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FAQs and Links
For a good deal on cell phone usage while you're in Costa Rica, please see PicCell Wireless' special offer for Intercultura students.
Where is Intercultura located?
Intercultura has two campuses in beautiful Costa Rica.
|Our Heredia campus is located in the colonial and university town of Heredia, in the downtown area, 5 blocks from the Central Park, 2.5 blocks from el Palacio de Deportes Gym and Heredia's soccer stadium, 4 blocks from the Central Market, and 12 blocks from Costa Rica National University.|
|Our Sámara campus is located directly on the beautiful sand beach of Sámara in the Guanacaste province. Playa Sámara is a small rural pueblo on the Northern Pacific Coast that is close to Nicoya, the colonial capital of the region, as well as several indigenous areas where traditional Costa Rican pottery and handicraft are still made.|
Can I study at both campuses or only at one?
Yes, of course! Our students can spend half their time in the city and half their time on the beach to get the best possible immersion experience. You can start with one or more levels at one campus and continue at the other one without any interruptions in your learning process due to the consistent teaching methodology and class structure at both schools.
What is the difference between the Heredia campus and the Sámara campus?
Though the Spanish programs and academic standards are the same in both campuses, the location is the major difference between the two. In Heredia you can experience the bustling and yet welcoming city environment, while in Sámara Beach you can enjoy the tranquil beach life of a rural costarican beach town.
Heredia is a major city and transportation hub located just outside of San José offering the same sort of comforts and accommodations common to large cities.
Sámara is a small, rural beach community located on the Pacific coast of Guanacaste, approx. 5 hours from San José.
What are the texts and method used?
Intercultura uses its own language textbooks, CDs and DVDs, plus supplementary texts, realia, current events materials, newspapers, films, news programs, literature, interviews, etc. The method used is the Communicative Approach, emphasizing communicative skills in real-life settings. A strong cultural component contextualizes the language for meaningful learning.
Do you offer advanced levels of Spanish Classes?
Yes, we have advanced and superior levels that have been approved by Duke University, Montana State, Lindenwood University, and Austin College among others for both undergraduate and graduate level credit in our regular intensive or semester programs. We often have Spanish teachers and other advanced speakers come for refresher courses, or to study cultural and literary course-topics.
Can I get university credit through Intercultura?
Intercultura gives U.S. transfer credit through an associated U.S. university for an extra fee, or by set programs through colleges such as: University of Washington, Austin College, UNC/Duke University, & Montana State College.
When do classes start?
New classes start every Monday, except when that Monday falls on one of Costa Rica's National Holidays.
When is the Heredia campus closed?
The school is closed on Costa Rican National holidays including the following dates: January 1, Semana Santa (Holy Week), April 11, May 1, July 25, August 15, October 12, and 1 week at Christmas.
How long are the classes?
Group classes are taught for 4 hours per day Monday to Friday, for a total of 20 hours per week. There are 2 short breaks given during those 4 hours. Our class structure is broken down into one unit per week, so students can study with us for as little as a week, or as long as a year or more.
How often will I change teachers?
Students often change teachers every one or two weeks.
Can I take private classes?
During the low season, we are happy to provide both private and semi-private classes. During the high season, there are sometimes not enough resources available to provide private classes, so they generally cannot be confirmed until the week before, although group classes are always available.
What are the average ages of students at Intercultura?
In order to take regular group classes, students must be 18 or older. We also offer special programs for other age groups, such as our Teen Camp sessions for students ages 13-18.
Age Range by month, in percentages:
February, March, April, May
June, July, August
Sept, Oct, Nov & Dec
Are kids accepted into regular group classes?
In order to attend our group classes, students must be 18 or older. However, we offer specialized teen programs from July to August, and young students (including children) can often take private classes with us during our low season.
Students under 18 may be eligible to register for private classes, please contact us for more information.
Do you have any childcare for children that are not studying?
Yes, this is offered at very affordable rates, generally in the homestay, with the “señora” of the family.
How many students are there in a regular group class?
Group classes have a maximum of 6 students, with an average of 3 to 4 students during our low season and 4 to 6 during our high season.
What will my host family be like?
We have carefully selected our host families and trust you will find them to be helpful, welcoming and friendly throughout your stay. Keeping that in mind, please do not expect the same standard of living as in your own country. Families are generally middle-class, which means you may be sharing a bathroom or sleeping on a bed with a foam mattress and you will see your fair share of insects!
How do I get to the school or my homestay from the airport?
We include free airport pick-up in Heredia for students staying with a host family, and students staying in local hotels can either get their own taxi at the airport, or through Intercultura. Emergency contact numbers for any arrival problems are included in the confirmation package.
