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Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica - Instituto Estelar Bilingüe
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Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica - Instituto Estelar Bilingüe

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Super class and homestay experience!

Profesora Caroly was awesome!!!! She is super friendly and welcoming. She made the class very interesting and fun! She corrected me in such a way that I felt at ease. I was able to ask many questions, and she did not mind answering any of them. She is very engaging. I enjoyed the event called Spanglish. Everyone I interacted with at the school was very kind and friendly. Carmen and her family are very warm and welcoming. Carmen is always cooking, and making sure I have plenty to eat. Carmen took time to show me around the town, and introduced me to many of her family members. I loved talking with them, and hearing about their lives in Costa Rica. Carmen also made sure I was safe, which I appreciated. Carmen is a beautiful person.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Estelar is amazing!

We learned so much in such a short amount of time! I feel like I got a ton of exposure to the Spanish language! The class environment was very comfortable and enjoyable. The teacher was always happy and polite with us, despite our frustration with errors or challenges! It was so nice getting to know other Spanish students and practicing in a public environment! I love my classmate Louise! Everyone at Estelar is amazing !!!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Week courses highly recommended

I took five weeks of of the Spanish immersion program at Instituto Estelar, and each week I was amazed at how much I picked up in just one week. I really recommend taking these week-long courses. The Profesora Merlyn is a real gem and uses her fun personality to make the teaching fun. No long boring theoretical stuff about grammar! The class was really interactive with games and conversations. Fantastic teacher. The extracurricular activities are great cause you don't have the feeling you're in class, but you're still picking up Spanish in real life Costa Rica. Those patacones in cooking class were sabroso! I didn't volunteer for Club A, but happy that it's going on. I would like to be a part of it another week. Overall, great school, good coffee, nice people.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

So much learned in just one week!

The Beginner 1 Spanish immersion course was very fast paced, but profesora Caroly is a great teacher. The class was very fun! I can speak and understand way more Spanish now than at the beginning of the week. I enjoyed the other activities, however, I did not enjoy the activities being right after four hours of class. Too long for me! But I understand that they schedule them that way so that students don't have to come back later for an event. I couldn't attend Club A, but I hope to in the near future. Spanglish Social, the language exchange at Mariajuana Restaurant, was great for practice! The walking tour of Liberia was insightful and interesting - not just an explanation of historical buildings but an insider's view of the city. Overall, this experience was beyond my expectations: everyone and everything was fabulous!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Wonderful experience!

This intensive program was challenging but rewarding! I took the Beginner 1 course, and it gave me the vocabulary to build a strong foundation in Spanish and enabled me to begin having conversations with other Spanish speakers to be able to continue practicing. The teacher was interesting and patient and created a very safe learning environment so you do not feel embarrassed practicing. I would love to go on to the next level!

The teacher was fabulous! She kept class engaging and interesting while ecouraging conversation amongst students. She assigned enough homework to keep you very busy but it was acheivable and really helped to push your learning along. The teacher also only speaks to you in Spanish so you get used to hearing commonly used words and directions very quickly.

I had a blast during the program activities, especially cooking class and Spanglish Social. Learning to cook a typical Tico dish in Espanol was very interesting and useful!

Both the staff and facilities at Estelar were wonderful. Everyone is very welcoming, helpful and professional, and the school is bright, clean and organized.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Learning useful Spanish at Estelar

I've taken 7 weeks of the Spanish immersion courses at Estelar, and I love it. Very cool to use your newly learned skills in real life. Great learning program intensive but very interactive and fun to do. The teacher is fabulous - she plays a lot of verb games and we have a lot of real life conversation. I picked up some pretty handy Spanish sentences this week that I could use in every day conversation. I've had a very good experience with this teacher, had a lot of conversations this week, and made some good progress. She broke up activities with games and moved at the students pace. She asked if we were ready to move on or needed more time. She was friendy and encouraged questions. I love the Spanglish meet up and language exchange on Wednesdays at Mariajuana restaurant. Great staff and nice people - very helpfull when I needed help.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

I'm so happy I chose this program!

