School of the World
300 M Este 50 N De La Pops, Escuela del Mundo, Playa Jaco Costa Rica
Office (outside Costa Rica) +506.2643.2462
Office (Costa Rica)
Spanish immersion programs have always been a popular reason for traveling to Costa Rica. The locals are friendly and helpful, the weather is great, and there is no shortage of beautiful things to see and do during your stay. The majority of Spanish language schools in Costa Rica are still concentrated in the central valley, in the capital city of San Jose or in one of the surrounding urban centers like Alajuela, San Pedro, Escazu, or Heredia. School of the World was one of the first language schools to be located on the beach, and was the only school to combine Spanish school with surfing and other interests back when we started in 1997. Back then it was challenging to convince the language school travel agencies and study abroad offices at the US universities that people could learn AND have fun simultaneously! The truth that people learn and develop more when they are happy and having fun has always been a core belief for us at School of the World, and has proven to be a popular trend that has lead to the growth of learning vacation genre of travel.
Surfing and Spanish is just one of the combinations that we offer at the School of the World. Our Spanish language program meets the standards of US universities (you can even earn college credits for attending our program), but our small class sizes allow us to change the schedule weekly around the changing tides so that students can also enjoy the best surfing conditions at our local beaches. Our surf program is equally strong, and we are the only surf school or camp in Costa Rica that offers specialty balance training workshops in addition to regular surf lessons.
Spanish Immersion is a popular catch phrase in language study these days. Immersing yourself in a new culture and country whose native language is Spanish is a much faster way to learn. You get to practice every day with native speakers and learn practical phrases that are more commonly used in day-to-day interactions. Some people relate the term Spanish immersion programs with the highest level of intensity or time per day of language study. A lot of people that travel abroad with the goal of learning a language set extremely high goals or expectations for themselves, so it is important to be realistic about the challenge at hand. A common mistake is thinking that more class hours per day means faster learning. Some immersion programs offer 6-8 hours of class time per day, but we believe that to be unrealistic and frustrating for most students. We have found that for most people a well balanced day of language learning consists of covering new material for two hours, taking a break, then having a “language lab” for one to two hours (practice time including a range of activities from playing games, conversation practice, reinforcement exercises relevant to the day’s material, excursions into town to practice, etc.). Language learning is a building block process, so it doesn’t benefit the student to go faster than the time it takes to absorb the concepts and materials. We feel that our formula allows for a realistic amount of information to be digested each day and leaves you ready to take on new material the next day. We also encourage students to practice what they learn each day on their own. After class and study time our students usually take what they have learned and can immediately practice it around town with the locals.
True immersion (being completely cut off from your native language) is difficult in any school setting, since fellow classmates you spend out-of-class time with also speak English, and any destination with tourism will have locals that also speak English. The most important thing to remember is that you what you learn is directly proportionate to the effort you put in. Think of immersion study as a commitment to learning a new language and really experiencing another culture. Even Costa Rican locals that speak English admire the efforts of people trying to learn Spanish and are extremely patient and helpful. Speaking another person’s native language is a great sign of respect and the best way to open the door to experiencing new cultures. One of the great things about being in a tourist destination is that we have Spanish speakers from a wide variety of countries here also, so in addition to Costa Ricans you can practice with Spanish speakers from other countries in Latin America.
Immersing yourself in a new language and culture is going to expand your mind, heart, and soul and the only prerequisites are an open mind and a positive attitude. Here is a video that we made here at School of the World a few years ago to help students learn some basic vocabulary. ¡Buena suerte y nos vemos pronto!