DUKE UNIVERSITY / Language, Culture & Health in Costa Rica

Thursday, May 24th. Landing in Costa Rica at the airport of Alajuela the students started coming one by one in different flights. After all of them arrived we started heading to our hotel Bougainvillea located in Santo Domingo, Heredia. Nice views from our rooms showing the city lights from San Jose which is the capital of Costa Rica.

Second day. After a good rest and a good traditional breakfast the group continue the trip. We arrived to CPI school in San Joaquin, Heredia. The welcome meeting and orientation started with some basic information about Costa Rica. For example what things we recommend to do and what things we shouldn’t do during our experience visiting the tropics. Then finally the students met their host families enriching their cultural experience.

Walking around San Joaquin has helped the students to become familiar with the place that they are going to live for a month. San Joaquín de Flores is a charming, colorful and quaint colonial town located ten miles from San José. Everything can be reached on foot and along the way students can visit historic landmarks and buildings from the 18th century.

In the first week the group has visited a coffee plantation where they had a funny and educational tour. Teaching the students how coffee plants grow and the different factors that makes costarican coffee one of the best coffees in the whole world.

On Monday the group started with its first class of the program. The students look excited about this new experience to study abroad. In a class of the CPI school the guys are going to be studying almost every day during the mornings. After classes they are going to do different activities and some days they have plans to go visit hospitals, clinics and health centers.

The first activity for them was a latin dance class. Dancing different rhythms like merengue, salsa and bachata the students have experienced how ticos have fun in a dance floor.

The adventure will continue.

Diego QR

Second part

The fisrt week was a complete success.

 Besides taking classes every morning and keeping with the program and course of syllabus. The group after the dancing class they proceed with a latin cooking class. This class was very interesting and funny. The guys learned the right way to chop vegetables in order to prepare one of our very traditional meals in Costa Rica ”arroz con pollo” or rice with chicken. Of course after they prepared the meal they ate what they cooked. They are good chefs because the final result was great and the food was delicious.

Some free afternoons are part of the itinerary, so in this free time the students have the chance to explore on their own, visit and eat in different restaurants. Also this free time is good because they spend time together as a group and they get to meet each other in a deeper way to create a bond between the group members.

The group visited the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social where they had a talk about how the health care system works in Costa Rica. It was a very educational talk and the guys got to now almost every detail about the different ways that all costaricans and also inmigrants use their social insurance.

Next day the group visited a community of nicaranguan inmigrants where they got to see the shocking conditions where a lot of people in Costa Rica live. In general this community is inhabited by people who came from Nicaragua to try to find a better quality of life. The houses are built mostly with very cheap materials and the field is unstable. It was a very nice experience for all of us because they get to appreciate more what they have and be more grateful with life.

The group visited La Paz Waterfall Gardens on Saturday. Walking through the forest and looking at the beautiful waterfalls. They could see all the different species of animals in their animal sanctuary and they ate a very yummy lunch too. It was an all day trip so when they arrived to San Joaquin they were ready to go to their host families houses to have dinner with them.

The group went to a Costa Rica soccer game on Sundayin the National Stadium. It was a friendly game against Ireland. Costa Rica won 3 to 0. It was a special match because it was the last game in our country before the world cup begins.  Saying bye to the players and sending positive vibes to them hoping they are going to do a good job in Russia.

On Monday the program continued with a visit to the EBAIS (Equipos Basicos de Atencion Integral en Salud). These health centers are a very important part in the costarican health system. So, for them was a very academic visit where they got to understand how costaricans are cared.

Pura Vida

Diego QR

Missouri State 2018

Bienvenidos al blog de Missouri State University!

Our first week been full of excitement and new experiences!

On Friday, the group arrived at the airport in San José and then headed to the market in Heredia to experience their first casados, a typical Costa Rican dish.  Later, we checked into our hotel in San José and headed to a delicious group dinner.

On Saturday, the group headed to La Paz Waterfall Gardens to hike and see the wide variety of animals in the animal sanctuary.  That evening, the group had their first MSU class with Dr. Haram.

On Sunday, the group arrived at CPI Heredia for their orientation.  Shortly after, they got to know San Joaquin with a walking tour of the host family locations and lunch. We finished up the day with host family introductions and our students spent their first night with their new families!

