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 :)

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.

NMSU Global Citizens

The adventure started as soon as their plane took off and left their comfort zone!

Friday June 1st: Seven New Mexico State University students and their teacher arrived safe and sound to the airport of Alajuela. After a long day of travel, they arrived to their B&B where they had the opportunity to share their travel experience as it was the first time of many to leave their country alone. They had a delicious dinner and went to sleep since the adventure was about to start!

Saturday 2nd: This was the first day of being immerse in the beautiful city of Heredia and culture of Costa Rica. Throughout the walking tour the students had the chance to experience a traditional Feria del Agricultor or Farmer’s Market. They were delighted by the tasteful varieties of fruits which they had the chance to buy. They later had lunch in a typical ’soda’ in the Mercado Central, where they not only ate more, but bought some souvenirs and Costa Rican candy. To end the day they had a walk about in the central park where they had time to take many pictures in front of the fountain, church and Fortín. 

Sunday 3rd: When was the last time you did something for the first time? For NMSU students that day arrived when they were faced with the challenging Rafting experience in the Pacuare river. They were able to confront their fear of new outdoor adventure to have a memorable experience. They had a blast through the entire 4 hour tour through the river. Despite the fear at the beginning, they were able to enjoy every second of it, and are ready to come back to Costa Rica to do it again!

Monday 4th: This day started with a competition! The group was divided into two and the Treasure Hunt started all around San Joaquin! They had the opportunity to speak to locals and ask them questions regarding Costa Rica and the culture. They took tons pictures and after the surprisingly fast challenge, both groups ended in a tie. As a price they all received an ice cream from the brand Dos Pinos, which they seemed to enjoy as the day was sunny and hot. After the morning was spent on games, they headed back to the CPI school where they had their cooking class. They cooked a traditional lunch which involved rice, beans, picadillo and tortillas. The tortillas was their favorite part, as they seems to be experts at making them. Later on they had the chance to eat their own food, which was delectable. Then the group had Spanish class and ended the day with their host families.

Tuesday 5th: The challenge they faced this day was like no other. The students went to La Carpio, a community of limited resources. They had a talk with Gail, the founder of 'Costa Rica Humanitarian Association’ and were able to understand how small actions can turn into positivity when an entire community wants to change in order to have a better quality of life. They saw a play made by the ladies of La Carpio, had the chance to help with some unwrapping and packaging of products and buy bracelets, keychains and many more stuff from the same artisans of the community. This day was mind-opening for them as they learned great lessons which will be taken into account in the future. 

Wednesday & Thursday 6th & 7th:These two days the students had a chance to engage with the children of the community of La Carpio. They talked with them, drew pictures, colored, played games and participated in activities which involved learning English. Both the NMSU students and children had a really good time with each other. After La Carpio volunteer program they headed back to CPI where they received their Spanish classes! 

Friday 8th:This was the last day for the NMSU Global Citizens. In the morning we went to La Carpio for the last time. The students did a hard work this day as they constructed a sidewalk for the community. They moved the sand and rock from side to side and created concrete which was used to cover the sidewalk holes. People from La Carpio were willing to help as well to improve the community, and so NMSU students and La Carpio people worked as a team. The result was incredible and now they have an improved and safe sidewalk. In the afternoon NMSU had the San José City Tour. They went to the national theatre, learned about Costa Rica’s history and had a chance to buy many souvenir in the Mercado Central. After a really long day, we came back to CPI, the students were handed their diplomas and the trip came to an end. It was an amazing group and the CPI staff hopes to see them again in the near future!

Remember: Things are not better or worse, just different :) 

Fabi Granados

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!

Welcome St. Francis School 2018

Hello once again, curious reader! 

On this first days of June we received warmly our Summer students from Saint Francis School!

So far we have managed to land in Liberia, travel all the way to Monteverde, meet our hosts families, have amazing meals, learn Spanish and do ziplining along the cloud forest! 

This week paints to be an exiting one, with Spanish classes, coffee tours, more ziplining, waterfalls, volcanoes and natural hot springs happening in our horizon! 


I invite you to stay tuned for more, as we go throughout this journey in Costa Rica!

Pura Vida!

Patricia I. :)