studytravel

Visit to the school in Costa Rica

Written by Milou van Gerwen on 20 Mar 2018

Costa Rica

Jaco Beach ("Playa Jacó")

This little village, located at the Pacific Ocean (west coast of Costa Rica) is a true “surfers-village” with a very relaxed atmosphere and friendly people. You’ll find numerous bars and restaurants, such as the Taco bar, where you mix your own taco and enjoy it while you’re sitting on a swing! Or you can easily buy food at the typical local "sodas" , where you eat healthy for the best price!  The typical meal during the day is a “casado”, with vegetables, rice and “frijoles” (black beans). The beach in Jacó is very suitable for surfing. Every afternoon around 16:00 – 17:00 the surfers arrive and search for the best waves to show their tricks. With the warm sun and salt water this is the ultimate afternoon refreshment after your Spanish lessons! When the sun sets, you can enjoy the most wonderful views of golden and red colours.

Day 1: Visit to the school Academia Tica

Before my journey to Jacó, I satyed in Arenal, in the centre of the country. I booked a shuttle bus (very common in Costa Rica), which is a more comfortable type of transport than the public busses that take a long time to get from A to B. The minibuses (of approximately 8 passengers) pick you up from your hotel or hostel and go directly to the end destination. Once I arrive in Jacó, I immediately notice the huge difference in temperate compared to the highlands where I have been the past days. I am received with the warmest welcome from the school director Manuel, who awaits me at the meeting point. The school Academia Tica in Jacó is located in a residential street, at approximately 3 minutes walking distance form the shared apartments for students, where I will be staying as well for the night. The school has very nice colours and a beautiful backyard with a pool, fruit-trees and flowers. The team gives me a warm welcome as well and they show me the school: small in size but it has everything a student needs: inspiring colours, computers, coffee/water corner and several bright classrooms. Two of the classrooms are outside in the garden, because in Costa Rica they can teach Spanish outside all year round because of the tropical climate!

School panorama

Picture: school panorama inside (by Milou van Gerwen)

The language school in Jacó organises Spanish courses in Minigroup, consisting of maximum 6 students per class, meaning you'll get lots of personal attention! It's also posisble to book individual lessons, or a combination of lessons in Minigroup and one-on-one tuition. And witouth doubt, the course I would recomend the most is the combination of Spanish & Surf!

The accommodation option in Jacó when taking a Spanish course in Jacó are staying in a host family or shared apartment, both at walking distance form the school. I stayed in the shared apartments, which are perfect when you want to be able to live the Costa Rican life surrounded by other students. You’ll have your own room but share the bathroom and little kitchen with another student.

Please see below the video I recorded at the school, in which the director tells us WHY you should come to Jacó to learn Spanish!

School activities

Besides Spanish lessons, the school also arranges a wide range of activities, all listed on the wall in the school, so students know exactly what’s happening each week!
This week there’s a cooking class, surfing activity, and a canopy tour (zip-lining). Of course you’re also free to explore the surroundings or national parks yourself, and the school staff will be happy to give you advice!
You can for example visit the national park Carara, where you can spot exotic birds. Or take a bus to Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio (in south direction form Jacó) where you’ll find idyllic white beaches and lots of wildlife!
If you rent a car during your stay in Jacó, you can also drive up to río Tarcoles, where you can see huge crocodiles from a bridge: a fascinating view!

 

   

school - activiteiten

school

Cooking class

After the visit around the school, we are asked to join a cooking workshop which is about the start. Together with the participating students (from Sweden, France, and Germany) we sit down in a pergola in the school garden, where all the ingredients are already sorted out by our chef Roger. We receive our own paper with all the ingredients listed in Spanish. We are going to prepare a "picadillo de papaya", together with little “tortillas”, accompanied by a fresh summer drink called "agua de sapo" (frog’s water). This drink has not such an attractive colour (brownish) but the taste is amazing! It is made with ginger (jengibre), lemon juice (jugo de limón) and brown sugar (azucar

   

kookles in de tuin

After this wonderful afternoon, we’re going to enjoy one of the best parts of the day in Costa Rica; sunset. We drive to a viewpoint about 5 minutes from Jacó, were we can watch the sunset from a balcony surrounded by nature. This is one of those unfortgettable “pura-vida” moments! The words "Pura Vida" are used in the whole country, for greetings and saying goodbye as well. It literally means “pure life”, but what’s meant by it is basically “enjoy life”. If someone would ask you how you do (¿Qué tal?), you can even greet them saying: “¡pura vida!”, indicating everything is fine.

Jaco beach

Sunset in Jaco beach - Picture taken by Milou van Gerwen

Milou van Gerwen
Hi students, I am Milou, working at StudyTravel's international office in Spain since 2014. I have a passion for languages, travelling and outdoor activities. In 2017 I went on a 1-month journey to Costa Rica, where I visited our partner school Academia Tica.
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