My Second Home
I first visited Anders Cuernavaca in September 2019 for 6 weeks and for 2 weeks in March 2020. Indeed, I had the unique experience of being their last student before the coronavirus pandemic changed our world. As we all have a little more time now on our hands, I want to take this opportunity to share my Spanish immersion experience.
Anders has a top drawer team of passionate, enthusiastic and highly skilled teachers. I cannot sing the praises high enough for the teachers. They are thorough but patient, tough but flexible. Most importantly, they truly enjoy teaching and sharing their love of the Spanish language ( and Mexican culture) with every student. The teachers never cease being both encouraging and supportive. I feel comfortable speaking on behalf of other students because I met many students during my 8 weeks at Anders. They all spoke very highly of their respective teachers.
The one on one student/teacher relationship which is the hallmark of the Anders method gives the teachers unique insight into our abilities, challenges and potential. The relationship is such that you quickly want to improve to please your teacher ( in addition to yourself). The learning setting is in a beautiful, spacious home in a double gated community. There are numerous places within the home to have one on one lessons in private. Breakfast and lunch are opportunities to be in a communal setting with other students who are studying Spanish. BTW, Anders teaches other languages including English, but you only share a meal with another student and his/her teacher if the student is also studying the same language as you.
One of the byproducts of my Spanish instruction is my respect and love of the Mexican people and their culture. There are numerous opportunities to interact with the locals from walking in the gated community, to walking outside the community to the neighboring towns of Lomas de Jiutepec and Tres de Mayo where one is immersed in a ‘colonia’ environment. There is a beautiful open air church ( Parroquia de San Felipe de Jesus) several blocks away on a hilltop that overlooks Cuernavaca. There is also a convent 6 blocks away where you can have a delicious home cooked meal prepared by the nuns ( Misioneras Clarisas del Santisimo Sacramento) who operate a popular dining room every Sunday afternoon until the food is gone. There are bakeries, grocery stores, barber shops, flower shops, gift shops, small cafes and restaurants all within walking distance of Anders providing numerous opportunities to interact with the locals. Of course, you can get on a bus or take Uber and within 15 to 20 minutes you can be in downtown Cuernavaca with all the charms, attractions and hustle and bustle of a large city with its museums , bookstores, shops, cafes and parks. I assume all of this has temporarily changed due to the pandemic but hopefully, all will return to the new normal once the pandemic is behind us.
Anders provided for its teachers to take their students downtown as part of their learning. I truly enjoyed going to the museums with my teacher, Esther, who is a walking encyclopedia. After visiting an exhibition of ill-fated Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlota during my first Anders stay and an exhibition of the agrarian revolutionary, Emilio Zapata, during my second stay, I bought books about each and learned even more about Mexican history which is so intertwined with that of United States and Europe.
Anders goes out of its way to ensure that each student is comfortable with a welcoming learning and living environment. Raul, the onsite manager is always asking if everything is okay; Francesco and Mario , the gatekeepers and grounds men always greet the students with smiles and “Que Tal”; and, Mari, the housekeeper and cook extraordinaire, is always willing to prepare a favorite traditional dish. BTW, I should mention that during my two stays in Cuernavaca I baked three very well received apple/peach /blueberry pies for the teachers, students and the housekeeping staff as my gifts to Anders.
The highest compliment I can give about Anders is that--- God Willing--- I plan to return in 2021, 2022 and 2023. After all, it is my second home. Saludos! James