Intensive Spanish Course

Esparza - Costa Rica

Only 840€ per week!

Get a solid grounding in Spanish with our two or four week courses while enjoying Costa Rica and practicing your new skills with locals!

These intensive Spanish courses were tailored either as standalone courses, or as pre-placement courses prior to joining one of our projects. The courses are taught in Spanish and are very intensive – you will be amazed by how much progress you can achieve in just two weeks! The four week course will take you even further.

Culture
Learning
Leisure
Community Engagement
Physical Demand





Program Description

Our introductory Spanish language course is taught in Spanish and is very intensive. It is modelled on a proven method which we have adapted to local conditions. There are 3 hours of lessons a day (plus coffee break), Monday to Friday, and classes are either morning or afternoon, depending on availability.

The course has a duration of either two or four weeks. In down time we would recommend another 3 (or more!) hours of study per day to gain the most from the course, coupled with local immersion (either trying out your new language skills or watching local TV/listening to the radio/reading books or newspapers).

You are of course able to take part in the same entertainment as participants on other programmes. Your teachers during lessons, and the local staff after lessons, are available to answer any questions and to try to assist you with your language needs. Classes are kept small, in order to improve the learning experience.

You will be amazed by what you can achieve in just two weeks, by which time you will have familiarity with basic and appropriate vocabulary, numerous useful and applicable verbs and phrases, and several tenses. The four week course takes you further, up to the beginning of intermediate.

Aims & Objectives

Our objective is to give you a thorough grounding in Spanish, either as a springboard to progress to further study or to help you get the most out of another of our local placements if you chose to stay with us.

Schedule

Monday to Friday

Morning classes will usually be from 09:00 – 12:30 with a half hour coffee break, and afternoon classes from 13:30 – 17:00 with a half hour coffee break. You will have lunch on site (or arranged nearby).

Down time is for further study or for enjoying the facilities or the local area. The pace is fast moving and challenging, but achievable.

   Note:   This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Minimum age:

Maximum age:

Minimum English level: Basic

CRB required: On Signup

Passport copy required: No

Resume copy required: No

Required qualification: None

Additional Requirements

There are no further requirements.

Additional Equipment

  • Casual dress is appropriate

Location

Esparza is a medium-sized agricultural town nestled amongst the mountains above Rio Barranca, in the Central Pacific Coast area of Costa Rica. The area was first settled by the Chorotega and Huetar peoples. The Chorotega people fled from Mexico 1,500 years ago and brought their traditions with them. This is a possible reason why there are Mexican words which jump several countries and turn up again in Costa Rica.

The Spanish town was founded in 1577, making it the second oldest in the country. It has a rich history which includes legends of hidden pirate gold. Esparza is the second largest canton in the province of Puntarenas, covering an area of 216.80 km², and with a population of approximately 35,000.

The pace of life is relaxed. It is not unusual to see horses being ridden in the street. The town itself is off the tourist trail. However, the nearest beach for surf and relaxation is only 20 mins (14kms) away. Within a distance of 25 kilometers, you can also find canopy tours as well as the world-famous attractions of Puntarenas, including a marine park and a newly renovated marina. Likewise, the nearest national park, Carara, is only an hour’s drive away.

About the Accommodation

Your new home will be one of two newly built eco houses in our centre in Esparza: Jaguar House and Toucan House.

The two houses sleep up to 22 people. Most rooms have bunk beds and are shared on a single gender. One room in each house has a bunk bed with a double bed below, single above, suitable for couples or small families, if needed. (Private rooms can be obtained at additional cost; this must be arranged before arriving for your program).

All doors are lockable, but as rooms are shared, and we carry out regular cleaning, we recommend that you don't lock your rooms.

There is also a large dining hall/games room/communal area shared by both houses, with free WiFi, and table tennis, and a large garden of tropical plants, including coconut palm, papaya, banana, and citrus

Food Arrangements

Three meals a day on weekdays (two on weekends) are included during your stay. The meals will mainly be a mix of traditional and modern Costa Rican food, so you may experience the Costa Rican take on foods you will be familiar with. Most meals will include either fish, chicken, pork or beef, but vegetarians can be catered for.

