About The School

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About San José

Founded in 1737, San José was a forgotten backwater of the Spanish empire until the late 19th century, when it boomed with the coffee business.  At 3,690 feet above sea level, San José enjoys spring like temperatures year-round, and its location in the Central Valley with volcano surroundings makes it both stunning and convenient as a base of exploration.

San José boasts some of the finest museums in Central America, including the shining Gold Museum with its extensive collection of pre-Columbian gold. Art lovers will enjoy the Costa Rican Art Museum, featuring a lovely open-air sculpture garden. For local craft items, head to the Mercado Central, or the open-air market on the Plaza de la Democracia. And don't forget to pick up some signature, shade-grown Costa Rican coffee.

The city's nightlife is lively and varied. The hip and bohemian crowds have several haunts, while those looking for live music can head to the jazz and salsa clubs. 

Today San José is the most cosmopolitan capital in Central America.  The city is packed with office towers, shopping malls and restaurants.  It is the center of it all for Josefinos, as inhabitants of San José are called, and it is home to over one-third of all Ticos.  A visit to San José to learn Spanish is perhaps your best opportunity for understanding modern-day Costa Rica.

Travel – Fly into San José International Airport.  Pickup is complimentary by your host family if in a homestay.

About The School

Since 1987, when ILISA was founded, its mission was clear: to help you reach your learning goals by creating the ideal conditions in which to learn. Since that time, ILISA has worked hard to exceed expectations both in and outside the classroom.  ILISA combines a highly motivated and well-trained staff, flexible and professional service with comfortable, well-equipped facilities and student-oriented approach to help you reach your goals. The school is located in an excellent area, the quiet suburb of San Pedro, close to both downtown San José and the majority of host families.  You are only a 10 minute bus ride from the center city.

The facilities themselves are unmatched by any language school in the region. Unlike most schools, nearly all of our classrooms are purpose-built, providing optimum conditions for a language school. Our main building features spacious, comfortable classrooms with ample natural light and ventilation, a computer lab, new offices, and a terrace restaurant. The expanded computer lab offers students convenient, all-day access to 8 computers with internet and e-mail access.  With a very large terrace ILISA has ample space for gatherings before, between and after classes. The terrace has become the heart of ILISA's social and cultural life. After all, you can't beat studying or chatting with other students when you have a beautiful mountain view and a freshly brewed cup of Costa Rican coffee.

Style of Teaching – The communicative approach pays attention to the functional as well as structural aspects of the language. ILISA has developed techniques and practices to teach all four language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) and which acknowledge the mutual interdependence of language and communication. The approach allows us to borrow elements from other teaching methods (such as role-playing, question and answer, visual aids and drills) to adapt to your learning patterns and to develop the skills you need. The success of any method or approach greatly depends on the teacher implementing it. A good teacher knows how to motivate you, is attentive to your needs, explains seemingly difficult things clearly, challenges you when needed, and has patience when it's not your day. In short, ILISA's teachers have excellent professional and people skills. The teaching staff has over one hundred years of accumulated teaching experience, and have all participated in a rigorous continuous development program.

Academic Credit      Available for this program

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 4.

Students – Students are of all ages and from many countries.  There is a discount for children when studying with their family.  The student population of this school often includes many adult professionals.

Calendar –Programs start every Monday, 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.
2017 Holidays: January 1; Thursday and Friday of Easter Week; April 11; May 1; July 25; August 15; September 15; December 25.


Activities – Each week ILISA offers at least three lectures and activities to provide additional exposure to the Spanish language and to inform you about Costa Rican history, its culture and its people. You can participate in guided visits to museums, theater performances, Latin dance and cooking classes or join lectures by local experts on a variety of topics. All these activities are complimentary.

Excursions to explore the country are available at optional additional cost. Whether you want to visit the scenic beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park, the active Arenal Volcano or get some whitewater rafting action on the Pacuare River, ILISA can help you explore it all. Costa Rica is a beautiful country, and you will be fully assisted in making your weekend travel unforgettable.