By Harriet Goff.
Word quickly spread of his school and many, many people traveled to Cuernavaca for language training as well as for the seminars on topics including, religious liberty, education, conviviality, medicine, and architecture. Ivan Illich, born in Austria, spoke ten languages.
Throughout the following five decades other schools opened around Mexico and other parts of Latin America, but Cuernavaca continued to be the most popular destination in the western hemisphere to study Spanish. There is, in fact, the “Cuernavaca Model”, which refers to an intensive immersion program with no more than five students per teacher and with classes from four-to-five hours per day.
In recent years, the best schools from around Mexico have joined together to form the Mexican Association of Spanish Institutes, following this model and offering quality immersion programs for the study of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture.
In the early 70s many university students came to study in order to fulfill language requirements and to travel throughout Mexico. In the 80s and 90s the student population included more and more businessmen, diplomats, and even politicians. In the first decade of the 21st century we have seen an increase in groups with a specific focus, be it agriculture, politics, education, medicine, and social work. There is also an increasing demand to learn about Mexico for professional development purposes. The majority of the students come from our neighbors in North America and about 30 per cent from Europe and Asia.
As of 2010, an average of 35,000 people per year come to Mexico to study Spanish.
Mexico continues to be a magnet for Spanish language students from all over the world as the Spanish spoken here is considered the most easily understood throughout Latin America.