If you have ever researched Spanish schools in Costa Rica you’ve probably noticed there are a myriad of schools to choose from. From the mountains to the sea, there is a Spanish program in Costa Rica for everyone, however, not all schools are created equal. As you continue to research your ultimate study destination in Costa Rica, keep these pointers in mind.
1.) Think about the location/region you want to study in. This may seem obvious but in addition to the campus you will be studying at you also want to be comfortable where you’re living. Do you want to be in a mountainous region of Costa Rica or in a coastal area of Costa Rica? Do you prefer a tropical climate or a cooler climate? Do you want more peace and quiet or a buzzing nightlife? These are just some of the questions you will want to ask yourself. Keep in mind that you will only spend on average about 20-hours a week in class so you will have plenty of time to explore the area you are staying in and it’s important to find the right fit.
2.) Bigger is not always better. Some Spanish schools make their claim to be the ‘largest’ school or have the most amount of locations. While this is not necessarily a negative thing, it doesn’t mean that bigger is always better. Larger schools can sometimes feel more detached and like an ‘institution’ rather than an intimate learning environment, which is important in language learning. Do you want to feel like a number or like part of a family?
3.) Teaching Staff. You also want to consider who the teaching staff are. Are they native Spanish speakers from Costa Rica? Do they have degrees? Are they interns or professionals in their fields? The teachers in any Spanish language program are integral to any program and can make the difference between a good and a GREAT experience learning Spanish in Costa Rica.
4.) Culture and Activities. Another important part of a Spanish language course is to see if any cultural, adventure or social activities are available as well as any type of volunteer programs. Some common types of activities in Spanish language programs are dance classes, cooking classes, weekend excursions to nearby areas, hikes, tours, etc. Also, you may want to inquire whether the program offers a homestay option. A homestay is where the school places students with local Costa Rican families. This is a very fun and effective option to not only learn more Spanish but also learn more about the Costa Rican culture.
5.) Customer Service. Customer service can sometimes be subpar in language programs due to a high volume of students or a lack of administrative knowledge of how to properly handle new clients. How are your first interactions with the school? Did they reply promptly and answer all of your questions? Did they seem friendly, helpful and efficient? As they say, first impressions are important and if you are not getting treated well from the start then you may not be treated well later either.
Of course there are many factors to consider when choosing a language school in Costa Rica and above are just a few. Follow our blog for future articles and tips for studying abroad in Costa Rica.