12 Wonderful Spanish Schools in Mexico (2018)

Interested in learning Spanish in Mexico? Trying to choose a Spanish immersion program can be overwhelming. Here are 12 of the best Spanish schools in Mexico, broken down by region. These are all programs I’m personally familiar with, or that have outstanding reputations.

Costs are very reasonable by North American and European standards, with group classes starting as low as US$105 for 20 hours per week and private lessons from $15 per hour. Schools can arrange homestays with meals for around $20-30 a night. Additional costs commonly include registration fees and extracurricular activities.

Timing

Puebla - Spanish schools in Mexico

Altar, Día de Muertos, Puebla

When is the best time of year to study Spanish in Mexico? North American and European summer is high season for Spanish schools — a good time to avoid unless you only have summers off.

Research the seasonal climate; try Googling “best time to visit ____.” Keep in mind that central Mexico can be chilly in winter, and homes and schools are often unheated. On the other hand, the Yucatan can be incredibly hot and humid outside the months of November to February.

Perhaps you can time your stay to coincide with one of the special holidays for which Mexico is famous? Semana Santa and Día de Muertos are incredible celebrations to experience, and schools will often hold special workshops and outings related to the holiday.

Central Highlands

Blessed with a mild climate and studded with spectacular colonial cities, Mexico’s central highlands region is a prime location for Spanish immersion programs.

Puebla

Puebla, a city of 1.5 million inhabitants, is famed for its traditional food and opulent colonial architecture. Despite its charms, Puebla attracts few foreign tourists, facilitating Spanish immersion. The proximity of the charming village of Cholula plus easy access to Mexico City make it a great choice for studying Spanish.

Enjoying the view over the plaza with a cold beverage on a Livit Spanish school excursion to Atlixco

Enjoying the view over the plaza with a cold beverage on a Livit excursion to nearby Atlixco

Excellent small language school in the cozy atmosphere of a historic home near Puebla’s gorgeous colonial center. Provides a full immersion experience with family-style lunches after class followed by two hours of conversation practice in a fun, relaxed setting with a local university student. Many diverse activities and excursions included. For more details, read about my experience attending Livit in 2017.

Accommodation: Homestay, on-site apartment, or hotel
More reviews: TripAdvisor, Yelp123 Teach Me
Best for: Adult students wanting a full-day immersion experience with a thorough grounding in grammar as well as conversation practice in a small, intimate setting
Zócalo (main plaza), Puebla

Zócalo (main plaza), Puebla

This highly regarded institution has provided an intensive Spanish immersion program for more than 30 years. Both SIP and Livit feature a similar daily program of four hours of instruction in the morning coupled with two hours of afternoon conversation practice with a local guide. However, SIP has set start dates every three weeks for group classes, whereas at Livit classes start weekly.

I have communicated with SIP several times and each time they were extremely responsive. They even graciously gave me a tour of the premises the last time I was in Puebla. The school is atmospherically located in a 17th-century ex-convent not far from the main plaza.

Accommodation: Homestay, apartment, or hotel
More reviews: TripAdvisor, Yelp123 Teach Me
Best for:
  • Adult students wanting a full-day immersion experience with a thorough grounding in grammar as well as conversation practice at a medium-size school
  • Students with a minimum of three weeks to devote to a group course
  • Students preparing for a formal exam like DELE

Guanajuato

This gorgeous colonial gem makes an ideal place to study Spanish. A lively university town, Guanajuato offers an endless variety of cultural events as well as colorful festivals. Outside the classroom, you can explore its picturesque cobblestoned alleyways and lovely tree-filled plazas, as well as take day trips to Pueblos Mágicos like San Miguel de Allende or Dolores de Hidalgo.

Escuela Mexicana

This highly rated school has provided Spanish courses in Guanajuato’s historic center for more than 20 years. Escuela Mexicana offers students a flexible schedule and a variety of different programs to suit individual needs.

Students have from two to four different teachers a day, with a new schedule weekly. Specialized classes such as literature, history, dance, and cooking are also available. The school organizes optional cultural and learning activities as well as weekend trips.

