Are you looking for a unique and immersive way to learn Spanish? Our cultural workshops in Oaxaca offer a one-of-a-kind experience that combines language learning with an exploration of the rich culture of Oaxaca, Mexico and Latin America.
Whether you're a beginner or an advanced learner, our workshops are tailored to your needs and interests, so you can learn Spanish in the way that works best for you.
Learn Spanish through hands-on cultural activities
As an added value to your Spanish immersion, we have crafted a series of Cultural Workshops to provide a space where you can practice and learn "authentic" Spanish while engaging in an interactive experience. During the morning classes, you will study the grammar and structure of the Spanish language according to your level, focusing on improving all four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. You can choose from our year-round or seasonal workshops, view the list below.
However, enrolling in the Cultural Workshops allows you to come in contact with authentic Spanish and experience how native Spanish speakers communicate daily. Likewise, you will be exposed to the proper intonation and pronunciation, learn about cultural expressions and sayings not typically taught in textbooks, and expand your vocabulary. Ultimately, gaining an understanding of the cultural context will enable you to have more effective and engaging conversations when speaking Spanish.
Exposure to authentic or practical Spanish language.
Spanish vocabulary building.
Gain a personal insight into Oaxacan culture.
Improving your Spanish communication skills.
For these reasons, the Cultural Workshops are a perfect complement for students who want to take full advantage of their Spanish immersion program. All of ICO's Cultural Workshops are taught by local artisans or teachers and run for two hours from Mondays to Thursdays.
This workshop has been carefully designed for practicing Spanish in a practical setting. In this workshop, students will learn useful vocabulary in the kitchen, learn about Oaxacan food, and understand the impact of Oaxacan food on its culture and language.
On the first day of this workshop, the teacher, a local woman who learned cooking from her mother and grandmother before her, will take you to the markets to see all of the different fruits, vegetables, and traditional herbs that are used in the preparation of the regional dishes of Oaxaca. During the subsequent classes, you will make a different dish each day – and yes, you eat what you cook!
We also offer Private Cooking Classes. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us for more information so we can arrange the classes for you.
Taught by a local female artisan, the Clay Pottery class encourages you to be creative and learn some traditional techniques in creating vases, pots and other decorative items.
During these two-hour sessions, you will discover the cultural significance of this type of Oaxacan pottery, some of the clay properties, hand-building techniques, as well as the common traditional designs and surface decorations used in Oaxaca.
Over the four days of this workshop, you can make one or two small clay items, and the teacher will fire them for you to take. We have heard from some of our alums that it is a heartfelt souvenir of your time in Oaxaca!
Salsa & Merengue Dancing
Led by ICO's dance instructor, who has over 20 years of experience, the salsa and merengue workshop provides an engaging setting to expand your communication skills and vocabulary while dancing.
In these 2-hour fun sessions, you will learn the basic steps, footwork, timing and musicality of salsa and merengue dancing. After school, if you wish to, you can practice your newly gained dancing moves at the salsa clubs in Oaxaca City.
Another benefit to this Cultural Workshop is that, in addition to learning, it is a great way to meet other students and locals — as most Oaxacans enjoy music and love dancing!
Guided by a local and experienced weaver, you will learn some of the techniques of traditional backstrap weaving, a method that has been used over centuries by the master weavers of Oaxaca. So this cultural workshop invites your creative side to take on, to make the yarn color selection and pattern creation.
During this four-day, eight-hour workshop, you will gain knowledge of the basic weaving terms used in Spanish and have the opportunity to make a small piece of your own design and color choice.
Also, you will learn how to do the warp preparation, weft insertion and finishing. At the end of the program, you should have a lovely small tapestry to take home to remind you of your time in this lovely city.
Seasonal Cultural Workshops
In this 2-hour workshop instructed by a local artisan, you will learn some traditional designs and styles of the popular Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures that originated in Oaxaca in the 1930s. In Mexican folk culture, alebrijes represent spirits or animal guides that help individuals throughout their life's challenges. Nowadays, creating alebrijes is a way to honor and preserve traditional handcrafts while exercising personal creativity and individuality.
So, this Cultural Workshop invites you to select your wood carving and choose colors to create the patterns and designs you want to include when painting your alebrije. Then, at the end of the week, you should be able to take your alebrije home with you as a souvenir of your time in Oaxaca.
Moderated by one of our teachers, the conversation workshop helps you expand your Spanish vocabulary and practice your speaking skills while learning about other students' experiences, promoting peer learning. Furthermore, in this facilitated discussion among a small group of students of a similar level, the teacher will propose a topic of interest, like top tourist spots in Oaxaca city, the best restaurants in town and what to order at each, or will ask the group to provide one that appeals to everyone. Some conversation circles operate as tertulias, and you can even join those online.
So if you want to gain more confidence and build up your Spanish conversation skills or become more engaged in a small community, this Cultural Workshop is for you!
Barrios de Oaxaca
Oaxaca is a city rich in history and culture, with neighborhoods that have been established since colonial times. In this workshop, students will have the opportunity to learn about the magic and culture of each neighborhood. The teacher will share the most relevant facts about these neighborhoods and encourage conversation and interaction among participants to practice their Spanish and acquire new vocabulary related to the topic.
This workshop includes a tour of two of the most emblematic neighborhoods: “El barrio de Jalatlaco” and “El barrio de Xochimilco.” This will provide participants with more elements to apply in their interactions with the rest of the group and their teacher.
The history of Mexican cinema goes back to the beginning of the 20th century when several enthusiasts of the new medium documented historical events – most notably the Mexican Revolution – and produced some films that have only recently been rediscovered.
Designed for advanced students, the Mexican Cinema Cultural Workshop is led by an ICO Mexico teacher and offers a look into the different periods of Mexican cinema; the actors, directors, screenwriters, and films are analyzed through a cultural and historical perspective.
So if you are a movie aficionado, this fun and engaging workshop is the ideal way to improve your language skills while deepening your understanding and appreciation of Mexican cinema and culture.
Through the use of photography, this workshop aims to capture the vibrant essence of Oaxaca and encourage students to express their emotions and experiences.
Whether they are photography enthusiasts or not, students will be guided and motivated by the teacher to capture the essence of their daily life in Oaxaca, including interactions with locals, spaces, and places.
Using their mobile phones, students will be able to capture the people, environments, and activities that make Oaxaca unique. At the end of the workshop, there will be an exhibition of the photographs, providing students with the opportunity to share their experiences and practice their Spanish with their classmates.