On Monday, the group met their Spanish teachers and experienced their first Spanish classes at CPI.  That evening, we got to hear a presentation from a Costa Rican teacher on the Costa Rican education system and how it differs from the education system in the United States.

On Tuesday, we got our first experience in cooking arroz con pollo, a traditional Costa Rican dish, during our cooking class at CPI.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the group visited a local elementary school to work with the children in their English classes.  The girls got the opportunity to experience the Costa Rican education system firsthand and discussed their observations during their debriefing session later that evening.

On Friday, the group had the opportunity to volunteer in La Carpio, an immigrant community.  The girls were able to help community kids with their English skills and learn more about the unique experiences of the residents of La Carpio through the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation.

On Monday, we will continue our Costa Rican experience in the CPI campus in Monteverde.

Hasta luego!


Rollins College 2018 - Week 1


Our first week in Costa Rica has already flown by and the experiences during these past eight days have been incredible. Last time we touched base we were touring San José, getting to know our host families and the CPI school facilities in San Joaquín de Flores. Today we are heading towards the Arenal Volcano for a weekend excursion in which we’ll do hikes, soak in natural hot springs and get to meet members of the Guatuso indigenous group. We are looking forward to this amazing new experiences. 

With that being said, here’s a synopsis on this past week:



Our Monday started off the day business minded, as we entered the CINDE headquarters in Escazú. There we were greeted and treated as executives, getting to know the role that this internacional company plays in attracting foreign investment into Costa Rica and how it works with an innovative formula, in order to position the country among the best ones in Latin America to invest in. After CINDE, we were able to visit a local mall at a high class town, were we got the chance to compare different shopping areas that the country has to offer, according to the social class and areas. During the afternoon with went to class with Doctor McInnins and later to our first Spanish class! 



Early morning we headed to the Britt Coffee roasting farm in Heredia, were we had a private tour with one of the company’s executives and got a chance to understand the expense of the roasters and their commitments to creating sustainability and social awareness inside the coffee producing communities. After that, we immersed ourself among coffee fields and mango trees, as we savored different types of delicious coffee strings. 



The Costa Rican - American Chamber of Commerce was a lovely opportunity, since we got to meet with the company’s CEO in Costa Rica and discuss international and national matters. The CEO spoke about the importance of AMCHAM for the country and the role they play in governmental policies. After AMCHAM, we did a walkabout downtown Heredia, were we visited the central market, ate typical foods, visited the Catholic Church, the plaza and ended up our day eating Colombian street food and smoothies over at San Joaquín de Flores. 



If I had two words to describe this experience it would be Eye Opening! Today we headed towards the east side of San José, were we entered the shanty town El Triángulo de Solidaridad (Solidarity Triangle). This community, inhabited mostly by Nicaraguan immigrants, is the other side of the Costa Rica tourist don’t get to see. Walking throughout the tiny muddy streets, where houses made out of tin barely fit, made us be grateful of how much we have back at home that we sometimes pass unnoticed. This was a great experience for all us, as we got to see how people live in this high risk conditions, but still find time to thank God for what they have. 


Now we continue our journey throughout the country... and I'll keep you posted! 




Lebanon Valley College

Lebanon Valley College

Día tres en la primer semana de los 29 días que el grupo de Lebanon Valley college en Costa Rica y las chicas están pasándola de maravilla. Habiendo llegado el domingo a Alajuela y luego de una breve introducción a lo podrían esperar en su estancia tanta en las familias como en el país. Ya con algo más de calma y ubicación, el segundo día iniciamos la semana con clases de español hasta el mediodía donde pudimos gozar de una excelente clase de cocina donde aprovechamos para comer un delicioso y tradicional arroz con pollo para agarrar fuerzas e ir a caminar por los alrededores de San Joaquín, aprovechando para cambiar dinero en el banco y así tener algunos colones. Al dia siguiente, luego de las clases de español nos fuimos de nuevo a caminar pero esta vez a Heredia Centro. Ahí comimos en el mercado central, visitamos el parque central y terminamos en la Universidad Nacional donde las chicas reflexionaron y realizaron una entrada en su diario acerca del viaje y sus experiencias