About The School
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Only 7 miles northwest of the chaotic, busy streets of San José, the capital city, is the smaller, less hectic city of Heredia. Located in the central highland region, Heredia is one of Costa Rica’s smallest provinces. It is affectionately referred to as The City of Flowers, has much to offer and is a great place to start a trip to nearby destinations.
Winding through the twisting roads above Heredia, you’ll witness charming little towns surrounded by coffee plantations and lush vegetation. You might even get a view of the Central Valley below. Heredia’s favorable location provides close access to Juan Santamaría International Airport (even closer than San José) several volcanoes along the Central Volcanic Corridor, and other popular destinations. Almost everything Costa Rica has to offer can be found in and around Heredia.
One of the best places to take in the local culture is at the impressive Central Park (Parque Central). The semi-shaded park, lined with mango trees, is highlighted by the antiquated buildings in view which date back to the 18th Century. There is a stage in the park that sometimes hosts concerts and performances. El Fortín, a remarkable brick tower built by the Spanish, gazes high over the city giving visitors a glimpse into Costa Rica’s past. It is common to find locals sitting around the unique park socializing and enjoying the pura vida. Going for a stroll, you might even bump into one of the thousands of students who attend the National University (Universidad Nacional), which is just blocks away. Starting a trip from Heredia and the nearby area provides great access to several natural attractions. The closest is the dormant Barva Volcano, located inside Braulio Carrillo National Park. This gorgeous area has hiking trails that will take you all the way to the top of the inactive volcano. A little farther west and you’ll arrive at Poás Volcano National Park, all together a 31 mile drive from Heredia. Both parks, in which the resplendent Quetzal resides, exemplify the unbelievable flora and fauna for which Costa Rica is famous.
And to experience the country’s beautiful beaches, there are many beachfront destinations within a short drive from Heredia and the Central Valley. Intercultura has another school located at one of these beaches. It’s not uncommon to combine your study to include these beautiful mountain highlands and then another week or so at a glorious Costa Rica beach.
Travel – Fly into San José International Airport. Pickup is complimentary by your host family if in a homestay.
About The School
Intercultura Costa Rica is a mid-sized Spanish language school which offers intensive Spanish language programs in the friendly university city of Heredia or at its beautiful Pacific beach campus. Intercultura’s facilities are housed in a renovated colonial home with a custom built second floor overlooking gardens and mountains. Classrooms are large and airy, and each has full audio-visual equipment. There is an additional garden and terrace where there is space for activities such as films and lectures.
Intercultura prides itself upon its professional staff and high academic standards. Yet students are also able to enjoy a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere in the school with many opportunities to get to know both the staff and other students. Students have a challenging academic pro-gram, but also enjoy a complete range of cultural activities. It is an ideal Latin American learning environment.
Intercultura is affiliated with many professional development training organizations and has received several professional awards. It is the only school in Costa Rica certified to be part of the UN Global Compact initiative, which includes adherence to guidelines on human rights, environmental, labor and anti-corruption. It has a close association with the non-profit CREAR Association which provides free supplementary education to local school children.
Style of Teaching - The primary goal of Intercultura is to teach you the Spanish language in a warm yet intellectually challenging environment. Classes are conducted entirely in Spanish, providing students with a complete and intensive learning experience. Intercultura’s professors have advanced university degrees and teaching certification, as well as being native Spanish speakers. The Communicative Approach which is used actively engages the learner in the class-room. This system of teaching puts the focus of learning on the learner, meaning that he or she is an engaged and active participant in the language acquisition process. Students learn to speak in meaningful, real-life situations.
Levels Offered – All levels of Spanish ability are welcome, from complete beginners to very advanced. You will have both a written and speaking evaluation at the beginning of your course to ensure proper placement.
Class Size and Hours – The maximum number of students per class is 6. Private classes are available. Classes are held in the mornings from 8:30 to 12:30.
Materials – Materials are provided by the school and are available for purchase. Intercultura uses its own language textbooks, CDs and DVDs, plus supplementary texts, realia, current events materials, newspapers, films, news programs, literature, interviews.
Academic Credit – Available for this program.
Students – The minimum age is 18, although there is a teen program in summer, and we also welcome teens and children in the Spanish Camp program. Coming from all over the world, students’ ages are in a complete range, with the majority of older students coming in fall and winter months.
All students receive a free tour as part of your welcome to Intercultura. There are also many complimentary activities included in the cost of your study. These include: Latin dance classes held every day, weekly cooking class, weekly music class, lectures and tertulias (informal gatherings), and twice a month film nights.
Calendar –Programs start every Monday, almost year round. Most students stay three to six weeks, but shorter or longer stays are also possible.
The following dates are national holidays in Costa Rica, during which classes will not be held at Intercultura. There are no discounts for these days. Homestays are not affected by the holidays. Those which fall on weekends do not affect your stay. Holidays that fall between Tuesday and Thursday may be moved to Friday in order to give a long weekend. If a holiday falls on a Monday, classes will begin on Tuesday that week.
There is no makeup or reduced tuition for holidays.
Official Holidays 2017: Jan 1, Apr 11 (National Holiday, expect Banks to be closed), Apr 9-15 (Easter Week), May 1, Jul 25, Aug 15, Sep 15, Oct 12, Dec 17-Jan 1 (Christmas Break).
Calendar –Programs start every Monday, almost year round. Most students stay three to six weeks, but shorter or longer stays are also possible. There is no makeup or reduced tuition for holidays.
Official Holidays 2018: January 1, March 25-31 (Easter Week), April 11 (National Holiday, expect Banks to be closed), May 1, July 25, August 15, September 15, October 12, December 15-January 1 (Christmas Break).
Activities – After your Spanish classes and/or on weekends, you can participate in a wide selection of activities, conducted in Spanish (the majority involve no extra charge. These include Latin Dance classes from Monday through Thursday, taught by a professional dance instructor. There are also organized monthly outings to clubs/discos to give you a chance to practice what you’ve learned. Also, Costa Rican cooking classes are taught once a week. There are periodic talks and informal gatherings after Spanish classes which cover a diverse range of subjects and inform students about topics such as the ecology and environment of Costa Rica, Latin-American literature, politics, women's studies and other socially and culturally related themes. Once a week a Spanish film is shown, an entertaining and practical way to practice the language.
There are cultural exchanges to allow you to meet with Tico students who are studying English at the school. These allow you to practice your conversation skills and to make new friends from the local community. There is also a Latin music class where students learn traditional and modern songs, analyzing their meaning and cultural significance.
On weekends the school hosts excursions to many different parts of the country: Possibilities range from relaxing on a white sand beach, to studying the complex ecosystems of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, to watching the eruptions of a live volcano! During the week students are taken to theaters, museums, nearby parks, the capital city of San José, discotheques, soccer games, concerts and more!
Additional Locations – Please see information about Intercultura’s beach school at Sámara Beach School under the Costa Rica choices. This school is located in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica.