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Study Abroad & Homestay in Costa Rica

Welcome to Paradise.

Arenal Volcano

Costa Rica truly fits the description with lush jungle, active volcanoes, and an array of creatures that would make anyone turn their head. Costa Rica isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s for those who truly want to dive into a whole other world and are ready for adventure. Costa Rica is a thrill seekers paradise with large volcanoes to climb, huge waves to surf, jungles to zip line through, and wildlife to see. And that’s just a days worth! Yes, ladies and gentleman, this isn’t like the summer camps at home, this is for those who want to see an entirely different way of life.

Costa Ricans are proud people and internationally known to be some of the nicest people in the world. I can attest to this from experience as when I first visited Costa Rica, I was astounded how welcoming the people were. I literally spent the entire day with my taxi driver, who wanted nothing more than to show our tour group the best of his country. He had no agenda. No scheme. He just wanted to show us why Costa Rica is like no place on earth. Stories like this are more common then not and it’s no wonder why Costa Rica has slowly been becoming one of the premiere vacation and study abroad destinations.

At SPI, we feel it’s the people of Costa Rica that make this immersion program the best experience, and in particular, the homestay families. That’s right, families. What makes the Costa Rican program a little different from our other programs is that you get the chance to stay with two different homestay families for the price of one. This gives you more of an opportunity to practice your Spanish, learn local customs, and make international friends. The Costa Rica summer program includes one week with a homestay family in Monteverde and the final week with a homestay family in Flamingo Beach.

Zip lining in Costa Rica

Located in the heart of the Costa Rican rainforest, Monteverde hosts the world famous Cloud Forest Preserve, offering SPI participants a variety of amazing activities and adventures, including nature and wildlife hikes, relaxing hot spring baths and an incredible canopy zip-line tour through the forest!  Flamingo Beach, located in the province of Guanacaste along the Pacific Coast, is the final week-long study site.  The province is renowned for its breathtakingly beautiful white sand beaches and clear water.  Flamingo Beach is a perfect locale for practicing your Spanish in the mornings and swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, sailing, or just relaxing on the beach in the afternoon. Live the good life with SPI in Costa Rica – Pura Vida!

Costa Rica offers unique high school summer programs that give a different taste then what you would find if you studied abroad in Europe. There isn’t cobble stone streets here, art museums, or the familiar European architecture. In place of all that, is dense jungle, amazing adventures, and people with a rich culture. Costa Rica requires its’ visitors to be completely hands on in order to get the best of what it has to offer. Trust me though, it’s well worth the effort as Costa Rica will return the favor in a myriad of ways.

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ABOUT SPI HIGH SCHOOL STUDY ABROAD

Since 1996, SPI High School Study Abroad offers intensive FrenchItalian and Spanish language immersion, cultural leadership and volunteer service summer programs in Spain, France, Italy, and Costa Rica.

Top Youth Travel Program

Get In Touch

SPI Study Abroad
11149 Research Blvd. Suite 100
Austin, TX 78759

P: 512-502-7505
[email protected]

Copyright 2017 SPI Study Abroad | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy & Terms

On-Site Supervision Team Abroad

We hire bilingual high school teachers, university professors, and caring local staff who, as a team, serve as international “moms and dads” throughout the program. Directors actively participate in all aspects of the immersion experience: helping with housing adjustments, checking in on classes, and making sure students are taking advantage of the wonderful excursion and activity opportunities. All SPI staff go through extensive reference checks.

Training & Experience

Directors are selected based on their experience working with teenagers in an international setting, their ability to communicate fluently in the language of study, and their academic & professional background. All on-site staff go through an intensive training process.

Daily Supervision

Students are expected to be respectful of their directors’ guidelines and abide by the SPI standards of conduct at all times. SPI directors and program staff are available 24 hours a day. Directors check in with students on a daily basis in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings; they also frequently monitor all aspects of each student’s progress. Homestays and residence directors are contacted to learn how students are adjusting, and to handle any concerns. Daily curfews are enforced.

Student Behavior Expectations

Since 1996, we have proudly attracted an academically-minded student body focused on improving their language skills and growing from cultural experiences. At SPI, we take our role as teachers seriously — we recognize that we are responsible for guiding students through one of their most life-changing experiences. We expect students not only to abide by our standards of conduct at all times, but also to serve as ambassadors of their local communities, schools, and cities.

