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Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica - Instituto Estelar Bilingüe

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Excellent Spanish classes

I took a series of 2-hour Spanish lessons and greatly improved my ability to have a conversation. I was at the intermediate level and needed to get to a point where I was more functional with the language. Reading and writing comes fairly easily for me, but speaking and listening do not. That's where Walter's expert teaching skills came in! I am communicating with greater ease now. Thanks!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Great immersion experience

Spanish classes at Estelar are so much fun! Adriana is such a fun professor, always organized, and always interesting. It was a pleasure to take her class. Yelba, my host mom, was so kind and welcoming. I felt completely comfortable the entire time, and she was great about cooking and cleaning. She went above and beyond her required activities. Estelar is a great place to immerse yourself in Spanish :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Awesome teacher

Spanish classes at Estelar are so much fun! Adriana is such a fun professor, always organized, and always interesting. It was a pleasure to take her class. Fue excelente y divertido - Adriana es una maestra professional y de calidad.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Medical Spanish program

I loved my experience at Estelar! The teachers are very professional and are very good at teaching. The staff is kind and helpful. We worked at the hospital in the mornings and took Spanish in the afternoons. It was really great. My homestay family was amazing, and my favorite volunteer activity was Club A, hands down. The hike we did was wet but fun. I definitely recommend this school if you are interested in learning English or Spanish.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

An amazing week

I just completed my first week of Spanish class. I am an English teacher at Estelar, and so taking advantage of the Spanish classes was at the top of my list. This week was amazing. My Spanish is not strong and in 5 days I am so much more confident. A lot of words came back to me from high school. Lol. But best of all were the small classes with great teachers, the field trips and learning how to cook a Costa Rican favorite. I can't wait to take on this opportunity again. Gracias Merlyn!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Hands down, the best program!

Studying Spanish here was wonderful. The school environment is warm and welcoming, and I met a bunch of Costa Ricans who study English there. My favorite activity was Spanglish Social. Actually, I really loved volunteering at Club A too - those kids are amazing and super appreciative. I hope to go back soon, but in the meantime, I'm taking classes on Skype with my favorite teacher, Caroly. I definitely recommend this school!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Great immersion experience

This is a great immersion experience- demanding but if you want to learn Spanish- the classes and entire environment are very supportive. The teacher was very supportive of all learning styles and still managed to make it mostly conversational. Gracias, profesora Adriana!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Awesome Spanish teacher!

I had an excellent learning experience at Instituto Estelar. My teacher, Adriana, was terrific - very professional and we had at least 1/2 to one hour of conversation each class (sometimes more). I thoroughly enjoyed, and benefited from, every minute of class. The time flew by every day as class was so fun. It is hard to believe how much I learned from Adriana while having a good time. I will miss her very much.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

From Japan to Costa Rica!

It was a great experience for me to study Spanish in the Institute for 4 weeks, and to travel various places for 2 weeks in Costa Rica. Thanks of teachers of Spanish and other stuffs in the Institute and my host family, I could enjoy the lesson and the travel. The location of the Institute has an advantage that the beaches are not far away from the Institute, 1 hour by bus. I strongly recommend the Institute to the people who love both studying Spanish and marine sports like diving.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Increased confidence in Spanish

I came here to become more proficient in Spanish and the combination of daily classes, a homestay, and the extracurricular activities have given me increased confidence in being able to converse with people. The staff is very caring, helpful and friendly - always smiling! I feel very fortunate to have had Merlyn as my teacher! She really cared about my experience and made it very enjoyable. I loved the games! She was always very prepared and helpful. We probably spoke in Spanish 85-90% of the time! She even went out of her way to go with me for lunch and for helado! I will miss her!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Welcoming and fun school

Estelar Bilingual School has made my stay in Costa Rica much more welcoming and fun. Everyone is so friendly and helpful! And the classes are well planned and very informative. After just one week I already feel an improvement in my Spanish speaking. I am very happy I made the decision to study here!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Great experience for everyone!

I am very willing to give a recommendation and make many positive comments. Especially for older folks who might want to study outside the US. I also want to say that the family host program, at least with Yelba, is great. I highly recommend this school as a way to learn Spanish at your own pace among other serious students; to experience life in Costa Rica as a native; live with a Costa Rican family if you choose; learn to cook and then to eat your own Costa RIcan cuisine; and, of course, do all this in a warm climate. I am an older American and can assure you, this not just a school for kids, it's a great experience for anybody and everybody.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Great program! I would highly recommend!

