About The School
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About Santa Ana
The town of Santa Ana (12,000 residents and growing) still maintains its traditional feel of a typical Costa Rican town with its small stores, bars, restaurants offering local and international cuisine and Sunday fresh fruit and vegetable markets. It presents a perfect base to learn Spanish in a tranquil, charming atmosphere, while having the ability to easily reach and explore all the natural wonders of the Central Valley.
Roughly, 15 minutes from the center of the city, Santa Ana is a trendy and luxurious community with a relaxed atmosphere and with all the modern conveniences. Nestled west of Escazu in the valley, Santa Ana is near the modern CIMA Hospital and Medical Tower, and is also close by to a number of luxury hotels such as the Intercontinental and the Marriott Courtyard. Costa Rica’s largest mall, the MultiPlaza is within close proximity.
While much of Santa Ana is modernized and property development is high, there is still a part of this district that retains its local flavor. Visit the Ceramica Las Palomas to get some local pottery or check out the colorful road stalls for some traditional goods. In the center of town like in any Costa Rican district, is a soccer field and park with a beautiful church opposite it.
Travel – Fly into San José International Airport. Airport pickup and return is included in your course.
About The School
Conversa has been teaching Spanish since 1975, and has been operating its Santa Ana campus since 1980. The "learning park" is run on a former dairy farm on a hillside above Santa Ana. It is one of the most respected Spanish language schools, offering students one of the best places to study Spanish in Costa Rica. The goal has always been to offer students more opportunities to learn to speak Spanish than they can find anywhere else. To do this, Spanish immersion is taken to the next level. Throughout the campus students find a variety of opportunities to practice their Spanish. Whether it's striking up a conversation with the grounds crew or walking into the mock "pulpería" (a neighborhood grocery store) to buy a few things, all in Spanish.
Students are constantly being stimulated to practice their Spanish.
The beautiful six-acre Santa Ana campus boasts three small lodges, a 45-foot swimming pool, 25 small classrooms, a cafeteria, an administration building, a basketball hoop, paddle tennis court, a ping pong table, a TV lounge, educational walking trails, a mock travel agency, convenience store and infirmary (for practicing Spanish in different situations), trees, plants, flowers, birds... a comfortable and lovely place to immerse yourself in Spanish.
Style of teaching – Predominant is the communicative method with much interaction. On your first day of courses, you are tested to determine your Spanish level. Small groups of maximum four students are formed. You will be assigned a new instructor for each week of your program. The instruction is entirely in Spanish. The highly trained and experienced instructors are skilled in blending conversation with grammar to meet the individual needs of group members. A portion of each day is dedicated to workbook exercises, and about one hour per day of homework is required. Spanish instructors are highly skilled and experienced classroom technicians as well as native speakers.
Levels offered – All levels accommodated, from complete beginners to very advanced. There is a placement test given to determine level, and then groups of four are formed.
Class size and hours – All classes are limited to FOUR students at the same level, 8:30 – 10:30am, 11 to 1pm and afternoon sessions for extended hours.
Materials – Included in your course fees.
College Credit – Conversa offers high-quality Spanish for college students seeking credit. Spanish courses ranging from Elementary Spanish I to Selected Readings in Latin American Literature are offered. Each program lasts two weeks (5.5 hrs/day - Monday through Friday). Students participating for the first time must take two programs (4 weeks), and they must begin on a start date.
Each college Spanish course listed below is accredited in the United States through the College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS), a consortium of over 100 colleges and universities throughout the United States. If you're enrolled in a college or university (or if you'd like to earn advanced placement credit - or apply towards continuing education), this will work for you. The following college Spanish courses are offered by Conversa year-round.
Elementary Spanish 1 - Spanish for beginners emphasizing broad competence in the basic skills: understanding, reading, writing and cross-cultural perspectives. / Elementary Spanish 2 - A continuation of Elementary Spanish I. Prerequisite: Elementary Spanish I or equivalent. / Basic Spanish Conversation 1 - A course emphasizing conversational Spanish. Extensive use is made of structural oral exercises and "on-site" use of the language. Corrective phonetics and aural comprehension. / Basic Spanish Conversation 2 - A continuation of Basic Spanish Conversation 1, emphasizing grammatical structures complementary to Elementary Spanish II.
Intermediate Spanish 1 - A sequential continuation of Elementary Spanish 1 and 2. Emphasis on oral and written presentations, emphasizing more complex grammatical structures. Costa Rican and other Hispanic cultures through a systematic approach to the development of reading, writing and conversational skills. / Intermediate Spanish 2 - Vocabulary building and emphasis on review and practice of complex grammatical structures through structured oral and written exercises. Contrast of common universal idiomatic expressions with Costa Rican usage. Costa Rican themes and daily life through graded readings. / Intermediate Conversation & Composition 1 - Promotes facility in understanding, speaking and writing the language. Emphasis on situational, everyday conversation. Structured speech to provide firm base in patterns of spoken Spanish with progression towards free conversation. / Intermediate Conversation & Composition 2 - Continuation of Intermediate Conversation & Composition 1, plus emphasis on more complicated situational, everyday conversation, including free conversation.
Advanced Spanish Grammar 1 - An approach to grammatical analysis and a synopsis of fundamental usages. Emphasis on subtleties, exceptions and current idiomatic use of the language. / Advanced Conversation 1 - For advanced students wishing to attain greater proficiency in the spoken language. Strongly recommended for majors. Conversation based on themes.
Selected Readings in Latin American Literature - A study of outstanding works, authors, genres or major literary currents in Latin America. Given in Spanish.
Students - There is no minimum or maximum age, although students under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. There is a children’s program for ages 6 to 10, and younger students are grouped according to ages.
Ages range from children of 6 to active seniors of 80+, and the school can provide nanny services for those under 6.
Calendar – Students can begin on any Monday unless choosing college credit, in which case, students must start on a start date. Conversa recommends a four week study, but you can choose fewer or more weeks and start on any Monday.
2017 Start Dates: January 2, 30; February 27; March 27; April 24; May 22; June 19; July 17; August 14, September 11; October 9; November 6; December 4.
2017 Holidays: January 1 and December 25. No classes held and no makeup classes given, nor reduction in tuition.
Conversa's six acre mountainside campus is filled with fruit trees, birds, fresh air, and breathtaking views, making it a grand setting for all sorts of activities. You will be able to spend your time swimming, hiking, and playing various sports such as volleyball, basketball, and ping pong. Also, dance classes are offered every Thursday afternoon. A special activity is the hiking trail around the school campus. These are actual trails throughout Conversa's campus, and the information you'll find here is displayed on little stands as you walk down the different paths. Each will take you through a different period in Costa Rican history. Also learn about Costa Rica's flora, fauna, and while you're at it, work on your Spanish grammar! There are also regular field trips organized to San José's museums and markets. A special event is the mid-program evening cookout on the terrace overlooking the breathtaking Santa Ana Valley. Conversa offers discounts to its students on selected weekend tours, such as white water rafting, excursions to volcanoes, biological reserves, and the Calypso Pacific Island Cruise. Conversa will make it easy and economical for you to explore all the wonders of Costa Rica.