UNCG 2018: Brief on weeks 1 & 2

Oh! let’s sit down and take a breath for a minute, because this first one-and-a-half week of UNCG in Costa Rica has been overwhelming (in the best of ways!). 

We left Monteverde on Sunday, July 8th disheartened, as we said goodbye to the families and places which we have grown so fond of. During that week in Monteverde we focused on Spanish and culture learning, as we visited Santa Elena, hiked throughout the cloud forest, did zip lining, took Latin dancing and cooking lessons, and ate amazing Costa Rican food!
On Sunday we left the mountains and drove to Cañas, where we visited the Llanos del Cortés Waterfalls. This was a very much needed change in weather, going from the cold, rainy forest, to the dry Guanacaste heat. After visiting the waterfalls, where we soaked in refreshing clear waters, we headed to Tamarindo, a very touristy but charming little town off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. In Tama - as the locals call it - we took our first dip in the ocean and were amazed by the beauty of the Costa Rican beaches! Then, as night howled in, we drove to El Llano, a small village about 15 minutes from CPI Flamingo, where we met our second host families!
So far this week here in Guanacaste has been “wanderous”, as our UNCG Profesor Liliana described it. Apart from the blood-thirsty mosquitoes that threatened to drive us crazy, and the heat that makes us dizzy at times, our stay with the families has been delightful, the food pretty tasty, the classes amazing and the beach breathtaking! 
Today (Wednesday),  we are getting ready to hop on the snorkel cruise for a lovely afternoon sailing, swimming and soaking in Pacific waters!
For the rest of our stay here in Guanacaste our schedule is filled with volunteer work, Spanish classes and some beach time! 
I’ll keep you posted as our daily adventure continues! 
Pura Vida!

- Patricia :)  

Welcome UNCG Summer 2018!

Hello once again, curious reader! cool

This week we meet one more time, as we warmly receive students of the University of North Carolina Greensboro!

For the next month we'll be traveling around our three CPI Campuses, as we become more and more fluent in Spanish and immerse ourselves into the Pura Vida Lifestyle! Our schedule is filled with exiting activities that will take us mountain hiking, zip lining, waterfall chasing, sunset watching, and city tour walking, just to mention a few! 

Up until now we've learned some of the country's history, as we walked through the crowded streets of San José. In Monteverde so far we've experienced from first hand how coffee, sugar cane and cacao are produced and commercialized in the country, as we did the Trapiche Family Tour.

Today we got a chance to visit the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, the country's only State-owned forest reserve that's administered by the School of Santa Elena. Here we learned a little bit about the cloud forest, the primary and secondary forests, and got a chance to even see a female quetzal in her nest! (AMAZING!!) 

Also in Monteverde we've started taking Spanish classes, and in less that two days some of us are already feeling pretty confident speaking the language! 

We'll keep you posted, as our adventure here continues!

Pura Vida!

- Patricia wink


SPI Study Abroad- Monteverde!

Being in a different country and culture by yourself is definitely a challenge, especially if you’re young. As 28 SPI Study Abroad students travelled to Costa Rica they definitely had many expectations of how their adventure was going to turn out. So far these first to days have been enjoyable!

Day 1: Students arrived to the Liberia airport, they had the chance to meet each other and start to make new friends! They stayed in Hotel Boyeros in the center of Liberia, relaxed in the hotel’s pool and jacuzzi and had dinner in El Callejero restaurant.

Day 2: The early risers watched the Costa Rica vs. Serbia World Cup game at 6am, later on other students came to watch it, and soon enough everyone caught the football fever! We left Liberia and headed to Monteverde, where they had their orientation and oral and written exams. On the afternoon they met their Familias Ticas. They were all extremely excited!

Day 3: In the morning we went to Santa Elena to make a Treasure Hunt. Everyone was into it and very competitive to win! Their price was Costa Rican ice cream and 4 boys who were really good friends won! We later had the Latin Cooking Class where SPI students made a delicious 'arroz con pollo' and ’tortillas’. On the afternoon they had their first Spanish classes and now their off to their Familias Ticas!

Day 4: The students went to Life Monteverde, a sustainable farm were they learned about sustainability in Costa Rica. They all had a chance to look around the farm and discover the beauty of the forest. At the very end in small groups they all worked together to draw a poster explaining what they learned.