Estelar Bilingue offers comprehensive Spanish instruction with knowledgeable and dedicated teachers. The learning environment is very fun and professional. I have a home on the coast, so I did not do the homestay program. I definitely recommend this school and plan on going back for more classes!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Me mucha gusta the school!

My boyfriend and I spoke little to no Spanish but now we have a strong base to work with when we go on to travel other parts of Costa Rica and Central America. The food and hospitality at the homestay was incredible and we loved going to the beach with our homestay family and practicing our spanish on the weekend! A definite highlight was volunteering with Club A, working with the ninos was an absolutly incredible experience.Overall I definitely recommend this school!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Amazing week full of learning!

Estelar Bilingue was an amazing place to learn Spanish. I was only here for one week and learned so much, it made me able to speak basic Spanish for the remainder of my Costa Rican adventure. I would reccomend it to anybody! I think my teacher Merlyn did a great job of helping us speak basic Spanish, which is why we took this class. Also, if it is possible, I think it would be awesome if there was an opportunity to have a homestay at her house in the mountains because it is an amazing and beautiful place. Thank you for helping me learn Spanish! Hasta luego y muchos gracias.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Best experience - they go the extra mile for you

I am a Costa Rican native that live in the US. I wanted my 6 year old son to attend a Spanish class on this year's visit to Costa Rica. He understands Spanish but doesn't speak very well. There are not many schools that provide lessons for children, so I was very happy to find Instituto Estelar Bilingue. We were there at the end of June and they didn't have other children for the class so I was a bit concern that my son wouldn't have other children to interact with him. To my surprise the teacher's niece (a Costa Rican) joined my son for the class. She didn't speak English. It was the best experience for my son. They played together and understood each other in a way that surpassed my understanding. My son's Spanish improved and his confidence went through the roof. He believes that he is fluent. He still has a long way to but we had the best experience there. All the staff there is incredible! We loved loved Merlyn, his teacher, she is fantastic!

My husband also took a class there with Sonia and he enjoyed it a lot. Maybe he gets around to post a review! We would totally do this again!

We stayed in Hotel Boyeros (which we enjoyed) so don't have anything to say about the live-in arrangements.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Skype classes

I am a working professional with a desire to learn a second language. I have been taking classes through Skype with Sonia for 9 months and have truly enjoyed it. Sonia goes the extra mile to make learning fun, even coming up with games to facilitate learning. Her patience with me is truly legendary, especially in the beginning when I wasn't that familiar with Google drive or Skype. I have had times, also when my schedule has changed and she has been incredibly flexible as well. She has become a friend to me. Ana is a great manager of the program, a true professional, responds quickly to questions, and is very helpful. This program is truly amazing and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a second language and only has an hour or two of free time in their week. You don't have to go anywhere, you can learn a language with a native speaker, getting one-on-one lessons from your couch. The price is very reasonable as well.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Me Gusta Mucho!

Spending two weeks in Costa Rica studying at Instituto Estelar Bilingue was an amazing and life-changing experience. My primary goal was to learn enough Spanish to be able to handle simple communication with my students' parents. I did that and so much more. I made friends and got to explore a country and culture very different from my own.

I can't recommend the school enough. The Spanish program director made sure that I was comfortable and got to explore everything from national parks to museums to farmers' markets. The teachers--I had a different one each week--were warm, knowledgeable, and demanding; I learned a lot working with them. The other people at the school--staff and students--made me feel welcome and included me in activities. One of my favorite parts of the program was getting to volunteer with Club A, a program the school sponsors for children in a nearby town. My host family was lovely. They made me feel welcome in their home and included me in family activities.

I was homesick my first few days in Costa Rica--it was a challenge being in a country where I didn't know anyone or speak the language. Thanks to the support and warmth of the people at Instituto Estelar Bilingue, I soon felt at home and was very sad when my two weeks were over. I hope to go back to Costa Rica and to the school one day in the not-too-distant future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

I needed to improve my speaking skills

I graduated with a degree in Spanish Education and had studied abroad in Peru, but when it came time to take my teaching exams I knew that my speaking skills were not good enough to pass the tests. I knew that what I needed was more practice with native speakers. I chose the instituto estelar bilingue because of the reviews, helpful communication administration and because it was NOT located in a tourist town. I needed to learn to speak Spanish, not get by with speaking English!