What other activities does the school offer?
Activities included in your tuition include Latin dance, cooking, intercambios (conversational exchanges with native Costa Ricans), films, study halls, typical Tico festivals, football or volleyball games, book fairs, yoga, story-telling with music, arts and crafts, community service projects and presentations or talks. We also offer periodic special activities such as concerts, art exhibits, plays, soccer games, and eco-hikes. Tours and excursions can be created at the request of students at additional cost.
Are there any tours/excursions available?
Our on-staff tour guide or reception can organize half day, one day, or weekend trips for students, or if you are more of a do-it-yourselfer, they would be happy to give you travel advice. Tours are not included in the class price, so students will need to plan accordingly. Since classes end on Fridays, groups often leave directly after class for their various excursions and return by Sunday evening to be ready for the following week's classes.
Can Intercultura help me find volunteer work?
Yes. This is set up through our volunteer coordinator, and you can follow the link to find out more information about our Volunteer Program. Depending on which campus you are studying at, we offer different volunteer placements, such as turtle conservation projects, local health clinics, elementary or high schools, national parks, and much more.
Will I have access to e-mail at the school?
Yes, we have school computers available to students at no cost, and free wireless. If students prefer, they can also go to a local internet café.
How do I get from the Heredia city campus to the Samara beach campus or vice versa?
We can arrange a private shuttle for groups of 7 or more people between the campuses at a reasonable cost. Most students however, opt for the public bus (approximately $8 one way) or hire a private shuttle such as Interbus.
What is the weather like in Costa Rica?
It is rainy in the afternoons/evenings from May to November. Light rains from May to August, heavier from September to November. Climate is usually still warm and sunny in mornings. The best time to come depends on whether you prefer smaller classes (in low season, August – December), no rain (late November to May), or to be here in high season (Jan-March and late May to August). Temperatures average around 86-95 F (30-35 C) year round.
What should I bring with me to Costa Rica?
In the city most people wear jeans/skirts, t-shirts, tank-tops, etc. with comfortable shoes. Also bring a couple sweaters and a light jacket for evenings and some excursions as it can get cool in the mountains. At the beach, people wear shorts, skirts, tank-tops and sandals/flip-flops. You may occasionally need a long-sleeved t-shirt at the beach at night. While each students' needs will be different, we generally recommend the following:
Shorts, casual pants/skirts, jeans, hat/cap, sweater/sweatshirt, t-shirts/tank-tops, swim suits, 1 set of dress-clothes, dress shoes, sneakers, sandals/flip-flops, towel/washcloth, notebook & pens, all prescription medicine (as it may not be available here), sunscreen lotion (30 SPF or more), Spanish travel dictionary, insect repellent/bug spray, sunglasses, tote bag/day backpack, ziploc type bags (to keep stuff from getting wet), umbrella, rain jacket/poncho, ear-plugs, reading material, camera, alarm clock, first-aid kit (w/ allergic reaction medications), small flashlight, contact-lens solution, cell phone (rent one or activate your own for use in Costa Rica).
We provide the following links that may be of interest to our students during their time in Costa Rica.
Travel in Costa Rica:
Before you depart, check Costa Rica's visa requirements: http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/informacionturistica.asp
Promotions for Intercultura Students! http://costa-rica-travel-and-vacations.com/ Write "INTERCULTURA" in the Promotional Code.
Bus Schedules constantly change in Costa Rica. Check here for the latest schedules and reconfirm once you arrive.
Costa Rica Transportation services, offers shuttles, private services, car rental and domestic flights.
Information on Costa Rica:
Read about the REAL Costa Rica.
Looking for help to plan your trip to Costa Rica? Check out the Costa Rica Trip Guide.
Costa Rica Canopy Tour Costa Rica Nature & Adventure Park near San Jose Costa Rica offering Canopy Tours, Zip lines, Nature Tour and many more adventures suitable for the whole family.
Cell Phone Rentals:
Costa Rica cell phone rental: Costa Rica pre-departure cell phone rentals
You can also rent/buy cell phones and SIM from the kiosks in the International Airport (SJO) upon arrival to Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Surf, Travel Site & Volunteer sites:
- Surf information throughout Costa Rica
- Tide Charts for Sámara and Nosara areas
- Surf School in Sámara
- Volunteer near Sámara with First Hand
Language Travel Destinations
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Learn a language in the country in which it’s spoken!
Apple Languages offer French courses in France, Italian in Italy, German in Germany, English, Portuguese, Russian and Greek courses.
Cactus language training provides regular training in over 15 languages for individual, corporate and public sector with an online
TEFL Resources -- TEFL certification programs at our Costa Rica Beach and City campuses.