Middle School Programs

June 23rd – July 5th, 2007

Have your middle school student spend an unforgettable 12 days this summer on the lush, tropical coast of Mexico! Adventure-minded students, ages 11- 13 are invited to take part in this unique, once in a life time experience, which will take place June 23rd – July 5th, 2007 in our little village of La Manzanilla.

During this 13-day adventure, students will study Spanish, learn about the Mexican culture, participate in activities with the local Mexican community, visit local sites of interest, go on recreational outings, and build new friendships with students from the U.S., Canada and Mexico!


We are accepting up to 14 students (ages 11 -13) from various parts of the United States and Canada for this summer program. Participants, along with a parent or guardian, will meet at a designated hotel near the Los Angeles airport where they will have an orientation, meet the trip leaders and start getting to know one another. The students will stay the night in L.A. then be escorted the next day by our fun, dynamic, and very conscientious bi-lingual chaperones/teachers provided by La Catalina Natural Language School, to spend these amazing 12-days in Mexico. No previous experience with speaking Spanish is necessary for participation. Students must demonstrate outstanding behavior and a commitment to learning and will be admitted to our program through an application process including a letter of recommendation from a teacher or employer. Additionally, students must possess certain characteristics, such as being flexible and independent and no student will be admitted who has a drug or alcohol problem.


La Catalina Natural Language School is located in the charming Mexican village of La Manzanilla, in the state of Jalisco. La Manzanilla is a small beach town of just over 1,200 Mexican residents. The village is nestled between gently sloping mountains covered with dense tropical foliage on one side and a beautiful beach with lofty palms on the other. The warm climate, beautiful beaches and friendly Mexican people make La Manzanilla a real tropical paradise!

La Manzanilla is approximately three and a half hours south of Puerto Vallarta and one and a half hours north of Manzanillo by car, with the Manzanillo ZLO airport only 45 minutes away.







Our Spanish program consists of:

  • 1 ½ hour Spanish classes (5 x week)
  • 45 minutes of homework (5 x week)
  • 1 hour cultural class (5 x week)
  • Cultural Study Project
  • Social events and language exchanges with locals


Students will participate in a private group Spanish course tailored to their needs and interests. Students will be grouped according to their level in a beginner’s, intermediate’s, or advanced Spanish course. Classes are small in size (limited to 8 students per level) and all students receive plenty of individualized attention from the teachers. Our teachers are native Spanish speakers who are caring, professional, well-trained and experienced.

Spanish classes meet daily for 90 minutes, Monday through Friday, in our beautiful outdoor cool and breezy Palapa classroom overlooking La Manzanilla’s beach and oceanfront.

In addition to the classes, there are daily homework assignments that require a minimum of 45 outside of class time. As part of their homework, students will be guided to keep their own travel journal throughout the course of the trip, which they will be provided with upon their arrival to Mexico. These journals will not only serve as a tool for the students to develop their Spanish writing skills, but also allows students to reflect upon and record their experiences and discoveries on the trip.


At La Catalina, we have integrated the latest research and findings on language acquisition, along with a holistic mind/body/emotion approach to learning. Our methodology puts very little emphasis on conceptual grammar with speakers who are not at a fluent level. Instead the emphasis is on familiarization and usage of Spanish. Our approach helps student see and experience first-hand that they can learn Spanish quickly and naturally through right practice and encourages students to take risks with the language and just “blurt it out” initially. Lots of games, songs, and age appropriate activities are used to create a fun and engaging learning environment, when teaching classes to young learners.


In addition to the Spanish classes, there will be a 60-minute cultural class everyday (M-F.) Students will have the opportunity to choose between two electives classes on a given day that may include some of the following options: beading, painting, Mexican cooking, singing, collage class, paper mache, and video making.