Day 5: The Trapiche tour was one of the favorite activities for many students! They learned how the sugar cane was processed to make candy and how coffee and chocolates are done and exported all around the country and outside as well. 

Day 6: This was a hard working day. They went to the Santa Elena’s recycling center where the students learned how plastic was separated to recycle. They did an amazing job and ended up recycling 22 bags of plastic!

Day 7: The students went to Sky Hanging Bridges, they saw a lot of nature and had the chance to take beautiful pictures in the wilderness!

Day 8: Everyone’s favorite day, Isla Tortuga! The kids woke up very early to take a small trip to the beach. Everyone danced in the Catamaran (the boat) and  enjoyed of the music and food. At the beach they played volleyball, did snorkeling, the banana boat, relaxed, took pictures and kept on dancing a little more! 

Day 9 & 10: On Monday SPI students went to Santa Elena Reserve where they learned about the the Costa Rican wildlife through a guided hike, and on Tuesday they watched The Incredibles in Spanish and had a latin cooking class where they did the traditional dish of picadillo and tortillas.

Day 11 & 12: On Wednesday the students socialized and played an entire morning with kids of the area as part of their volunteer activity, and on Thursday they had a free morning and dance class in the afternoon. All of them learned how to dance: bachata, merengue, salsa and cumbia!

Day 13 & 14: On Friday they did their last volunteer activity. They went to Life Monteverde where they helped to plant trees and work around the sustainable farm. They also had their closing ceremony where every single one had a creative part in their presentations. From signing to creating their own songs in Spanish or acting out sketches! They were incredible! Their last day involved getting to the airport, where half of the group was dropped off and everyone said their goodbyes. The other half is head off to new adventures in Flamingo Beach!

This SPI Study Abroad group is incredible, and we hope they have the best time here! :)

-Fabi Granados

Albemarle County Schools

Bienvenidos al blog de Albemarle County Schools!

Our first week been full of excitement and new experiences!

On Sunday, the group arrived at the airport in San José and then headed to CPI Heredia to meet their host families and have their first experiences with Costa Rican culture.

On Monday, the group met their Spanish teachers and experienced their first Spanish classes in CPI Heredia.  After their classes, the group learned how to make enyucados, a traditional Costa Rican dish, in a Latin cooking class.  Later in the day, we all learned how to salsa, merengue, and bachata in the Latin dance class. After our dance class, the group acquainted themselves with San Joaquín de Flores during a walking tour of the area.

On Tuesday, the group headed to Rio Tarcoles for a tour of the river and its famous crocodiles.  Along with crocodiles we saw a wide variety of birds like red macaws, herons, and storks. The group also got the chance to see a crocodile that was nearly 17 feet long!  After the tour, we stopped for ice cream to wrap up a successful day.

After classes on Wednesday, the group headed to San José to tour the National Museum and learn even more about the history and culture of Costa Rica.

On Thursday, the group visited the La Paz Waterfall Gardens to hike and see the wide variety of animals in the animal sanctuary.  They got the opportunity to see their first sloth!

On Friday, the group had Spanish classes and a free afternoon to explore San Joaquín de Flores.

On Saturday, the group packed up and headed to Manuel Antonio National Park to enjoy beautiful beaches and explore more of Costa Rica.

This week, we are continuing our Costa Rican experience in the CPI campus in Monteverde.

Hasta luego!


Good Shepherd 2018

Day 2 Monteverde 

Good Shepherd Group arrived at CPI Monteverde for Orientation. On the first hours they did great on all the evaluations. After Orientation chat, Costa Rican families arrived to take the chicos to their new Costa Rican houses to enjoy their first night in Monteverde.

Day 3 Monteverde 

Perfect day to get immerse into the Costa Rican culture! ! This day began with a walk to Santa Elena town, the chicos enjoyed a scavenger hunt and shopping time in this cozy town. Then we walked to CPI where all the chicos had a cooking class with Doña Beach and Abigail. In the afternoon with excitement they started their Spanish classes. At night they had the amazing experience of a night hike where they saw the two toed sloth, the green tree pit viper, stick bugs, frogs, lizards and more.

Day 4 Monteverde 

Today the chicos where on the canopy of Monteverde'so cloud forest. They enjoyed so many zip line cables that took them over the canopy, into tree tunnels and also jumping and swinging in the crazy Tarzan swing. Then back to Spanish classes where they are learning so much, after class a hole evening to practice Spanish with their families.