Accommodation: Homestay, rooms in school residence, or apartment rental
More reviews: TripAdvisor, 123 Teach Me
Best for:
  • Budget-minded students wanting a flexible schedule with a variety of instructors that still provides a structured curriculum
  • Families with kids

Escuela Falcon

An excellent budget-priced option in Guanajuato with a welcoming and warm atmosphere.

Spanish-language schools in the same town often tend to have similar offerings and prices in order to compete with one another. Like Escuela Mexicana, Escuela Falcon (EF) offers students a flexible schedule tailored to their individual needs, with each subject taught by a different instructor.

In addition to standard classes like grammar and conversation, you can spice up your schedule with more than a dozen fun electives like Mexican cooking, Latin American literature, Mexican muralism, salsa dancing, or painting. EF also organizes an extracurricular activity every day and on most weekends. For more details, read about my experience attending Escuela Falcon in 2016 and 2017.

Accommodation: Homestay, room, apartment, or house rental
More reviews: TripAdvisor, 123 Teach Me
Best for:

  • Budget-minded students wanting a totally customizable schedule with a wide variety of instructors and creative, hands-on electives
  • Families with kids

Mexico City

As one of the world’s cultural capitals, Mexico City offers an endless variety of things to see and do. However, for a city of its size, it is strangely lacking in high-quality Spanish immersion programs.

CEPE – UNAM

UNAM's spectacular Biblioteca Central

UNAM’s spectacular Biblioteca Central

The Centro de Enseñanza para Extranjeros (CEPE) at the prestigious Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México offers both Spanish classes and cultural courses. The main UNAM campus is in Coyoacán in the southern part of Mexico City; there is also a smaller campus in the posh district of Polanco that attracts older students.

CEPE’s intensive Spanish courses are taught in six-week blocks. Fascinating cultural courses on art, history, social science, literature, and creative writing are also offered as both intensive sessions (30 hours in six weeks) or semester classes (60 hours in 18 weeks). These cultural courses are also attended by native speakers. The student population is highly international with most students from Europe and Asia.

CEPE hosts many cultural activities on campus as well as weekend excursions. A placement test is required the Friday before sessions start.

CEPE also has a campus in Taxco spectacularly located on the grounds of a historic hacienda.

Accommodation: UNAM does not have student dormitories, but CEPE can provide a list of rooms for rent with Mexican families close to the university. You can also opt to find your own accommodation in a hostel, hotel, or apartment.
More reviews: It’s surprisingly difficult to find official reviews for this prominent institution, and CEPE’s website is lacking in information. Try Googling “CEPE UNAM review” (without the quotes) as there are many mentions in various forums and blogs.
Best for:

  • Students wanting a more traditional academic environment with a minimum of six weeks to devote to a course
  • Students seeking university credit, a certification, or a Spanish teacher diploma
  • Advanced students with a preference for cultural courses

La Salle University

The leafy Condesa neighborhood in Mexico City

The leafy Condesa neighborhood in Mexico City

Universidad La Salle is a private Catholic university with campuses throughout Mexico. The Mexico City branch has a student population of 10,000 and is centrally located in the beautiful bohemian neighborhood of La Condesa.

La Salle offers year-round three-week and five-week Spanish language modules as well as Spanish for kids and private lessons. The school also has a three-week Summer Language and Culture Program that features 45 hours of Spanish instruction, Mexican history and culture courses, and cultural activities.

La Salle also provides Service Learning opportunities, in which you can improve your Spanish while volunteering with local non-profits in areas such as education, healthcare, the environment, economic development, and agriculture. These placements last from six to 16 weeks and allow a variety of start and end dates.

Accommodation: La Salle does not have student dormitories, but they offer homestays with two meals included with selected Mexican families. You can also opt to find your own accommodation in a hostel, hotel, or apartment.
More reviews: I’ve heard excellent reports about La Salle, but it’s difficult to find official reviews. I recommend contacting the school and asking to be put in touch with a recent graduate of the program you’re interested in.
Best for:

  • Students wanting a more traditional academic environment with a minimum of three weeks to devote to a course
  • Students seeking an intensive summer program
  • Students wishing to improve their Spanish while getting hands-on volunteer experience working side-by-side with locals at an NGO

Morelia

Morelia is a lovely colonial city that sees few foreigners and a great place to study Spanish. Consider timing your stay to coincide with Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), as the nearby Pátzcuaro area (see next section) is internationally famous for its celebrations. From November to March, you can also take a trip to witness the monarch butterfly migration at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán.

