Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long is the course?
Since all courses are on-on-one, each is as long as that student wants. A few stay several weeks. Others stay as long as a year.

2. When do classes start? 
Classes can start any time. You can choose whatever dates fit your needs.

3.How much does each course of study cost?
There is an application fee of $200 for your first study session. Tuition is $550 a week for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week of one-on-one total immersion study with two professional teachers of adults. The student will receive the equivalent of a semester of one-on-one class time. Home boarding (room and board) is currently $35 a day.  Prices for other accommodations vary.  Accommodations are described under  the Living Accommodations section. Rampant inflation in Mexico has cooled off a bit, but prices are still moderate. 

4. Where do students live?
Students may live in one to five-star hotels, in the Casa del Sacerdote for Guadalajara diocesan priests, in a religious or parish house, at the Major Seminary, or in private homes. Prices vary for this service and are set by each institution. The accommodations are described under the Living Accommodations section on this website. We encourage students to select home boarding because home boarding best promotes the benefits of total immersion. Home boarding offers students the best opportunity to experience Mexico's culture first hand and to participate in it to the extent they feel comfortable. 

5. What travel documentation do I need?
You can obtain a Mexican Government-issued tourist card through your airline.  This is all you need to enter Mexico.  A student visa is not required. However, to return to the United States, you will need a valid U. S. passport, for which you can apply at any U.S. Post Office. Allow 2 months or more for the U.S. Government to process the application. A U.S. passport application requires that one be a citizen of the U.S. and present  a valid birth certificate.  

6. How do I apply?
First decide on the time you want to arrive in Mexico and the length of time you wish to stay. Also, you should select your living accommodations. Complete the CIRIMEX application form which can be downloaded from the "How to Apply" page of this website. You'll find directions concerning where the application and registration fee should be mailed. No transcripts are required. The tuition fee, in full, must arrive at our Iowa office at least 2 weeks before you expect to start classes. We then reserve the teachers and living accommodations for you. If some unforeseen event prevents you from using the time slot reserved for you, we will hold your option to attend open for one year. You can use it or you can send someone in your stead. At this point you have entered into a legal contract and you are obligated to pay for the instructor's time which has been reserved for you.

7. Can I use my computer, electric razor, tooth brush, etc. on Mexican current?
The main CIRIMEX building has a Wi-Fi connection which allows for internet access. Also, you'll find cybercafés in the neighborhood where you can access the internet. All appliances that work on U.S. electric current can be used in Mexico without an adapter. 

8. What kinds of clothing should I bring?
That depends on the time of year you choose to study. Mexico has two seasons -- the rainy season, which starts around June 15 and lasts until around September 15. During this season, you can expect rain nearly every day -- often starting at 4 to 6 in the afternoon and going on in the evening. You will need an umbrella or a raincoat (it is usually too warm for a raincoat). Also, you will need comfortable shoes. Be prepared to walk through many puddles! Surface drainage usually can't accommodate downpours. The other season is the dry season, and of course, it seldom rains this time of year in Guadalajara.  However, Mexico is also experiencing the effects of global warming resulting in changes in the usual weather patterns. Climatologists claim that Guadalajara has the 2nd best climate in the world, second only to some place in Turkey.  Guadalajara's altitude is high enough to cool the air and it is far enough south to keep it comfortably warm. However, it tends to get quite cool at night, especially in the winter months. Warm pajamas are recommended, and perhaps a sweater, windbreaker or jacket for the evening.  During the dry season it can get rather hot in the sun. We recommend comfortable, casual clothing. CIRIMEX tends to be informal so casual is fine; our students seem to like this approach!

9. What is the climate (temperature) like? 
Guadalajara, as mentioned above, has the 2nd best climate in the world, spring-like year round, except during the summer. The summer season starts around April 15th and continues until around June 15th. The temperature turns very warm, especially in the sun. Winter (November through February) can be quite cold indoors. The homes are not heated. Bring warm clothing for this season. The layered effect works, since from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. it will be very nice outdoors. 

10. Can I drink the water?
We're glad you asked! The suburb of Chapalita, where CIRIMEX is located has a potable water system.  In addition, CIRIMEX does have filters on the kitchen water supply.  The homes where students live offer filtered or bottled water.  We advise against drinking water or eating food from street vendors. Hotels and restaurants serve filtered water and uncontaminated ice. 

11.  What shots do I need?
The World Health Organization does not recommend any shots for travel in Mexico. However, shots for the flu, hepatitis b, measles, etc. may help to give you peace of mind. 

12.  How can I communicate with my family? 
Family and friends in the U.S. can call the CIRIMEX number to leave a message (direct dial 011 52 333 121 4878). As a policy we do not call a student out of class for a phone call unless it involves an emergency. Messages can be sent to the CIRIMEX fax number (direct dial 011 52 333 121 7738). If you prepare your cell phone for international calls to Mexico, that is also an option. When you find out where you will be living, you can usually receive calls there. 

13.  How large will my class be?
All CIRIMEX classes are one-on-one unless 2 or 3 people decide before they come to Mexico that they want to share a teacher. That group can then operate as a class or they can divide the teacher's time among them for one-on-one sessions. (Or a combination of both is possible.) 

14.  Can you send an invoice to my seminary, diocese or vocation director?
Yes, please let us know on your application who should receive the invoice. Please inform them that the bill must be paid in full at least 2 weeks before you expect to begin classes. If you plan to stay at the Casa del Sacerdote, the Archdiocesan seminary or a local religious or parish house, your diocese, seminary or vocation director must negotiate with the hosting group for the rate for your stay and pay them directly.  If you opt for home boarding, CIRIMEX  will select a home for you within walking distance of our campus.  You can send the money in dollars with your tuition payment to the CIRIMEX Iowa office and we will transfer the money and pay the provider. CIRIMEX does not charge a fee for this service.   If you have special needs, please advise us.

15.  Can I use my credit card in Mexico?
Yes, if the merchant accepts credit cards. Often, merchants will not accept American Express, but will accept Visa, Master Card or Discover. You can also use your credit card to get cash advances. The exchange rate varies so consult before you perform the transaction.  Because the rate fluctuates and tends to improve vis-a-vis the dollar, it is better not to exchange all your money at one time.  Mexicans prefer to do most transactions in cash.

16. Can I use checks?
Payments by check are not recommended because the payee does not receive the proceeds until the check clears the international banking system.