No Alcohol Policy

SPI maintains a strict policy against the use of alcohol. Directors check in with students in the evenings; however, parents are expected to review our standards of conduct with their children and set clear family expectations prior to the start of the program with regards to their behavior abroad.

Afternoon Elective Activities

Our meaningful afternoon elective activities make local culture, art, architecture, museums, sports, and attractions come to life! Each program offers a variety of engaging activities designed to combine serious fun with truly inspiring “once in a lifetime” experiences. Electives are not included in the program price, and we suggest students budget $100 per week for participation in these incredible learning experiences.

Common Afternoon Electives

CULTURAL: Cooking, Dance, Art & Architecture, Museum & Theater Visits, Local Sporting & Cultural Events

SPORTS: Surfing, Volleyball, Soccer, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Hikes & Walks

ENRICHMENT: Photography, College Prep (Essay Writing, Admissions Prep), Photography, Guest Speakers

Sample Travel Excursions

SPAIN: Bilbao, Pamplona, Santander, San Sebastian, Guernika, Biarritz (France), Comillas, Picos de Europa

FRANCE: Bordeaux, Bayonne, Anglet, San Sebastian (Spain), St. Jean de Luz, Pyrenees Mountains

COSTA RICA: Liberia, Cloud Forest, Puntarenas, Rincon de la Vieja, Tamarindo Beach

ITALY: Florence, Orvieto, San Gimignano, San Vincezo, Castiglione della Pescaia

Our Screening & Selection Process

Students live with roommates in a local homestay or student residence that is experienced in hosting foreign students. SPI has worked with most participating homestays and student residences for a number of years, and they understand students are there to learn the language and experience the culture. SPI diligently screens each homestay and student residence facility with the following in mind: safety, location, cleanliness, and previous experience hosting students.

HOMESTAY EXPECTATIONS

Most homestays have hosted students for many years and take their jobs and duties as cultural ambassadors very seriously. Our foreign schools also work with each family on a year-round basis to ensure a positive experience is had by each student. It is critical to understand that most homestays come from humble means and different dynamics.

Location of Housing

All housing options are located within a 10-30 minute commute from the school. Students will walk or take the local bus, which is a safe and normal way for students their age to get around in our host cities. The majority of our housing options are located in the same areas where students will be close to each other.

Evening Curfews

Student curfews are set based on what a culturally appropriate weekday and weekend curfew would be for teenagers in the country of study. This is normally between 10 PM – 11 PM on weekdays and a little later on the weekends depending on location and group dynamic. As an important safety measure, program staff diligently monitor student curfews. Specific curfews are listed on each program page for your reference. 

Typical Housing Dynamics

Students are well supported in all housing options and are provided with: meals, a living and study space, laundry service or facilities, linens and towels. It is fundamental that students have an open mind to trying new foods and living in an environment different than “home” to benefit from this transformative experience!

HOMESTAY EXPECTATIONS
Although SPI homestays come in all shapes and sizes, the majority are older couples or single/widowed women in their 50s – 60s who have extra room in their home and are eager to host students. We have found this dynamic provides the best support, the most interaction, and the most culturally rich experience. Some homestays do have children, but students should keep in mind that homestays with children are busier and often offer less interaction — much like a busy American family.

Language Course Overview

The language courses focus on developing communication skills by simulating real-life situations through interactive class activities that include writing, oral expression, film, music, food, and literature.

> 2 Hours – Grammatical Concepts

> 1-2 Hours – Conversation, Culture, Literature, Film, etc.

> Small class sizes with levels 1 through AP/IB

College Credit Opportunity

SPI uses foreign universities and accredited language institutes for coursework abroad. These institutions provide high school students, upon successful completion of their courses, with an official transcript that they may use to petition college credit from their future university or college. Official transcripts are first sent to SPI in September, and then we will mail an official copy of the transcript in a sealed envelope to each participant. You will mail the official transcript packet directly to your U.S. university once you are enrolled.

Credit Hours vs. Credit Granted

Most SPI language immersion programs give 30-80 contact hours, or classroom hours, enabling for a potential of up to 1-6 semester college credit hours by your university. Contact hours are treated differently at every school. Some schools will grant specific class credit for the hours (e.g., Spanish), although most give a general foreign language or elective credit. Normally, 15 Contact/Class Hours = 1 College Credit Hour.

IMPORTANT:  Due to the nature of college credit granting by each individual U.S. university, it is impossible for SPI to guarantee credit for any student.