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



Francis Parker Middle School 2018

We, at CPI Spanish Immersion School, were very excited to receive the Parker kids on Friday night at the Liberia airport. All the kids and professors arrived over excited to start their Costa Rican adventure and Spanish classes.

To break the ice, we went on a beautiful catamaran and sailed the pristine pacific waters of Guanacaste, we dropped anker in front of a private beach where we all swam and snorkeled around. The kids spotted many different animals and found beautiful shells, and our guides even spotted two octopuses. After swimming and jumping off the boat we enjoyed a delisicious lunch and sailed back enjoying the sunset.

This was a beautiful start to an amazing week.

On SUNDAY we relaxed at the famous Flamingo beach where we played in the waves and some kids even swam out in the ocean. After our swim we waved the beach goodbye and started our journey to Monteverde where the students were greeted by their host families.

Both the students and families were very excited to meet each other and head into the unknown of living with a family that they have never met before. This is definitely something that will put them outside of their comfort zone.

MONDAY morning was our first day of class but before starting class, all the students where over excited to share their experiences with each other and the teachers about their first day with their family. There were many stories and all were good.

8:00am came around and it was off to their next “reto”, which is being in an immersion class for 4 hours. The classes were fun, and now they were ready to start their adventure in the sky!

ZIPLINING in the cloud forest is no joke, you are high up in the SKY, above the canopy and just soaring through the air like an eagle. Everyone was 100% excited, fearless and geared up. We started with a test cable to get the feel for it, and then we went up in a tram where the real adventure started. We started at an elevation of 262 feet and after 7 cables, ended with the longest cable being 2,100 feet.


Being part of an immersion program is about fun but we always try to incorporate education and culture along with the experience. On TUESDAY the group visited a local organic farm Life Monteverde, where they learned about the ins and outs of coffee, sustainable farming and nature conservation. The farms mission is to produce, protect and educate contributing to perpetuate life on earth and the objective is to help people achieve more awareness about sustainability in their day to day activities. This was a true eye opening experience for the students.


When visiting a different country the cuisine is one of the most interesting parts, seeing what people eat on a daily basis and how different it can be from what our students are used too. On WEDNESDAY Doña Beatriz shared her cooking secrets with us and we learned how to make the famous “Arroz con Pollo”, which is a typical Costa Rican dish. We put on our hairnets and got to work and prepared our OWN lunch.

After our delicious lunch we headed to the local town of Santa Elena. What better way to get to explore a local town than by doing a scavenger hunt and have students interact with locals and buy local goodies. We split up in 4 groups and explored by completing certain tasks on our scavenger hunt. The students got to interact with locals and practice their Spanish in real life situations. The students did great and really stepped outside of their comfort zone.


Sugar cane, coffee and chocolate? Who can ask for a BETTER combo. On THURSDAY we visited a small family owned farm, which used to produce sugar cane for a living, but when processed sugar became available and famous the family needed to find a different way to make a living. They decided to turn their farm into an agro-tourism farm with the aim of showing visitors a representative part of Costa Rican culture, where they can appreciate the old way old ways of processing brown sugar (tapa de dulce) and processing of fresh coffee cultivation.


 As you must know you Costa Rica is known for protecting its biodiversity, this is done through private organizations and through the government. On FRIDAY, we visited the Children’s Eternal Rainforest which now is the largest private reserve in Costa Rica and was all made possible because of children around the world raising money by selling baked goods, to be able to buy land and protect the forest. We learned so much about the different micro climates in Monteverde, and we even saw the famous three waddled bellbird.


Ticos know how to end on a good note. On our last night in Monteverde we had a closing ceremony party for the Parker kids, where we danced, laughed and sang all night. We also enjoyed a typical Tico ‘PARRILLADA’. The kids had so much fun and did not want the party to end, but like everything else this trip has to come to an end.

We hope all the students have enjoyed the trip as much as CPI staff members have and that during their time here they have learned a lot about Costa Rica and themselves!



Muni & Yoza

Welcome Rollins College 2018!

Well hello there, curious reader!

Thanks for taking the time to read me!

I’m pretty exited to report on the adventures of this awesome group as they go through their journey here in Costa Rica!

Over the course of these past two days we have already done and learned so much together!

So let’s take a glimpse of how these fist days have gone by! :) 


As soon as the group arrived to the rich coast, they had their first taste of Costa Rican food and got a chance to walk around San Joaquín de Flores, the historical little town were we will be spending our first week of stay in Costa Rica. After that, we visited the Spanish School and got a chance to introduce ourselves and to talk a little bit about our expectations on this trip and what we’ll be seeing and doing. We then checked in at the hotel in San José, were we had a good talk with Doña Cecilia on academics, eat a delicious dinner and called it a day!

On Day 2 we got and early start and got a chance to go to Sunday mass at a Catholic Church in San José, giving us the opportunity to understand from first hand the deep influence of the Church and the weight of the faith among the Costa Rican people and their culture. After that, we walked towards a farmer’s marked, visited the Museo Nacional (National Museum) and got a chance to appreciate the old buildings in San José and its magical parks, that make up so much the daily life here in Tiquicia. During the afternoon we met with our familia tica (Costa Rican family) and headed to our new homes for the week!


 For tomorrow and the next few days in the Central Valley we have a busy schedule, but I will make sure to keep you posted!

 Have a good one!

Pura Vida,

Patricia :) 

City Tour en San Jose

El dia de ayer despues de clases nos dirigimos a la ciudad de San Jose, la capital de Costa Rica. Una vez que llegamos comimos un riquisimo almuerzo tipo buffet con mucha variedad de platillos tipicos. Luego, caminamos por la avenida central hasta llegar a el teatro nacional, aqui hicimos un recorrido y tuvimos la suerte de ver una obra. Despues fuimos al museo de los niños donde aprendieron desde la cultura indigena, como era un tren en el pasado, como se transporta el banano para la exportacion, hasta como se siente un terremoto en este pais. Al final fuimos al museo penitenciario donde pudieron aprender como eran las carceles en el pais hace mucho tiempo y en el presente y ademas como vivivian los prisioneros en sus celdas.

Fue un dia de cultura de Costa Rica!!