Instituto Baden-Powell

This cozy school in the heart of Morelia’s historic center has been offering Spanish instruction for more than 30 years. I met Baden-Powell’s director and got a tour of the school while in Morelia in 2016 and was impressed by the school’s organization and friendly atmosphere.

Classes are small and individualized. Interesting elective subjects include Mexican literature, Latin-American literature, Mexican history, Latin American studies, short stories, phonetics, medical and business terminology, Mexican art, and Mexican studies. Courses in Mexican cooking, salsa and folk dance, guitar, and arts and crafts are also offered. The school also hosts a daily language exchange on the patio with the Mexican students learning English there, a unique opportunity to meet and chat with locals.

Accommodation: Homestay or some truly excellent apartments nearby owned by the school
More reviews: Like many smaller and less Internet-savvy Spanish schools, it can be difficult to find online reviews. TripAdvisor (reviews for the school’s apartments mixed with some school reviews), 123 Teach Me. Also try Googling “Baden-Powell school Morelia” as there are many positive mentions in various forums and blogs.

Best for: Students wanting to study at a small school in a beautiful city off the beaten tourist path

Pátzcuaro

This picturesque colonial village with deep pre-Hispanic roots is spectacularly sited on a lake surrounded by mountains. The area is world-famous for its artisan traditions and colorful Day of the Dead celebrations.

Center for Languages and Ecotours of Pátzcuaro (CELEP)

CELEP is a non-profit organization whose earnings fund the Center for Social and Ecological Studies (CESE), which promotes rural projects in education and environmental conservation in the Lake Pátzcuaro area. CESE is dedicated to fostering cross-cultural understanding of the indigenous Purhépecha people, culture, and homelands with sustainable tourism.

CELEP offers small classes and an abundance of cultural activities in addition to interesting lectures and workshops. Two-week course sessions begin every Monday throughout the year. Consider attending in November during Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), as the local Purhépecha celebrations are regarded as the most unique and beautiful in the country.

Accommodation: Homestay, hotel
More reviews: As a small non-profit, CELEP does not have a slick website or social media presence, and it can be difficult to find online reviews. Try Googling “CELEP Pátzcuaro” (without the quotes) as there are many positive mentions in various forums and blogs.
Best for:

  • Students interested in studying in an area of natural beauty with rich indigenous culture and artisan traditions
  • Students with a minimum of two weeks to devote to a group course

Southern Mexico

Oaxaca

Oaxaca Mexico procession

Oaxaca procession

Famed for its colonial architecture, rich cuisine, and colorful crafts, Oaxaca is unsurprisingly popular among Spanish learners. This relaxed and friendly destination is well-known for its indigenous peoples and cultures, and the state’s legendary folk dance festival Guelaguetza takes place in July.

Español Interactivo Language School

Traditional costumes, Oaxaca, Mexico

Traditional costumes, Oaxaca

This highly rated school located one block from the spectacular zócalo (main square) focuses on developing effective oral communication. Small classes with a maximum of three students emphasize speaking and listening with some emphasis on grammar.

Schedules are highly personalized with the goal of improving conversation ability, and there is great flexibility in choosing both the time of day as well as the number of classes. Español Interactivo also offers cultural excursions as well as special sessions on colloquialisms and specific grammatical concepts.

Accommodation: Homestay, hotel
More reviews: TripAdvisor, Yelp123 Teach Me
Best for:
  • Students seeking a highly personalized program with a flexible schedule focusing on conversation practice in a rich cultural setting
  • Students preparing for the International Spanish Diploma (D.I.E.) exam
  • Families with kids

San Cristóbal de las Casas

This lovely colonial mountain town surrounded by pine forests is a terrific place to learn Spanish. San Cristóbal is a major cultural and political hub for the indigenous peoples of Chiapas. Its cultural diversity and beauty have long made it a favorite among travelers, but there are still plenty of opportunities for language practice with patient, friendly locals.

Instituto Jovel

This top-notch school ideal for serious learners provides a lovely learning environment, with classrooms arranged around a beautiful courtyard. Class sizes are small.