Each student will choose one aspect of the Mexican culture that they would like to explore, study, and create a presentation/project on, so they may gain a deeper cultural understanding and appreciation of the workings of Mexican society. The students will be guided through this process by their trip leaders. The first phase of the project will include observation, where the student may need to visit a particular site, such as a school, interviewing local people, or observing natural habitats in nature to gather information for the project. The second phase of the project will be synthesizing the information and preparing a presentation for their peers. The final phase will be delivering the presentation to the group. The focus of this project is on a cultural study (vs. language study) so presentations may be delivered in English, except for those who have a high level of Spanish and wish to do their presentation in Spanish.

Some ideas of projects may include one of the following:

  • Children in Mexico
  • Art in Mexico
  • Public schools in La Manzanilla
  • Architecture in Mexico
  • Marine Life
  • Study of the Local Crocodile Habitat of La Manzanilla
  • Mexican Food
  • Family traditions in Mexico
  • History of La Manzanilla


The students will come together with their trip leader for fun and lively evening events, which may include game nights, movies, bonfires, moonlight hikes, a talent show, etc. The local Mexican youth may also be invited to some of these events to create a cross cultural experience where new friendships can be forged.


Students will stay in a comfortable and safe gated group living accommodations. The living complex is located just one block from the beach, one block from our main campus, and two blocks from downtown.

The dormitory facilities consist of 6 apartments, each of which sleeps 2 or 3 persons. Each apartment has its own bathroom and shower and there is a communal kitchen and several communal outdoor patio areas.

There will be two chaperones for the group who will also be staying in the group living accommodations and provide 24-hour supervision. Girls and boys will be placed in separate apartments, but will share the common areas.

Three tasty Mexican meals a day will be prepared at the group living accommodations by a local Mexican cook. Special dietary needs can be accommodated with advance notice. The kitchen will also be stalked with fruit, beverages, and snacks that the kids can help themselves to between meals.


In addition to our Spanish and cultural classes, we will take several local excursions, which will provide insight into Mexico’s culture, history, and local ecology. These trips and activities will enhance the group’s cultural awareness and knowledge about the area. The following are some of the excursions that the group will participate in during their stay in Mexico:

1. Barra de Navidad Excursion

Students will travel by bus to the picturesque beach town of Barra de Navidad, located 30 minutes south of La Manzanilla. There, they will spend the morning body surfing or swimming in the ocean, followed by a walking and boat tour of the area. The students will finish the day shopping at a number of the arts and crafts shops and enjoying a very special authentic Mexican lunch.

2. Sea Kayaking

Students will spend an exciting half-day sea kayaking in the Tenacatita Bay with Immersion Adventures, a local kayaking company. The group will receive prior instruction and be accompanied by an experienced guide as they paddle out from La Manzanilla to a secluded beach where they will snorkel over a fringe coral reef (optional), do some beachcombing, and learn about the coral reef ecosystems. (http://www.immersionadventures.com)

3. Send off Party

On the last night of the student’s stay in La Manzanilla, La Catalina School will organize a goodbye potluck and party. The students, La Catalina Staff, and the student’s new Mexican friends will come together to exchange stories and say their farewells to one another.

4. Night of luxury & fun at Blue Bay Resort

On the last night of the student’s stay in Mexico, the students and their trip leaders will travel to the beautiful all-inclusive Blue Bay Resort located 15 minutes north of La Manzanilla. There they will spend their last 2 days/1 night in Mexico, in the beautiful crystal clear pools set overlooking the beach, and having access to a galore of recreation activities, including horseback riding, volleyball, boating, and more. (www.losangeleslocos.com/home.htm)


Everyday the group will have an activity time where the trip leaders will plan a fun recreational activity, which may include swimming at the beach, playing volleyball or soccer with the locals, going on a group hike, gathering to do their homework and journaling, and other activities. This will also be a time for the students to debrief with their Trip leader and share their feelings and experience about their trip experience. In addition to day time activities, there will be evening social activities including ice cream socials, movie nights, game nights and more!!!


