Student Review of the Week - Glenn from the US, 56

Let me preface my statements with a little bit about myself.

I have attended numerous schools in the past 40 years (though none were language schools).

I have had good experiences and not so good. I was also an instructor at a mid-grade Army officer school for 6 years where I provided classroom facilitation for approximately 20 hours per week. I am trained in Adult Education and have extensive of the Experiential Learning Model. Not boasting - just trying to show that I am not your "run of the mill" old guy taking classes.  That being said, let me begin.

I attended the Centro de Idiomas Intercultura for 8 weeks.

I began with nearly 0 knowledge of Spanish...just a few words and phrases, and had no speaking ability outside of "hello" and "good bye". I was truly starting from scratch. To say that I was nervous would be an understatement. I was nervous, intimidated and very apprehensive of taking an intensive immersion Spanish course. As it turns out, my fears were unfounded.

I found that Intercultura as a whole was a superb school.

It is professionally run by a staff that actually cares about the students, not just bringing in more money. Everyone that I spoke with was professional, courteous and excellent in their tasks. From Don Carlos greeting us at the gate, to Geovanna's smile and welcome, to Marcelo asking how I am doing -  I always felt welcome. Sydney, you were also warm and inviting whenever we spoke - always smiling - always happy.

I was blessed (yes, blessed...not lucky) to have been placed in Hannia Castro's class with just me and one other student in the class.

That student was also a beginner with almost no Spanish experience. We were well suited to be in the class together. Professora Hannia is simply amazing. I was intimidated by her limited English vocabulary, but that actually worked out well and forced me to learn more. She is full of energy, animated, and has an amazing ability to get the lessons across. She didn't concentrate on lessons in the book. Rather, she provided other activities that allowed us to build on our language vocabulary and abilities. Repetition and practice were her keys to learning. She made learning fun. Over the next 3 weeks I was able to get to know more about her as a person. I found her to be compassionate and caring and it is quite obvious she has a big heart. She is always positive, has a smile of her face and is quick with a laugh. I am so thankful that I had her for my second through fourth weeks. I believe that if it had been anyone else I may have given up.

I also had Professora Hannia for my last week, which really made me happy.  I was in the class with one other student who was above me in his abilities. Even in that, I believe that I improved as a result of the challenge. Despite my not being at a level where I should be after 8 weeks of schooling (my opinion), Hannia was very encouraging and helped me to understand that I have so much more in my head than I think I do and that I simply need to work on getting it organized and practice, practice, practice.

Week 5 was a change of pace.

I had Jorge as my professor and he, too, was super. He actually determined what my best learning style was and adjusted his classes to fit my style. He provided information in a more logical, simpler format that literally flipped a switch in my brain and helped me to better understand conjugation of verbs that were elusive before. He also provided many other cultural and creative bits throughout the week. He was very encouraging and actually helped me to feel better about my (seeming) lack of progress. He helped me to be less critical of myself.

Next was Monica. I believe that we spoke...actually spoke...more in her class than in the others. Perhaps this is because we actually had more knowledge and abilities by this time. Monica was terrific. Her energy and caring was contagious. The class worked great and I learned much from being with the other students.

Finally, there Carolina. Week 7 had me in a class with 3 others that were just a little more skilled than I, which helped me learn that much more. Carolina kept the class interesting, provided appropriate in class and after class work. She was patient with me and encouraged us all. She had a dry wit about her and was very personable.

Bottom line is this: Centro de Idiomas Intercultura is an outstanding place of learning.

The curriculum is culturally appropriate and tailored for the location. But what makes the school great is the staff and faculty. I am greatly impressed with the quality of the professors and the caring and compassion of the staff. I could not have asked for a better experience. I am a long way from where I would like to be at this point, but I am so much further along than I was.

I hope to be able to continue classes when I return. I will also encourage others to attend Intercultura Costa Rica. As Hannia put it: Un buen professor primero un buen corazón. Your professors have great hearts.

Glenn Strickland, December 2018, majorstrickland@yahoo.com