Improve your school or college Spanish and GO ABROAD!
Studying Spanish abroad, at Intercultura Costa Rica in Heredia, was more amazing than anything I could have hoped for. I'm from Maryland, and studied Spanish in high school and college. But sometimes when I would speak Spanish, people would mention that I kind of sounded like I was reading from a textbook. No surprise there- I learned Spanish from textbooks! In 2014, I made up my mind that I would improve my Spanish by going abroad.
I took 2 weeks of classes at the Heredia City Campus, and lived with Tico (Costa Rican) families. The thing that struck me most was how upbeat and welcoming everyone was. My Spanish classes were 20 hours per week, and my teacher, Jesus, was excellent. The class was small- only three people- so we all had tons of speaking time. As we talked, Jesus would interject corrections of our grammar and pronunciation. He explained concepts I'd always struggled with in Spanish classes. I was impressed with the classroom - they had high-tech smartboards that allowed us to write, watch video, and even move objects around, like for a word-matching activity.
When not in class, I practiced Spanish with my host family, hung out with other people at Intercultura, and took trips. The Heredia location is 20 minutes from the capital, San Jose. From San Jose, you can travel anywhere by bus for $10 or less. Jaco is a party town on the beach; Cartago has a beautiful catheral and ruins hundreds of years old; Puerto Viejo is on the Caribbean coast; there are several volcanos you can check out.
At my homestay, my family prepared my meals and cleaned my clothes. They were very kind and hospitable. The staff at Intercultura is super helpful from the first day, when they took me on a walking tour of Heredia.
I really enjoyed my time studying Spanish in Costa Rica. I picked the perfect school.
Mike Schapiro, USA, former student and current ESL Teacher