Victor Amezcua and Julie Catton, former teachers from San Francisco, California, founded La Catalina School in 2002. They continue to be the Directors and work with a small, but tight knit staff which includes our experienced trip leaders and Spanish teachers. Close communications, meetings and check-ins between the students, the Directors, their trip leaders and their Spanish teachers will take place on a daily basis. Our supportive staff at La Catalina will work together to carefully oversee the students and help make every aspect of their trip a safe, fun, organized, enriching and educational experience.


La Catalina School hires very experienced bi-lingual trip leaders, who have experience traveling and/or living in Mexico. We look for leaders with lots of positive energy and who genuinely love working with kids. A photo and description of our trip chaperones for 2007 summer program will be made available soon. We will arrange a student to trip leader/chaperone ratio of 8:1.


As our premier concern with this program is that the children are safe, our school has a very strict drug and alcohol free policy and curfew that is strictly enforced by the Directors and trip leaders. In the event that a student violates this policy, he or she will be expelled from the school and the parents will be responsible for arranging immediate return of the student and will forfeit all unused tuition.



At least one family member must accompany their child to this pre-trip orientation to be held at a designated hotel (TBA) near the LAX (Los Angeles) airport. Families attending the orientation will have the opportunity to meet the trip leaders and review the schedule, program, rules and regulations, and guidelines. The following day students and their leader will depart and spend the next 12 days on the beautiful Pacific Coast of Mexico. Upon returning to the United States, at least one parent or another authorized adult must pick their child up at the airport.


  • 8:30-9:00- Breakfast
  • 9:15-10:45-Spanish Classes
  • 11:00-1:00-Group Activity time
  • 2:00-4:00- Lunch
  • 4:00-5:00- Cultural Class
  • 5:00-6:30-Cultural Study Project
  • 7:00-Dinner
  • 8:00-9:00 Social time
  • 10:00-Lights out


Trip Tuition & Fees: $2,485 USD

Cost includes:

  • Round-trip Airfare to and from Mexico
  • Travel Insurance
  • Pre-trip orientation meals (includes dinner & breakfast at US hotel for up to 3 persons in family)
  • Pre-trip accommodations at US hotel (includes student only.) If parents would like to stay in hotel, they may do so at an extra cost.
  • Complete room & board in group accommodations while traveling in Mexico
  • Trip Leader/Chaperone escorting students to and from Mexico and full chaperone service while in Mexico
  • Spanish classes and materials (books, CD’s, travel journal & other classroom and project materials)
  • Weekend excursions & school events
  • Luxury 1 night & 2 day stay at the Blue Bay Resort
  • Trip Photo CD

Cost does not include the following personal expenses:

Shopping, e-mail use, telephone calls, postage for mailings, food eaten at airports or outside of the food pre-arranged by school (i.e. snacks purchased at the stores.)

Estimated student personal expenses budget:

  • E-Mail $ 10 – $ 20
  • Telephone $ 10 – $ 50
  • Postage $ 10
  • Shopping/Souvenirs $ 50 – $ 100
  • Food & Snacks $ 20 – $ 30
  • Misc. Expenses $ 5 – $ 20
  • $105 – $ 230


To register and reserve your child’s spot, please contact us at a.s.a.p. as there is limited space available and the camp will fill up fast.

Email us at: groups@lacatalinaschool.com or call at (011) 52-315-351-5362 and we will send you the trip registration guidelines and forms along with information on how to make your payment for the trip. A registration fee of $100 must be sent in along with your child’s application form. This fee in nonrefundable and does not apply to trip tuition & fees.


  • Recruiting friends ($50 for every friend that you recruit!)
  • Registering early ($50 for registering by April 1st)


  • April 1 – June 1 REGISTRATION
  • June 23 Pre-departure orientation meeting/dinner with parents, students
  • and chaperones in Los Angeles, CA
  • June 24 Students depart Los Angeles, CA


La Catalina Natural Language School
Victor Amezcua, School Director
Julie Catton, School Director

(011) 52 315 351 5362 (from US or Canada to Mexico)
(01) 315 351 5362 (within Mexico)
Website: www.lacatalinaschool.com
email: groups@lacatalinaschool.com

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