cis-estudiantesAs one of its many treats, Merida holds the most veteran language institute in the Yucatan Peninsula. Centro de Idiomas del Sureste, or CIS (pronounced “sees”) teaches Spanish, Maya, English, Mandarin, Japanese, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Arabic to speakers of other languages. CIS was founded on March 6, 1974 (they just celebrated their 40th anniversary).

“Personally, I am fortunate to have been involved with CIS during one half of its life (and of my own),” says Fer de la Cruz, M.A., Spanish program coordinator and head of CIS´ Historic Center branch. “We don´t offer magical learning. Rather, a constructivist approach to language pedagogy: one learns to talk by talking. That is, the teacher provides a certain structure (grammar or vocabulary) and creates a situation which the students solve by using that struture. The situation given serves a function such as introducing oneself, exchanging personal information, describing, or identifying. We offer a blend of interactive techniques that balance grammar structure and conversation, all in the target language.”

Regarding their Spanish program, because students come and go, they start every Monday at any given level of proficiency. Although they often receive US or Canadian college groups, their students generally don´t come for college credit, so they may move at their own pace, in small groups or private lessons.

“Among our faculty, we are proud to have local writers, education majors and other professionals experienced in applied linguistics, enthusiastic about the art and science of teaching a second language.”

The Spanish program is held at their beautiful Historic Center branch (Calle 52 between 49 and 51, near Remate de Montejo).

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