Written by Katie Horch
As a foreigner studying Spanish in Costa Rica, it is my responsibility to leave this beautiful country every 90 days to renew my visa. I understand that there are many others out there in similar positions, and although it may seem a little ridiculous to leave every 90 days, who doesn’t enjoy a short and sweet vacation every three months?

Costa Rica is fulfilling its commitment to be friendly to the environment!  Anyone who has visited the Central Valley knows how strong the wind can be and now Costa Rica has decided to harness that wind and turn it into energy.

Workers are constructing the first wind farm in the country’s Central Valley near Santa Ana, just south of San Jose. The project is expected to become operational in August 2012, according to CNFL, a subsidiary of ICE, and will produce enough electricity to power about 6,000 residences.




There's no better place or time to study Spanish than in Costa Rica!  Costa Rica is home to a staggering amount of biodiversity--creatures big and small, plant life, from mountains to two sunny, beach-lined coasts. 

Close to our Spanish school in Samara, turtles are making their way to lay their eggs in Ostional, Costa Rica, a phenomenon known in Spanish as "arribada" or a mass emergence from the ocean.  Thousands of "tortugas lora," or olive ridley turtles nest here each year in the refuge that was created in 1984.  Prior to 1984, there were no laws prohibiting or regulating the removal of turtle eggs from the beach. 

At the Sámara campus of Intercultura Spanish School, woodworking and artesian classes have begun in partnership with Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (INA).  Intercultura donates space and logistical support to the INA in their first Sámara cooperative. The Coop strives to use excess wood productively, in accordance with its mission to promote sustainable development and employment opportunities for locals.

Last week, Costa Rica lost a famous member of Siquerres: a 450 kilo crocodile named Pocho.  Pocho was rescued by Chito, a local farmer who nursed the massive croc back to health over 20 years ago.  When Pocho healed, Chito tried to release him back into the wild, but Pocho followed him back home.  A 20-year long friendship began and Pocho and Chito began playing together, much to the delight of visitors to this small city.  Pocho didn't show the typical signs of aggression one would expect from a 5 meter long crocodile and Chito treated him like a pet.  For more information on this amazing

After my first day in Costa Rica, I quickly began to adjust to the new culture. Nevertheless, there were many times in the beginning when I felt completely lost, utterly lonely, and desperate for some familiarity. This had been the first time I had ever traveled outside of the United States by myself, and without a return date in mind. I almost felt stranded in some strange land, where I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t understand the customs, and I didn’t have my friends and family near to support me. Despite my solitude, I managed to move forward.

The Brooklyn Museum in New York has begun the process of returning precolombian pieces to Costa Rica, after a 77 year stay in the New York Museum.  The pieces were collected by a Brooklyn businessman, Minor Keith, as he worked in the railroad and fruit industries in Costa Rica and he donated them to his hometown museum in 1934.  The pieces will be displayed in Costa Rica's National Museum and will help shed light on the mysterious precolombian days of the country. 

My whole life I’ve felt there was something more; something that I just couldn’t find in the familiar and neatly tree-lined streets of my hometown. It wasn’t until I had reached the tender age of 19 that I finally figured out exactly what it was that I was missing. Adventure. Challenge. Personal growth. Risk! I had become so accustomed to living my life the 'American' way that I began to feel stuck. I felt no excitement, no energy nor zest for life. What I desperately needed was a change, and a rather large one at that! So I took the biggest risk that anyone really can. I moved.


Will you be in Costa Rica for more than 90 days?  If that describes you, you'll need to do a visa run to renew your tourist visa.  For most students, you will receive 90 days permission to stay in the country, however there are several countries that aren't granted as long.  We recommend that you check before you arrive in Costa Rica.