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long term study abroad student costa rica

Learning Spanish in Costa Rica as a long-term student

Lindsey K. (USA), Spanish student in Heredia, October 2022

What is it like to learn Spanish in Costa Rica not just for a few weeks, but for half a year or even longer? How does a long-term stay abroad shift your priorities and how is it like to stay with a “Tica family” (local homestay family) in a bustling mountain city like Heredia, Costa Rica?

Meet Lindsay K. from the US, 39 years old, and one of our current long-term students who is learning Spanish and living with a local host family in Heredia, where our city campus is located. Read below about what Lindsey thinks of her Spanish learning experience so far. Also watch the interview with Lindsey!

Lindsey during Spanish class

What is it like being an “extranjero” (foreigner) living in Costa Rica?

My experience as an “extranjera” living in Costa Rica has been very special – and may differ slightly from other students´ experiences at Intercultura Costa Rica.

Like many foreigners, I am studying Spanish at Intercultura, taking classes five days per week. My teachers so far have included: Iliana, Samuel, Lourdes, and Jesús. They have all been
wonderful, patient, and kind!

Living in Costa Rica with a homestay family and learning Spanish. What is your experience like staying with a Costa Rican family?

Living with a local host family has been an equally rewarding experience. I eat typical Costarricense cuisine every day. I especially enjoy the fresh fruit like papaya, piña, mamón chino, and guanábana, and vegetables like chayote, camote, and yuca.

As you might guess, I am especially interested in trying different types of fresh fruits and vegetables that you can’t always find in the U.S.! While these things may sound like a typical touristic experience, the biggest difference is that I will be in Costa Rica for a minimum of six months.

Lindsey with her Mama Ticá (host mom) at a typical Tico birthday party

What do you focus on during the weekends?

Because of the fact that I will be in Costa Rica for an extended period of time, I am focused on having a more relaxed experience on weekends that includes a lot of local adventures and time spent with my Tica family. For example, on a typical weekend I go to the local feria in Heredia, and also enjoy a good workout at a local gym. I´ve cooked lunch for my host family and spent many evenings enjoying food, drinks, and conversation at home. I have participated in a birthday party for a nine year old Tico family member, complete with masquerades and cimarrona music.

I´ve also explored some new places closer to home like a half-day hike in Cañón de Ventolera located in nearby Escazú and Hacienda La Chimba, an estate with acres of coffee plants that includes a hiking trail and sculptures along the way that make it an Instagram haven (also located on the outskirts of San Jose).

In short I can say, that…

In these early weeks of my long term adventure, I am focused on accelerating my Spanish speaking
skills, experiencing the natural beauty of the country, and enjoying the happenings of everyday
living in Costa Rica.

Interview with Lindsey at our Heredia City School Campus

So at this point, if you have ever wondered how to live in Costa Rica for a year or half a year,…

Become a long-term student at Intercultura Costa Rica Spanish Immersion School. Live with an engaged homestay family for an even more unique language learning experience. A study abroad experience like this will definitely change your life, and your mind!