Interesting electives include cooking classes as well as courses on the indigenous cultures of Chiapas, salsa and merengue dance, and history. Regular intercambios (language exchanges) with locals are also a possibility. Jovel also offers special programs for professionals like teachers and healthcare providers who need Spanish for work.

In addition to Spanish, Jovel provides language classes in English, German, French, Italian, and the Mayan languages Tzotzil and Tzeltal. This linguistic diversity attracts an interesting community of students and teachers with a wide range of ages and backgrounds.

Accommodation: Homestay, posada (guesthouse), apartment, or hotel
More reviews: TripAdvisor, 123 Teach Me
Best for:
  • Students seeking a serious language school with high-quality teachers and a commitment to immersion
  • Students interested in indigenous history and culture
  • Professionals who need Spanish skills and a knowledge of Mexican and Latin American culture for work

Yucatan

Mérida

Merida’s tropical climate and reputation as the safest major city in Mexico attract many snowbirds in the winter months. This delightful town has become justifiably popular as an expat mecca and a hotspot for Spanish learners.

Merida offers many cultural activities as well as interesting possible day trips. Recommended excursions include the pretty yellow Pueblo Mágico of Izamal, the Mayan archaeological site of Uxmal, the flamingos of Celestún, and the spectacular cenotes of Homún.

Zócalo (main plaza), Merida

Zócalo (main plaza), Merida

Habla’s students rave about its family atmosphere and deeply supportive, immersive approach to teaching and learning. Small, personalized classes balance the four blocks of language learning: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. While Habla might not be the cheapest school in Merida, it represents excellent value for money. For example, a delicious daily home-cooked breakfast and lunch at the school are included. Habla also offers frequent cultural outings as well as special thematic courses at different times of year on topics such as Day of the Dead or Mexican cuisine. A summer Spanish immersion course for kids is also available.

Accommodation: Homestay, hotel, hostel, apartment
More reviews: TripAdvisor, Yelp
Best for:
  • Serious students seeking a meaningful learning experience in a warm and supportive atmosphere with a focus on cultural understanding
  • Families with kids

La Calle

This relaxed, friendly school owned by a Mexican-French couple is centrally located in a gorgeous remodeled colonial house featuring a lovely tropical patio with pool. Group classes are from 9am-1pm each day; private lessons are also available. An on-site chef prepares a tasty gourmet lunch daily for a reasonable extra charge.

Excellent short city excursions and budget-priced weekend outings are available. Other optional school activities with a small fee include cooking classes and a weekly movie night on the patio.

For more details, read about my experience attending La Calle in 2018.

Accommodation: Homestay, hotel, hostel, or apartment
More reviews: TripAdvisor, Yelp
Best for: Budget-minded adult students seeking a sociable learning atmosphere in a relaxed, beautiful environment with the option of interesting excursions

Note: My blog does include ads, but I never accept any compensation or freebies for my reviews. If I recommend a business, it’s because I loved them and think you will too.


Photo credits:

– Escuela Mexicana: Photos by kind permission of Escuela Mexicana
– Instituto Jovel: Photos by kind permission of Instituto Jovel
– Biblioteca Central, UNAM: Carlos Alvz. Cor. on FlickrCC BY-ND
– La Condesa: By Marianasies [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
– Banner (Traditional costumes, Oaxaca): perceptions (on holiday) on Visual hunt /CC BY-ND
– 
Monarch butterfly at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve: jiuguangw on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA
– 
Pátzcuaro street: Timothy Neesam (GumshoePhotos) on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-ND
– 
Night of the Dead, Pátzcuaro: mickou on Visualhunt / CC BY 2.0
– Pátzcuaro sunset: Armando Maynez on VisualHunt.com / CC BY 2.0
– Oaxaca procession: perceptions (back in the universe) on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-ND
– Traditional costumes, Oaxaca: perceptions (on holiday) on Visual hunt / CC BY-ND
– San Cristóbal street: Rod Waddington on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA
– Street vendor, San Cristóbal: www.adachphoto.wix.com/portfolio on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA
– Embroidery, Chiapas: Pasha Kirillov on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA
– Pinterest image (Bougainvillea, Yuriria, Guanajuato, Mexico): Cristian Newman on Unsplash


Have feedback about studying Spanish in Mexico or a Spanish school recommendation? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


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Interested in learning Spanish in Mexico? Here are 12 of the best Spanish schools in Mexico, broken down by region. These are all programs I'm personally familiar with, or that have outstanding reputations.

