Central Arizona College Spanish Professor John Prevost, who has orchestrated Spanish language immersion trips to Mexico for more than 15 years, will lead the group to Costa Rica.
“Immersing students in the culture and day-to-day life of the people of Costa Rica is really the best way to learn the language,” Prevost explained. “Going to Costa Rica this year is exciting because it branches the program out to other Spanish-speaking countries.”
Students will depart from Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix and arrive in the early evening in San Jose, the Costa Rican capital that is home to nearly 400,000 residents. Students will be ferried from the airport directly to the homes of the host families.
San Jose is centrally located in the mountains; therefore students should expect spring-like temperatures. It also is not far from Manuel Antonio Beach on the Pacific Ocean.
This national park area boasts some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the country, along with forest, mangrove swamps and lagoons. Sloths, iguanas and squirrel monkeys are some of the more than 100 species of mammals and 184 types of birds that inhabit the area.
Students will learn the language at the Costa Rica Spanish Institute (COSI). The facility has two campuses – one located in the outskirts of the capital where students will spend the first half of their stay. Students will spend the second half of their two-week adventure at the campus located at the Manuel Antonio Beach area.
COSI has been a Spanish language Institute since 1994. Many community and four-year colleges have been sending their students to the institute and offering full semester exchange programs through COSI since its inception.
Travelers and students can expect a wonderful experience while attending four hours of Spanish courses daily with native professional instructors in small class sizes that consist of a maximum of six people. Class begins at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday at the COSI campuses.
Students participating in either session will be enrolled in SPA117 - Latin American Culture and Spanish Conversation. Students who participate in both sessions also will take SPA118 - Latin American Culture and Spanish Conversational II.
“This program really can benefit educators who teach in classrooms where Spanish may be the first language of their students,” Prevost explained.
Students will be offered an almost daily schedule of outside cultural classes and activities. The weekends will consist of two full days of excursions sponsored by COSI.
There will be a number of cultural activities on the COSI campuses such as dancing and cooking classes, organized beach volleyball, and many Costa Rican culture lectures. There also will be excursions to neighboring areas such as the Poas Volcano Museums, rain forests, coffee plantations, national parks, beautiful beaches and a variety of fascinating sites.
Students will be staying with handpicked families from COSI. Most families have been selected for their close proximity to the COSI campuses and their ability to work with foreign travelers. They also are selected and monitored by the program so that they are engaging with their guests, great representatives of the warm Costa Rican culture, and offer the student intense language practice coupled with the full cultural experience.
“These middle class families that will provide comfortable accommodations,” Prevost said. “Each student will have their own private room if wanted. Students also will be offered the option of alternative housing in a hotel or apartment.”