We present you our new blog category: Success stories within Intercultura.
We start with the founding story and thus the success stories of Laura Ellington and Adelita Jimenez, the founders and active directors of the school to this day.
History – back to 1993
The school’s humble beginnings date back to 1993 when the Heredia center was founded on an extremely shoestring budget!
In 2001, we added the Sámara campus, and we (Laura and Adelita) remain with the school to this day. We were helped by many colleagues and associates along the way, plus a good dose of blind luck, considering we really did not understand what we were getting ourselves into!
We founded the school based on our own experiences studying languages 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 shaped the school along the way.
We began as a tiny enterprise, with four classrooms, a 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 both 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.
Over the years, the school has grown organically from a one-story house into a two-story campus comprising four buildings, gardens, a full staff, and hosting Spanish immersion programs for foreigners from around the world as well as low-cost English and Portuguese classes for the local community.
The Samara Story
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 sustainable development-orientated project model.
Sámara was perfect, and we quickly integrated into the community expanding by 2004 from the one-week per month program into a permanent campus right on the beach, with the generosity of one of our homestay mothers (who also sold us the land-based just on trust and an IOU) and the community as a whole, who from the beginning believed in the project and the benefits it could bring to Sámara.
In 2005 we co-founded the non-profit association CREAR, offering free supplementary education to local children, and we continue to support the association, participate in community development projects, and serve actively in the social and communal activities that help shape the future of this beautiful area.
Today Intercultura is a Language & Cultural Immersion Center with campuses in Heredia and Sámara, Costa Rica offering Spanish studies for foreigners and English classes for locals, and Portuguese classes. Intercultura has now a great team in each location, who you will get to know when you attend our Spanish programs.
We now both live in Heredia with our families, working at the city campus, while the Sámara beach campus is run by our remarkable manager, Estefanía Vargas, whose incredible success story you will see soon in this blog!
Follow us on social media to see when the next success story is posted.
We hope to see you soon in either or both of our schools!
Laura Ellington & Adelita Jiménez