I love to travel and I knew that immersion would be the best way for me to learn Spanish. I was able to practice with my homestay family and with all the locals.
Why did you choose Intercultura Costa Rica?
I love that Intercultura has both a city and beach campus and I spent one week in each location. This gave me an opportunity to see more of Costa Rica and experience the different cultures across the country.
What was your favorite part about Costa Rica?
I found the local people to be very friendly. Also the traditional food in Costa Rica is very vegan friendly and super tasty!
What made your experience abroad unique?
It was really awesome to meet people from all over the world and make new friends.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
The staff was great helping me set up my homestay, offering different free classes during the week like zumba, yoga, and latin dance, and organizing weekend trips with other students around the country.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
I wish I would have stayed longer!
Describe a typical day in the life of your program.
I would wake up early with the sun, then have breakfast with my host family. I'd walk to campus, which took about 5-15 minutes, then enjoy class for four hours during the day. After class I would usually have lunch with my classmates at a local soda (little local cafes with cheap food). Then we'd have dance class or yoga. In the evenings in the city I would go home to have dinner with my host family and chill. At the beach location we would often hang out at the beach enjoying happy hour drinks, and go dancing in the evening.
What did you enjoy doing in your free time?
I took advantage of all the free classes offered at the school. Spent time with students, studying Spanish and trying to speak with the locals. At the beach there's tons of surfing and beach volleyball.
What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?
In both the city and beach location I had wonderful accommodations! My own room and bathroom in each house, walking distance to the school. Each family was able to accommodate my vegan diet and I had the most delicious food cooked for me.
What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?
It's best to go into a study abroad program with no expectations. Especially if you haven't traveled the world much. Going to a different country may have different customs and culture than you are used to, so go with the flow.
What was the hardest part about doing a Spanish immersion program abroad?
I didn't realize that the classes would be only in Spanish. This makes sense because it helps you learn faster but it can also be frustrating. Definitely brush up on your Spanish before doing classes by using the Duolingo app. I did that for a month before I started classes and it was very helpful! Also the Spanish Dict app was a lifesaver to have on my phone.
What surprised you most about Costa Rica?
I was surprised by how expensive it is. I read and was warned that it's the most expensive country in Central America, but I wasn't expecting it to be the same, if not more expensive than things in my hometown of Dallas, Texas. The best way to save money is to stay in hostels or do the homestay if your school offers that. Also eat traditional food in little cafes called sodas. You can get a huge plate of food for not more than $4. If you are going to trendy or touristy restaurants you can expect to pay $10-15 for your meal and if you get an alcoholic drink it will be substantially more.
If you could learn a new language abroad again, where would you go?
I plan to spend a month in Colombia to do Spanish courses as well. I've heard that is a great place to learn and that it's very beautiful! Hopefully the people will be as nice as the Ticos.
Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to Costa Rica?
It is very hot in Costa Rica and most places aren't air conditioned (except the school) like I'm used to in the United States, so pack appropriately. I was hot and sweaty pretty much the whole time. For females, many light dresses, skirts, shorts, and tanks were essential. Light fabrics that dry quickly are great.
Now that you're home, how has your program abroad impacted your life?
I loved my experience with immersion learning so much that I plan to go to other countries and continue my studies!
Would you recommend Intercultura Costa Rica to others? Why?
Totally! The teachers at the school were amazing. I feel like I actually learned a lot and retained the information. When I would chat with the locals they were shocked I only had two weeks of classes. I highly recommend immersion learning if you want to learn a new language!
Christy Morgan has been tantalizing taste buds for years as a vegan chef, cooking instructor, food writer, and cookbook author. She is a NASM-certified personal trainer and yoga teacher spreading the message of health and happiness across the globe.