers including and encouraging everyone, and best of all, laughter – what could be better?
Also, Luis was organized, efficient, and personable in administering the day-to-day functions of the organization. A great group of folks!
Esther, Roanoke, Virginia