Facilities

There are shops within 300 metres of the centre, and bars, restaurants, and an excellent public pool within 15 minutes walk. There is an ATM within 1km and more ATMs in town, about 2kms. Buses into town and further afield leave from within 300ms of the centre.

Esparza and the surrounding area has plenty of shops, bars and restaurants within easy reach.

Activities & Events

No scheduled activities outside the program.

Sights & Surroundings

Esparza and Puntarenas have plenty to offer for weekend activities, including horse riding, watersports (surf is huge), game fishing, canopy tours, hotels to suit all budgets, and some of the best scenery in the world. Puntarenas is also ideally suited to take a scenic ferry to the Nicoya Peninsula and its many secluded beaches.

Esparza is on the Panamerican Highway, so access to the rest of Costa Rica and the rest of the American continent is at your doorstep.

Transportation

From this location we do not provide free transport to other locations.

Quick Facts

Name: Republic of Costa Rica

Population: 4.8 million

Capital: San José

Language: Spanish

Currency: Costa Rican Colón (CRC)

Time zone: UTC -6

Country Information

Pura vida (“real life”) has become the unofficial motto of Costa Rica. And for a reason. Costa Rica is, in essence, a slice of tropical paradise in Central America, and its inhabitants, AKA “the ticos”, are justifiably proud of it. Perfect waves for surfing, breathtaking sunsets, misty crater lakes, waterfall-filled hiking trails, white-water rapids, sun-kissed beaches, adventure-filled paths and wildlife that includes howler monkeys, capuchins and other friendly-looking animals await you in this small, yet magnificently varied country.

Climate

Costa Rica has a reputation for being a tropical paradise, and rightly so. However, due to its diverse terrain, the country boasts a range of different climates.

Costa Rica has no real summer or winter due to its proximity to the equator, and the average temperature ranges from 21°C to 27°C. However, a rainy season does exist, and takes place between May and November. The central valley is often cooler than the coastal areas.

The Pacific coast tends to be hot and dry all year-round, especially the northern part (known as the Gold Coast), while the highlands (around Monteverde) are filled with mist during much of the year, due to the high altitude. The Caribbean coast is quite hot and moist, and receives rain during most of the year. The lowlands have quite a warm climate, with an average temperature of 26°C, and the Central Valley, including San José, is said to have the best climate in the country.

Culture

Costa Rican culture, as in most Latin American countries, is heavily influenced by Spain, as a result of colonization. However, parts of the country have other strong influences, such as that of Limón, which has more of a Jamaican feel to it. There are also several indigenous areas throughout the country.

A great part of the music and folklore of Costa Rica comes from the north of the country, where Mayan culture mixes with Afro-Caribbean trends. Costa Rica has a distinctive musical genre known as punto and most of its music can be easily distinguished by a very unique rhythm known as tambito.

Costa Rica goes by the motto Pura Vida, which means “pure life” and the phrase can be used as a greeting or a farewell, or just to say “that’s great” or “all’s good”. The phrase was originally from a Mexican film, but was soon adopted by Costa Ricans, and is used in several contexts to express a positive outlook on life.

Gastronomy

The cuisine of Costa Rica relies heavily on fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fish and meat. Rice and black beans are traditional and included in most meals. Potatoes are another staple of Costa Rican gastronomy as wells as plantain, a member of the banana family.

Due to the tropical location of the country, you will be able to find many exotic fruits that you might have never heard of before!

Due to the amount of tourism that Costa Rica boasts, international food is offered in many sites – from Japanese to Mexican to Peruvian.

Transportation

Plane

Two domestic airlines (NatureAir and Sansa) connect major tourist towns

Shared shuttle

Shared shuttles are available to popular destinations on a daily basis and they will pick you up from your accommodation and return you, making them the most stress-free option.

Bus

Traveling by public bus is the most affordable way to get around Costa Rica. It can be time-consuming for many Costa Ricans, as many routes are based in and out of San José. However, Esparza is 1.5 hrs away from San Jose by direct bus, and Puntarenas has access to much of the Pacific Coast by bus, so Esparza is well situated for bus transport to the whole country and beyond.

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