Instituto Cultural Oaxaca
The cultural workshops are a perfect complement for students who want to take full advantage of our Main Spanish language program. These workshops are to use the knowledge gained in the Spanish classes, practice, learn new vocabulary, and learn about the culture of Oaxaca and Mexico.
Cultural workshops run from Monday until Thursday for 2 hours to experience and develop your understanding of Oaxacan culture. Taught by local artisans and teachers, the workshops give you a personal insight into Oaxacan culture while improving your Spanish.
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. Please contact us for more information, and so we can arrange the classes for you.
Salsa & Merengue
Our dance instructor will teach you the basic steps for salsa and merengue.
You will have ample opportunities to practice at the nightclubs and salsa clubs in the evenings. Learning salsa is a great way to meet other students and locals – the majority of Oaxacans love music and love to dance!
A local weaver will teach you some of the techniques of traditional backstrap weaving.
Using the same method as the master weavers of Oaxaca, you will make a small piece of your own design and color choice that you can take home with you at the end of the program.
Taught by a local female artisan, this class encourages you to be creative and learn some of the traditional techniques in the creation of vases, pots and other decorative items. Each participant will make one or two items that the teacher will fire and that you may then take with you as a reminder of Oaxaca!
In this workshop, you are taught the traditional styles of painting and design to make your own Alebrije. You get to select your own wood carving and then paint it according to your own design and color preferences.
If you feel like you want to focus more on your Spanish conversational skills we can offer an additional 2 hours of Conversation Class at the Beginner Level.
Moderated by one of our teachers, this workshop enables you to build your Spanish language vocabulary as you learn about other students and Mexico.
This workshop offers a look into the different periods of Mexican cinema; the actors, directors, screenwriters, and films are observed through a cultural and historical perspective.
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 particularly the Mexican Revolution – and produced some films that have only recently been rediscovered.
At this workshop, you will learn about Oaxacan culture, with a special focus on the “Guelaguetza”. Held in July, It is one of the biggest festivals in Oaxaca. You will learn about the history of this unique celebration.
EASTER (March 14-25)
Semana Santa (Holy Week) is very important in Mexico. We offer a two-week workshop held during the 6th week of Lent and continuing through Holy Week, during which you will learn about the culture of Lent in Mexico and Oaxaca.
The Easter Workshop includes “a lecture of the history of Lent and Holy Week in Mexico and Oaxaca”, “creating an altar”, “a cooking workshop” to learn traditional food for this season, and “a visit to 7 churches”.
Day of the Dead (Oct 24 - Nov 4)
“Día de Los Muertos” is a celebration that takes place in Mexico on the 1st and 2nd of November. In the week leading up to the Day of the Dead, we present a special lecture on the significance of the festival that includes an explanation of the particular traditions relating to the altars, shrines, and comparsas (street parades).
During this season, the Instituto also offers you special workshops.
Mask-Making Workshop: You can make your own traditional “Day of the Dead” mask to wear during the Instituto’s “Comparsa”.
Cooking Workshop: You can learn how to make sweets for this season, such as sugar skulls and other Day of the Dead-themed candies.
Christmas (Dec 5 - 16 or 19-30)
December is an ideal time to visit Oaxaca, Mexico and observe how the winter holiday season is celebrated. The Instituto offers special workshops during this time.
Through a series of lectures, during “Christmas Workshop”, you will learn about the Christmas traditions in Oaxaca and the history of piñatas.
Piñata Making Workshop: Your group will build and design your own piñatas which will later be broken at the Posada. Apart from designing and creating piñatas, you also have the opportunity to help set up the nativity scene in the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca.
Cooking Workshop: This class differs from the normal cooking class offered at the Instituto because you will learn to make traditional dishes that are specific to the winter holiday.
Also, our students are invited to participate in a traditional posada, a piñata-making workshop and the creation of a nativity scene. The night of the Instituto’s Posada, students, their family, and friends are invited to sing songs, drink punch and break the piñatas created by the students in the workshop.