Merlyn is a fantastic professor! She is a natural teacher, being extremely clear and effective, while being consistent but gentle in her corrections. I have learned an extremely large amount in just one week! The activities were great and much fun! I really enjoyed learning how to cook a local dish and enjoyed the times with the other students at the Spanglish Social and with the children in Club A. (The cooking class was mostly with the basic students who preferred to speak in English, so it would be nice to have additional activities with students who match or exceed our current levels). Club A was truly fun!! Everyone has gone out of their way to be friendly and helpful! The facility is great and I'm so happy that I chose this program. My Madre Tica is Carmen, and the homestay has been one of the best parts of this experience! My host parents are incredibly warm and welcoming and go out of their way to help me feel comfortable and to help me learn Spanish! The food is excellent (and WAY more than I need!!) and I am truly enjoying their company. The house is spacious and neat with a beautiful backyard, great for studying!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Principiante 1 course: fun and effective!

I had my first genuine conversation, it lasted all of 2 minutes but a conversation nonetheless, in Spanish yesterday. There is a very nice man I see every day on my way to the school. He sweeps the streets in the morning and always offers me a “buenas dias” combined with a warm smile whenever I pass him by. Since yesterday was the last actual class I figured I might as well turn a simple good morning into some chit-chat. It is truly surprising what you pick up even without realizing it. I kept thinking “I wasn’t aware I knew that word”.
Today marked the end of a great week. Since this is an immersion class, it is pretty intense. You see a lot of material in a short time but since the classes are taught with such an energetic and playful note, it honestly doesn’t feel like 4 hours a day. The playful side also makes it somewhat surprising to realize that you suddenly know all these things. The more conventional ways of teaching have convinced us that every path to knowledge is grueling and spent with your eyes firmly locked on the pages of a book.
I would recommend these Spanish courses at Instituto Estelar to anyone who wants to have fun while they learn and wants to learn quickly. If you want to experience learning outside of a classroom, there are activities provided from cooking to working with the less fortunate children of this area. All in all, the experience would be far more rewarding than those we have all gotten used to.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Intensive learning experience!

I have learned so much with my classes. I took 4-hour classes every weekday for two weeks. 4-hour classes are not for everyone but for me personally, they did wonders for me. I cannot believe how much Spanish I've learned in such a short period of time! My teacher is absolutely amazing! She is so great at explaining things and speak in a way that you can always understand the words she is using in Spanish. Her teaching style was really great. I hope to take private classes with her in the future. It was nice to be shown the different places around town. We went to the farmer's market as well as a nice restaurant down the street.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Academics

    10

Positive experience at Estelar

They did a good job of evaluating me and placing me in the right program. The program seems well matched to my level, and moves at a good pace for me. The teacher Ana is exceptional. She is very organized and makes excellent use of class time. She is highly skilled, enthusiastic, and always positive in every interaction. She holds us to very high standards, but at the same time makes it enjoyable. The amount of homework seemed appropriate. The cooking class and trip to the farmers market and the cafe were all very interesting and helpful. The staff was always friendly and helpful.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

The best Spanish class ever

Ana was such a wonderful teacher! She spent time learning about us and adjusting the class to include things we are passionate about. She was always very patient and took time to explain anything that we were confused about. She was really really helpful always giving great advice and correcting us when it was necessary. She assigned homework but it wasn't overwhelming. I learned so much! I really enjoy the time that I spent volunteering with Club A. The kids are wonderful!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Better than expected!

The program was fantastic and exactly what I was hoping for (only better)! I learned so much, and for the first time in my life I felt comfortable really talking in Spanish (despite years of Spanish classes in high school and college).
Ana is defenitely the best Spanish teacher I´ve ever had. I realized really quickly working with her that so many of the classes I´ve taken before really failed to facilitate Spanish convesation. But Ana did a perfect job of making me feel comfortable enough to talk, but correcting me or helping me just enough so that I could keep improving without being too self-concious. I've been so impressed and surprised by how much I've improved working with her.

The extra activites were great, and I'm so glad they were available even though it was just me and Molly. Marta is awesome!

I really appreciated the help setting up my two visits to Rincon with Ofe--I did an excursion through a hotel over the weekend and my trips with him were much cheaper and much more fun!

All the teachers and staff were so friendly. This was my first time traveling alone abroad, and I really felt comfortable and welcome at the school.

Yelba was wonderful. I'm so glad I decided to stay with a family here. They were patient with me, generous, and Yelba was insistent that I practice my Spanish whenever possible. They included me in family activites and even took me to the beach on Mother's Day. I think two weeks here was not quite enough time for me to form a sort of lasting, permanent relationship with them, but I expect that I would have had I been here longer. I think it really helped that Yelba and David have children about my age--I met all of them (and their adorable nietos)--and it helped me feel like I fit in at their house. Oh, and Yelba's cooking is fantastic!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Loved it

Beyond my expectations; I'll tell everyone I know how great the Spanish immersion and homestay programs are! Dorita and her family are very nice. I have learned life lessons by living with them that I could not learn anywhere else. They make me feel at home, and only talk with me in Spanish. The house is clean. The food is plentiful and delicious. I could not have received a better host family. I will forever appreciate my experience with them.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Fun, engaging class!