30 Comments on “12 Wonderful Spanish Schools in Mexico (2018)

    • Hi Cardie, none of the private Spanish schools in Mexico City have consistently good reviews. UNAM’s CEPE seems like a very good program, but it’s difficult to find current student testimonials. I’m planning to research this more and add CEPE in a future update of this post.

      • Hola, Thanks for this great information. Do you know what schools might qualify for one to use 529 educational dollars? That’s money in the USA a parent can set aside tax free, usually used for a child’s college education. Our child got his 2 year degree and has no interest in going on to more years in college. so we have quite a few dollars we can use. The program has to have some kind of certification.

        • Hola, the schools that I know of that partner with US universities and give credit are Spanish Institute of Puebla and UNAM in Mexico City. You might start with SI Puebla as it’s a private for-profit school with an American director and will be more responsive than a public university. Good luck, and hope you can use those funds!

  1. Thanks so much, I will keep following and hope for some tracking by students. I enjoy your site.

    • Hi Cardie, I’ve added a section on Mexico City. Please check it out. Would love to hear about your experience if you go to CDMX.

  2. What an informative post! I have started learning Spanish as I fell in love with Mexico!

  3. Thank you so much for all of these recommendations! I have studied in Spain and Guatemala.. maybe Mexico will have to be next on the list!

  4. Great list!! I’ve been learning Spanish for years and would love to get back to do an immersion course somewhere. Especially somewhere I love like Mexico 🙂 Which is your fave school??

    • Hi Rebecca, my personal favorite so far has been Livit in Puebla. On my next visit I’m considering Instituto Jovel in San Cristóbal or CEPE in Mexico City, in part because they’re in places I’d like to spend an extended length of time. 🙂

    • None came up in my research (I think the best schools are inland), but I’m certain you could find reasonably good schools in popular places like Puerto Escondido or Playa del Carmen. Search on TripAdvisor or 123TeachMe. I would avoid the chain schools though and go for privately owned.

  5. Thank you so much for your wonderful post. Would you recommend any of these schools for an advanced level of Spanish?

    • Hi Rachael, that’s a great question as I’m an advanced student myself. I’d definitely return to Livit in Puebla, and plan at some point to spend six weeks in Mexico City or Taxco taking cultural courses at CEPE. Spanish Institute of Puebla, Instituto Jovel in San Cristóbal, and Habla in Mérida are other schools catering to the serious or advanced learner.

      Suerte and please let me know how you get on!

  6. Your list is great! I studied for 2 weeks many years ago in Playa del Carmen but I’ve got the bug again. I’m a pastor by profession and want to improve my Spanish especially for conversation & communication. I’ve got the basics and can hold my own when conjucating verbs; have had very little teaching of past tense and no teaching of future tense. I love learning more about the culture, but at 49 years old and married for 26 years, I’m beyond the partying scene if you know what I mean. Would probably prefer to not stay with a host family again (just set in my ways now) but that’s not set in stone. I would enjoy salsa dancing again; would love cooking classes; and am thrilled with history & ruins! What would you suggest from your list?

    • Hi Bradley, that’s wonderful you’ve gotten the Spanish bug again! I think several schools on this list could be a good fit. Both Escuela Falcon and Escuela Mexicana in Guanajuato offer diverse electives like cooking and salsa. Lots of history in Guanajuato and the surrounding area as well as a minor archaeological site. Instituto Jovel in the lovely colonial city of San Cristóbal offers dance and cooking, and you can visit the Palenque archaeological site from there. Habla in Mérida is a wonderful school (although perhaps best left for the winter months if you are heat-sensitive) and offers workshops in dance and cooking. There are many fascinating Mayan sites nearby to explore, and the colonial city of Mérida is a gem.

      All schools will help you find a nearby apartment or hotel, or you can find an Airbnb on your own near the school (that’s what I did last time in Mérida and it worked out well).

