The third and fourth weeks of the program are devoted to intensive language instruction ouside Pueblo Nuevo. The course of study we use involves four hours of one-on-one conversation with instructors during the day and a home-stay with a local family. The emphasis here, however, is on immersing yourself in the national language. Instruction is geared to individual abilities and background, ranging from introductory tutorials, appropriate to someone who has never even been to Taco Bell, to advanced conversation in which you can revel in the pleasures of the subjunctive and all its variations. The families with whom you stay provide a private room in a house with running water and electricity. The facilities are basic but clean and the people open and friendly. We have found that the homestays afford a safe and warm welcome to both Honduras and its people along with another set of teachers who are happy to help you with your Spanish. Language instruction and the home-stay are paid for out of student tuition; volunteers who want to take advantage of this opportunity may certainly do so, but must cover the costs themselves. Please contact us with any questions you may have about costs or the nature of the language program.
Language Instruction and Archaeology students:
As mentioned under the selection criteria, no previous Spanish language instruction is required of those planning to pursue archaeological research on the Kenyon-Honduras program. A willingness to learn Spanish is necessary, however, and prior language study of any kind, no matter how limited, is strongly recommended. It is polite to try and speak the national language and your experience living in Honduras will be greatly enhanced if you can do so. Those with no background in Spanish will have to pick up the rudiments during the two weeks of mandatory instruction and during casual conversations held with Honduran students, local excavators, and townspeople. The Hondurans with whom we work are avid teachers of a basic, yet also colorful, version of Spanish and have successfully helped many a novice speaker reach surprising levels of fluency. We also provide a basic wordlist of archaeological terms, spelled out phonetically, to help get you started and will be readily available to provide linguistic promptings as you need them. Be aware, however, that in choosing among applicants who are equal in other respects, we will favor those who have made some effort to learn Spanish prior to arriving in Honduras.
Language Instruction for students pursuing research among contemporary people:
Conducting investigations of current topics presupposes an ability to converse freely with informants and to read such documents as newspapers. This is impossible in Honduras without a fairly good grasp of Spanish. We have found that those students who have had at least one year of instruction in Spanish at the college level, or its equivalent, are linguistically well prepared to carry out ethnographic research. The two weeks of intensive Spanish instruction provide you with the opportunity to hone established skills and get used to the particular inflections and idioms you will encounter in Honduras.