This trip was a life changing experience! I got to immerse myself in Spanish at a beautiful school, while also being a 2 minute walk from the beach! I highly recommend it to any high school student looking for a one of a kind cultural immersion experience! The program staff for both SPI and the school were so nice and they were always there to help us! From day one, you'll live with a host family that will, by the end of the trip become your second family! Weekdays are spent doing activities or volunteer service in the morning. Usually activities were visiting local beaches, horse back riding, and cultural activities. The volunteer service was so much fun and it's even better knowing you're making a difference. The weekends were our big activities. One of them was visiting a national park where we went horse back riding, river tubing, and zip lining, all in the same day! We also had an optional sunset cruise where we went snorkeling off the coast of Playa Tamarindo! The weekday afternoons are spent at the language school. The first day you're tested and placed in a class from anywhere from 1-4 students my year since we were a small group. the teachers make the classes very fun and usually you do an activity each class. The school in Flamingo also gives out snacks during break time and the school even has its own pool! The food on the program was so good! If you're not up to diving straight into Costa Rica food, for lunch there are a few different options. With your host family, I can guarantee that everything will be yummy! My advice would be to be open to different kinds of food! Most of it is rice and different meats that you're used to so it isn't that far of a stretch! You'll almost always have a roommate depending on the group, and everyone in the group will become best friends by the end. Beaches, surfing, clear water, hilltop restaurants, gelato (yes there is gelato!), what is there not to love! Safely was never an issue during my time there! Everyone in the village we stayed at knew each other and we got to know our neighborhood ice cream owner and convenience store owner. There are so many more things I want to mention about the trip but I don't want to make this into a novel! Please feel free to message me about any question that you have about the program! Trust me, you'll never get sick of the Costa Rica sunsets! Pura Vida!
Overall this program was amazing! The one thing I would change has nothing to do about SPI but more about the language school we were at. It was nothing major and was quickly resolved and it was just about which programs rules we had to follow with our host family. You'll be under SPI's rules.