      I would recommend writing to the schools that interest you and going with the one that impresses you most! Buena suerte and please let me know how you get on!

  7. Hello!
    Thank you very much for this informative post!
    Which school could you recommend a student eithout experience, needing to get on the level B1 for a certificate?
    Greetings 🙂

    • Hi Lorelei, if it’s the DELE you need to pass, I would suggest a school with DELE preparation courses. Most of the schools on this list are focused more on conversational Spanish, but Spanish Institute of Puebla and CEPE in Mexico City are two that do offer DELE prep. You may also want to consider schools in Guatemala like Ixchel that offer DELE courses (I haven’t taken classes in Guatemala, but I know there are many excellent schools, and the costs are much lower). ¡Suerte! 🙂

  8. I’m so glad google led me to your blog! Great detailed information but it just left me wanting to go to all of them! As a single 40s woman who speaks French but now wants a 2 week jumpstart to learn Spanish, which school do you recommend? Livit sounds great, but I’m also intrigued by Escuela Falcon and the other ones that have cooking classes too. I’m planning on going this December.

    • Hi Erin, glad you found it helpful! It can be hard to choose, as each school has its pluses and minuses; that’s part of the reason why I keep going back and trying different schools! One thing to consider is the weather in December… central Mexico can be chilly at night, and houses do not have central heating, so that is something to consider if you are sensitive to cold. Places like Oaxaca or Mérida would be warmer, of course. What I would suggest doing is writing to the schools that interest you most and asking detailed questions. Usually you can get a better feel for the school from their responses, and one school will stand out as the best fit. Buena suerte and let me know how you get on!

  9. Thanks. I’m from Oregon so the cold doesn’t bother me! I’m deciding between Livit and Escuela Falcon. Which school do you think is better for total immersion and conversation time? The class schedule at Escuela Falcon is so different than the other schools. Did you feel like you learned enough taking a different class each hour?

    • For me personally I think I learn better taking four continuous hours of class from one excellent teacher, like the experience I had at Livit. I enjoyed the diversity of subjects at EF and being able to take fun classes on cooking and culture, but for focused language study for me Livit was better. Livit also has those two additional hours of conversation in the afternoon with the student guide, which are great for practicing speaking in a relaxed setting and providing an all-day immersion experience. Livit does cost more than EF, but you get 50% more class time for your money. I hope that helps.

  10. Muchas gracias! You provided excellent information on the options you presented. I want to try at least two weeks of immersion program but I’m uncertain whether any are suitable for an absolute beginner like myself. I know a few words of “survival Spanish” but that’s it – and of course, no grammar or written. Are there programs (I’m interested in smaller places but anywhere is good) you would recommend? I’m newly retired so cost is a consideration but I want to ensure I learn as much as my tires old brain will take in! I do appreciate that you are answering questions! Thanks so much.

    • Hola Jane, I think any of the private language schools on this list could accommodate an absolute beginner… language schools always have English-speaking staff, and the vast majority of students are beginner or intermediate. Smaller schools I would personally recommend for a first-timer include Escuela Falcon and Escuela Mexicana in Guanajuato, Livit in Puebla, Español Interactivo in Oaxaca, or Habla in Mérida. Escuela Falcon and Escuela Mexicana would probably be the least expensive, since you mention cost as a factor (and Guanajuato is just amazing!). If you are sensitive to heat and humidity, I would avoid Mérida outside of the winter months.

      May I add also that although the school will of course accommodate a complete beginner, you may find you get more out of your immersion if you do a little study beforehand, like a community college class. Mexicans are so wonderful and friendly, and you’ll have many opportunities for little conversations with your host family (if you decide to stay with one) and the locals. It’s one of the best parts of the experience to be able to connect with locals outside of class. 🙂

      • Thanks so much for your recommendations, Ingrid! I’m having fun researching. We love Oaxaca city and there is an appeal to exploring Mérida in the winter (and being warmer!) as we’ve just stayed there for a few days. However, Guanajuato sounds really nice (if chilly during winter nights!) and o love experiencing new places.
        Gracias!

        • When it comes to options for beautiful cities and good Spanish schools in Mexico, we are certainly spoiled for choice! Do let me know what you end up deciding! Suerte and enjoy! 🙂

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