HEREDIA - OUR CITY CAMPUS
We (Laura Ellington and Adelita Jiménez) founded our language school in Heredia at the end of 1993, based on our experiences studying at and working in schools and NGOs, taking the best ideas from each area and combining them with our own vision of what a language and cultural immersion program should look like and how it should relate to the community where it is hosted. Academic excellence, cultural integration, business transparency, social responsibility, integrity and sustainable development were some of the ideals that informed our thinking and the school along the way.
We began as a tiny enterprise, with four classrooms, the reception and a dance room. Adelita was the Spanish teacher and homestay coordinator, while Laura was the activities planner, marketing coordinator and occasional teacher. We were also receptionists, cleaning ladies, messengers and any other position that needed filling! We had a lot of great people help us out along the way, from our staff and various collaborators to the owners of both our current properties, who sold them to us purely on trust and the strength of an IOU.
Ten years later, the school had grown organically from a one story house into a two-story center comprising three buildings, gardens, a full staff, and hosting Spanish immersion programs for foreigners from around the world as well as low-cost English classes for the local community. Intercultura's English Department is now our Foreign Languages Department, with a large number of tico students who have the chance to interact with our foreign students in our conversational exchanges "intercambios".
OUR SÁMARA BEACH CAMPUS
After running week-long beach programs in Dominical and Jacó, we decided in 2001 to look for our ideal setting; one that offered a beautiful, safe beach, a predominantly Tico community, and a place where we could make a positive impact with our community development-orientated project model. We have found it in beautiful Playa Sámara, where we quickly integrated into the community, and by 2004 had expanded the one-week per month program into a permanent campus right on the beach, with the generosity of one of our homestay mothers and the community as a whole, who from the beginning believed in the project and the benefits it could bring the community.
Today we are proud to have founded the Sámara non-profit CREAR association for local kids, to participate in community development projects and serve actively in the social and communal activities that help shape the future of this beautiful area.
Read more about how Intercultura got started by reading the article "Living in Costa Rica: An Expat Story" written by our founding director Laura Ellington.