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

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.

4th Week in CR, Lebanon Valley College

Hola amigos!

Ending a lovely week in Monteverde, we headed to the beach on Sunday morning. Las chicas got to enjoy of the calm and refreshing water of Catarata Llanos de Cortez, we then headed to Flamingo Beach, where the girls meat the new host families.

On Monday we went on a walkabout Flamingo to check restaurants, souvenirs and enjoyed of a nice afternoon in Flamingo beach with white sand and waves!

Tuesday was the perfect day for Playa Conchal. After Spanish class we traveled to Brasilito, where we had a delicious casado meal and got energy to walk to Playa Conchal. Here we enjoyed of the sand and waves, the calmness of the water and the shells were the highlights of the day. 

Wednesday was a day for class at the pool! After lunch the chicas had class with McEvoy at the pool plus learned the lyrics to famous Spanish songs like Bailando and Mi primer millon. 

Today, Thursday is going to be a great day interviewing people around campus about their life in Flamingo to learn more about the cultural and history of the country.

With lots of love,

Fabiola FZ.

St. Francis School 2018: A brief on week 1!

Well hello there again!

Our week here in Monteverde has gone on so fast we’ve barely had chance to sit down and take a breath! The St. Francis Summer 2018 experience here in Costa Rica has been amazing so far and we are still craving some more adventure! Over these past days we did two canopy tours; The one on Monday at Sky Adventures was magical! We got to fly among clouds so thick one could barely see the ending of the cable! The second zipline experience was today at 100% Aventura, were we got a chance to slide down Latin America’s longest cable, and IT FELT LIKE FLYING!  Also, we swang like monkeys on lianas, as we did the Tarzan atraction, which was indeed one of the best adrenaline shots ever for many of us! 

Apart from flying above the skies, we visited the Trapiche coffee, cocoa and sugar cane farm, were we learned the ways these agricultural products are produced in Costa Rica. We also got a chance to make our own chocolate and sugar cane candies, which were delicious!!! 

In terms of academics, Spanish classes so far are going great! We are divided in classrooms of no more that five students, according to our language advancement levels. So far we have taken class every day for the past week and we seem to be getting better at it!

Tomorrow we are going to learn how to make some Costa Rican traditional dishes with Doña Beatriz, our cook here at CPI. Afterwards we head towards Arenal, were we’ll spend the weekend doing water rafting, rappelling waterfalls and soaking in natural hot springs! 

I’ll keep you posted as our adventure here in Costa Rica continues! 

Pura Vida! 

Patricia :)

Arkansas State University 2018

Day 1: Welcome to Costa Rica!! 

Today I had the pleasure of receiving 16 students and Professor Claudio at Juan Santamaría International Airport. From there we loaded up on the bus and played some trivia for stickers until we arrived at Super Snacks. For most of the students this was their first taste for Costa Rican food. After a quick orientation at CPI, it was finally time to meet the host families! The students were very anxious and excited to meet their Mama Ticas and Papa Ticos along with their hermanos y hermanas. They were greeted with warm hugs and big smiles and ate dinner with their new host families! 


Day 2: First day of class!

Spanish classes start today for Arkansas State University students! Classes are small with 1-4 students per classroom. During their break, I asked the students how their first night in Costa Rica went and I heard lots of funny and interesting stories. Everyone’s night was a little different. Brittney’s Mama Tica bonded with her by painting her nails after dinner. Matthew helped his hermano Tico with his English homework while he taught Matthew some new Spanish words and the two of them played Uno all night. It seems like everyone had a successful night.

After class, the students participated in a Latin cooking class where they learned how to make arroz con pollo like true Ticos y Ticas. Lunch was followed by a walking tour of Heredia where we visited El Mercado, a place where you can find a vast variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables along with some seafood, meat, and souvenirs. Our tour ended with a stop at and El Fortín and Heredia's 221 year old Cathedral.


Day 3: Free afternoon!

On the schedule for today is a free afternoon. All the students decided to go back to Heredia and explore the city some more. Upon their return, I asked Kaci what she enjoyed the most about her afternoon and she said, “I like how people can tell that we don’t know a lot of Spanish and they are really patient with us.” Commenting on what Kaci said, John agrees that “it was cool how the man at the heladeria (ice cream parlor) spoke a lot of english but he still tried to help us order in spanish.”

I am enjoying watching this group practice their Spanish everywhere they go and constantly look out for one another.


Day 4: A successful day in San Jose! 

Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, is full of rich history, friendly merchants, and beautiful landmarks. Today, we got to visit several of these historic sites including the National Theatre and National Museum of Costa Rica. Not only did the students learn about what makes this country so special, but they also got to experience a typical day in one of Costa Rica’s busiest cities. We also stopped by many parks including Plaza de La Cultura, Parque España, and Parque Nacional. Here, the students got to rest, buy ice cream, take pictures, and chase after pigeons. It is crazy to think how a country the size of West Virginia can have so much history, and yet after spending a day in just a few of San Jose’s museums and popular attractions, our Arkansas State Students can testify that this small country’s history is much larger than they could have imagined! 

Day 5: Get your dancing shoes on!  

Today, the students from Arkansas State University received a Latin dance class from the talented Doña Sidnya! It was great seeing this group of students step out of their comfort zone and try something challenging and new! The class started with everyone standing in three lines and learning some simple moves. As the moves started increasing in difficulty, the students found partners and practiced their new dance moves. Finding a different partner with each new song, the students danced their heart out for an hour and a half. After the class was over, the students were not ready to go home just yet and stayed at CPI practing their new dance moves for another hour!  

Day 6-8: Manuel Antonio here we come! 

This weekend the students took a relaxing trip to Manuel Antonio National Park. This beautiful paradise is located on the Pacific Coast and is home to squirrel monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and over a hundred different mammals and birds; many of which the students got to see this weekend. It was action packed trip full of hiking in the rainforest, swimming on the beach, sunbathing, shopping, and dancing. 

Day 9: Downtime 

Arkansas State students enjoyed a free afternoon today. While some people went back to the market in Heredia to buy Costa Rican soccer jerseys, others decided to stay in San Joaquín and find new places to eat. After a long first week in Costa Rica, “los chicos” were happy to have some down time to relax, spend time together, and get their homework done early!