Very helpful. Merlyn was fun & engaging. Enjoyed her teaching style. Too much homework- Just kidding! :) Everyone was very helpful- glad most spoke English very well! I am recommending Estelar to everyone I know, and plan to take skype classes with Estelar in the near future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Enjoyable experience

Teacher Ana was awesome! I so enjoyed my time here! I learned a lot. Fun and interactive. I stayed in Playa Hermosa and drove a rental car each day to class. Everyone was very helpful, and I was glad that most spoke English very well.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Cursos intensivos, interesantes y eficaces

Me ha gustado mucho el instituto durante esta semana y por eso volveré al instituto la semana próxima para aprender mejor. Cuando llegó a Liberia no conocía el instituto estelar, quería aprender español mejor, mejor español y fue bien recibida y los cursos intensivos son muy interesantes y eficaz. Muchas gracias al profesor y los empleados del instituto. Espero que que el instituto vaya a continuar enseñar. Buena suerte!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Expectations more than met!

The classes, instructor and home stay family more than met my expectations. I highly recommend El Instituto Estelar Bilingue. Walter is flexible in his methods and content of his classes. He readily changed the fixed lesson to concentrate on areas I felt I needed to practice. His flexibility and humor made the class both effective and fun.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Excellent school!

Excellent school, welcoming and super friendly teachers. They are willing to share some of their activities with you (yoga). Merlin es muy amable y me gusta que hay mucho tiempo conversar. Nunca tuve miedo hablar o preguntar algo. I have had so much fun this week. It makes learning a pleasure.
Happy to provide feedback for anyone considering coming who may have questions. I have enjoyed a number of extracurricular activities this week and look forward to more excursions.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

I hope to return to Estelar!

I have very much enjoyed my experience at Instituto Estelar. The staff are incredibly helpful, friendly and skilled. My teachers, Merlyn and Sonia, were absolutely lovely and very competent. I learned a lot!! I hope to come back again as this feels like home now.

I was able to participate in all the activities except the language exchange with English students. Spanglish was my favourite extracurricular as I was able to meet many of the teachers who were very friendly. Mariajuana restaurante, where Spanglish Social takes place, has great food and drinks! Club A is fun ... a bit loco with kid energy, and I am happy that the Instituto is trying to help needy children learn English. I will let my friends in Canada know about the fundraising for playground equipment and hope that some may decide to support this worthwhile project! I have been fortunate to take advantage of opportunities for excursions to rivers, falls and parks that were arranged through the school with a specific Spanish guide, Offi. He is very friendly, reliable and trustworthy.

My host family was very friendly and helpful. They welcomed me in and treated my like part of their family. I had my own room with a nice big ceiling fan, which was very helpful! I met other students there and we hit if off. Luckily the family lived very close to the school, for which I was grateful as I have a bad sense of direction.

I would be happy to return to the school for another learning experience. It is great that Liberia is not far from beautiful beaches as well! Thank you to all my teachers, Ana and Bethany, for your warm welcome!! Hasta luego!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

I keep coming back!

I have been to Estelar twice in the last two years. I have been very pleased with the instructors and with the amount of Spanish I have learned in my five weeks here. I highly recommend this school-they have extremely qualified instructors who teach in a fun and effective manner. Marta gave an interesting, educational and fun cooking class.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Excellent teacher

Ana is an excellent teacher. She is challenging, creative, energetic, and keeps her students engaged besides being just a good caring person. This comes from someone who has trained as a teacher,engaged in a variety of education forms, and loves learning. Many thanks, Ana and Instituto Estelar Bilingue!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Amazing immersion program!

I have just finished the one week Spanish Immersion Program and it was an incredible experience! My Spanish has improved so much in such a short time. The Spanish teacher was very charming, likeable and I never felt lost. It also helped me grow my confidence in talking in Spanish. I can take everything I have learnt and use it in real life context, which is awesome. Highly recommended!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Good experience!

It was a good experience. We came for only a week and having the school as a focal point made it fun and efficient. I feel that my Spanish improved and I got to know the city and area pretty well. I recommend Estelar.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & 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

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & 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 :)