I started with a few Skype lessons with Sonia. She made me feel much more confident about the idea of taking off to a country where I didn't really know anyone.

In late May, I arrived in Liberia. A driver with the school picked me up from the airport, along with another student. Our host family was very welcoming and patient with our Spanish. Our host mom took us for a walk around Liberia and showed us how to get to the school. Every morning she made us a huge breakfast and made sure we had everything we need for school. (Llaves? Botella de agua?) They took us to the beach, the pool at their daughter's house and even drove me to the bookstore so I could buy more books in Spanish.

My experience at the school was wonderful. I had two very effective teachers that I learned a lot from. We concentrated on speaking skills, which was just what I needed. They used a variety of teaching methods: songs, stories, culture, short videos, games etc.

When I returned to the United States, I took the teaching exams again and was happy to find out that I passed both the North Dakota and Minnesota teaching tests. I am now comfortable conversing with people in Spanish, and I feel that I am a better teacher because of my experience at el instituto.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Friendly and Accomodating

The more I work the easier I advance. Estelar provides an excellent framework for learning a language. Everyone is friendly and accommodating. The school is run very effecively.
Estelar provided me with a wonderful and patient teacher. We worked together for the week and I have learned a great deal more than I ever expected. It is great to be part of this type of learning experience in another country. Liberia is a very safe city with kind people. I recommend the homestay.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Perfect for Expats!

We feel very fortunate to have found this school to teach us español! The staff and teachers are fantastic, knowledgeable and professional. I would highly recommend the Institute to expats moving to this country who want to immerse themselves in the language!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    7

Great Experience

I found Instituto Estelar Bilingue through a random online search. All the reviews I read about it were positive so I decided to try it out. I never been to Liberia before but I have been to other parts of CR, so I was a bit nervous.

Starting from day #1, everyone was friendly. Got a ride from the airport. Host family were very hospitable and engaged the students in daily conversations in Spanish.

Class groups were small, allowing for good teacher: student interaction. At times we had 4 students, sometimes I was the only student. But regardless it was fun and I felt I was learning a lot.
There are several activities to partake in at the school and outside the school.

In terms of extra activities, if you wanted to visit local areas or beaches, staff is able to help you plan your trip. I was able to get away on some weekends just to relax further and explore.

My only wish was that the town was a bit more active but in a way, it wasn't too much of an issue as I also wanted to relax. Again I have been to CR 2x before so I already got the touristy stuff out of my system.

I was there for several weeks and at first I really thought that's such a short time to learn anything. Well I definitely learned more than I expected.
I can watch Spanish shows now with decent understanding of what's happening, my reading has also improved tremendously. It definitely gave me the confidence to believe that I can learn Spanish.

An immersion program, such as one offered at Estelar is great because you are forced to speak the language especially because most people in the neighborhood speak Spanish. And you are in an environment where you don't feel intimidated to speak the language.
I would definitely recommend this school. Bethany and her team are doing a fantastic job.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

1 week intensive course (Introduction to Spanish / Basic)

I attended the course in mid April of this year (2015), and had a wonderful experience!

The staff is fantastic; they are friendly, knowledgeable, and go out of their way to make you feel at home while at the school. The program was VERY challenging (there's really no way around it, immersion is HARD), but I was really amazed at how much I was able to learn in such a short time. I feel like I probably got the equivalent of a semester of college level instruction in the span of one week.

I highly recommend this program to anyone who is interested in learning spanish quickly while visiting a beautiful country full of friendly people!

One thing I wouldn't advise is doing what I did: going at the absolute HOTTEST time of the year... It was pretty brutal. But on the plus side, it wasn't super busy with tourists, and the tourists that were there tended to stay in their air conditioned buses and hotels :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Academics

    10

Best Experience Ever

After studying Spanish for 12 years between high school and university, I came to Estelar and I had the best experience ever in a Spanish classroom. Whether you are a beginner, brushing up on what you've already learned, or just practicing pronunciation, the teachers are always full of energy and happy to help. Plus the activities outside the classroom are fun, awesome, and helpful as well! :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Academics

    10

Best place to learn!

If you're looking for something real and special, you have to come here and be part of the Institute... this is the best place to learn English or Spanish! The Clubs are awesome and it doesn't matter how old you are. In summary, every day you learn something new so, why you not begin learning another language....