Total immersion is the best and quickest way to learn a new language. There is no nicer place to learn, than in a Spanish immersion experience at the two Costa Rican campuses of Intercultura Language School and Cultural Center.
I made my greatest strides toward Spanish fluency while studying with the excellent professors at Intercultura.
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Why Study Spanish in Costa Rica?
I wrote a whole article about this topic. In summary:
- In Costa Rica, the overall education level is high.
- The Costa Rican accent is clear and easy to understand.
- Costa Rican culture is pleasant.
- There are a plethora of activities to enjoy during your free time, like surfing, yoga, dancing, hiking, horseback riding, ziplining, and more.
- It is a safe country.
- Tuition and expenses are reasonably priced.
Why Study Spanish at Intercultura?
The professors at Intercultura are the best.
I arrived at Intercultura as a high intermediate level student. By the end of my first week, my professor, Jesús guided me to accomplishments that I had not imagined upon arriving. At the end of my first week, I had already read and enjoyed a Gabriel Garcia Marquez short story; I could have an intelligent conversation about Latin American history and culture as reflected in the songs of reggaeton group, Calle 13; and, I could tell a few jokes in Spanish.
The courses are designed to achieve the maximum amount of language learning in the minimum amount of time while providing an opportunity to learn about Costa Rican culture.
Many of the Spanish professors at Intercultura hold a master’s degree or equivalent in a language-related field.
Study on the beach and study in the city.
Intercultura is unique in that they offer classes in two locations. The beach campus is located right on the beach in Playa Sámara. The city campus is located in downtown Heredia, a vibrant and walkable city.
Both locations offer a unique experience. If you can study for multiple weeks, you should consider studying at both locations.
Beach campus in Playa Samara
Intercultura is the only accredited Spanish language school in Costa Rica with a campus right on the beach.
It’s located in Samara Beach (or Playa Sámara), on the side of the Nicoya Peninsula, on the Pacific coast. It’s about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport in Liberia or about four hours from Juan Santamaría Airport in the Central Valley.
Most students are in Spanish language class for four hours per day, which leaves time for outdoor activities, like surfing, horseback riding, hiking, swimming, yoga, dance class, and just hanging out on the beach.
The vibe in Sámara is relaxed and chill. Bathing suits, t-shirts, and sandals are normal attire. Horses and chickens share the road with pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, and automobiles.
Most students choose to do a homestay, living in the home of a local Costa Rican family. For many students, this is among their best experiences in Costa Rica, building deep relationships with their homestay family.
If the idea of living with a host family doesn’t fit with your situation, do not fear. They aren’t the only lodging option in Sámara. There are apartments, hotels, and hostels, too.
The beach campus also hosts an annual Team Summer Camp for high school students.
Vibrant city campus in Heredia
Intercultura’s city campus is located in downtown (or el centro de) Heredia.
Heredia’s centro is a vibrant and walkable urban area with parks, churches, markets, shops, a train stop, and a famous fort.
La Ciudad de las Flores isn’t a popular area for tourists like Playa Sámara; however, It’s a great place to get into the rhythm of authentic Costa Rican life. I think that cultural immersion experience is special in Heredia.
Within five blocks of the school, you’ll find at least five good restaurants, a legendary cantina, a newly remodeled city park, a fitness center, the bustling central market, and the local professional soccer team’s stadium.
Heredia is my home in Costa Rica. I met many of my friends while studying in Heredia and developed an affinity for the local soccer team, Club Sport Herediano. El Team (as the team is often known, has won 28 Costa Rican Premier Division Championships and in 2018 they won the international CONCACAF League championship.
Herediano games at Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero stadium, near the school, are really, really fun if you’re a sports fan. The atmosphere is incredible for a big game!
A short bus ride away from the school is Oxígeno Human Playground, a world-class mall, and activity center. There are activities like climbing walls, a running trail, and a playground. There are restaurants and a variety of stores, including an iCon store which is the country’s authorized Apple vendor.
The Britt coffee plantation is near the school, just north in the town of Barva. Some students enjoy lunching together in Britt’s cafeteria while practicing conversational Spanish.
The school offers dance lessons and cooking lessons, in addition to Spanish programs.
Intercultura students have the opportunity to take enjoyable excursions throughout the country (and sometimes to Nicaragua and Panama) with the school’s own in-house tour guide, Jerry Arend.
Jerry might be the coolest and nicest person in Costa Rica (and that is saying something). I’ve participated in multiple excursions with Jerry. Every one of them was a fantastic experience.
Some excursions are short weeknight trip to a local restaurant that overlooks the Central Valley and offers folkloric shows and cultural activities for visitors. Other excursions with Jerry include weekend trips to the outer reaches of the country.
Caring school family.
Intercultura has a family feel. As a student, I always felt like someone was looking out for me. Every member of the school’s staff is friendly and eager to help students get acclimated to the language learning challenges and the culture shock that some students experience at first.