SPI High School Spanish Language Immersion & Volunteer: Costa Rica

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from SPI Study Abroad.
COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, SPI Study Abroad has decided to pause some of their upcoming programs temporarily and may be offering flexible booking options as well. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

My homestay(and the 2 dogs who decided to like us on the last day) and my roommates.
Roommate and I found a beach while exploring
First day at the beach with some of the girls
Beauty all around
The whole group at a beach bonfire
Cooking with my roomates & Moma Tika (homestay mom)

About

SPI Study Abroad's high school Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica is known for its variety of fun activities, including cooking, surfing, zip-line canopy tours, rain forest and wildlife walks, volunteer service projects, dance classes, artisan studio visits and more. With two locations to choose from, Costa Rica is the perfect setting for high school students to practice their Spanish skills, while also exploring and experiencing Costa Rica’s vibrant culture. Students live with caring homestay families, attend Spanish class, and participate in a vast array of activities and excursions to experience the best the country has to offer. SPI Study Abroad Costa Rica offers two and four-week long summer program sessions. For complete program details, including dates, tuition, itineraries and photos, please visit the SPI Study Abroad website.

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.14 Rating
based on 14 reviews
  • Growth 8.7
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.1
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.5
  • Program Selection 8.5
  • Pre-departure Help 9.5
  • In-program Support 9.5
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
Showing 1 - 8 of 14
Default avatar
Jane
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SPI Spanish Immersion

I am so happy to have found SPI! My son's high school uses an online language course and I really felt he was struggling to grasp even the basics of Spanish. I stumbled on SPI through online searching for language programs for high school age kids and signed him up for two weeks in Playa Flamingo (summer of 2016). He had a FANTASTIC time and came back much more confident in his ability to learn and speak Spanish. He enjoyed the program so much that he asked me to sign him up again for the summer of 2017 - for the month long program. Fantastic again! My son loved all the activities and he met so many interesting kids from all over the country. He was quite proud that he learned how to mix concrete. Zip lining, river tubing, exploring the cloud forest, beaches etc. all great fun. I worried that he would not be happy about having to go to language class every afternoon, but it was not a problem for him at all. The teachers were good, the facilities nice and they did a good job keeping things interesting. Plus, the classrooms in Flamingo were air conditioned, which apparently felt nice after a morning in the sun. And what a difference that month made to his Spanish speaking abilities. Wow! I think SPI Costa Rica is a great program, well organized with great staff. Thanks for giving my son two great summer adventures!

Default avatar
Katy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SPI, My Experience In Costa Rica

I learned an incredible amount during my study abroad experience in Costa Rica this past summer, and not only from the learning center we attended in Monte Verde, but also from the shopkeepers, host families, and general environment that surrounded us during our trip. My "papá tico" and "mamá tica" were very kind and never failed to share their Costa Rican and general knowledge with me and my roommate. The food was amazing and the excursions our group took (both for recreation and service) were exciting and fun. My knowledge and confidence with the Spanish language grew throughout the duration of the trip, and I have many wonderful memories from my time in costa Rica. Zip lining over the cloud forest and performing our graduating assignment at El Centro Panaméricano de Idiomas in Monte Verde are among my favorites.

Default avatar
Jessica
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SPI, An Experience Of A Life Time

My overall SPI experience was an experience of a life time; I will truly never forget a single memory from this trip. My study abroad experience in Monteverde Costa Rica was my first true experience outside of the United States, as well as my first true experience where I had little control over my envirionment seeing that I was in a spanish speaking country. Upon meeting my homestay I was overly nervous and was scared for the next week of my life, but on the last day when we had to say goodbye I didn't want to leave; they became my second family. The excursions that were planned were amazing as well, we went zip lining, bridge walking, community service, played soccer with local kids as well as visited a beautiful beach on isla tortuga where I got to meet and play volleyball with other study abroad kids whom I am very good friends with even today. Here I am writing a review for the program and my experience but to be quite honest, I can't even fit all of the amazing memories that were gained from this trip and I cannot even fathom the feeling of enlightenment, and community, into a few sentences. I highly recommend traveling with SPI, the entire process from airports to day to day life was planned amazingly.

Default avatar
Graycen
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SPI, Life Changing Experience!

You read those reviews that start with "LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE!!! :D", and it has absolutely zero effect on you. Out of all the reviews that claim something to be life changing, probably only 10-20% are genuinely so. However, SPI is part of that elite group. SPI provided me with experiences that simply weren't accessible for me back home. From bungee jumping with my new found friends to volunteering with the neighborhood kids, I honestly had an unforgettable experience. Not a once in a life time one- I'm returning next summer-, however it is one that I'll never forget.

Default avatar
James
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure of a lifetime

The trip was interesting and fun right off the bat. Once I got off the plain staff was welcoming and accommodating in every way. I loved volunteering where we got to help make houses look new again my adding concrete, painting, and sanding. Out activities were places around Flamingo Beach where I got to learn how to surf, paddleboard, and snorkel since those opportunities aren't present here in Michigan so it created a way to do things I'd never thought I'd have the chance to do. I also liked the amount of freedom when we got to walk around town shopping and exploring. It gave a since of adventure that was guided by the curiosity of my new friends and I.

What would you improve about this program?
Classes were informative and we got to learn a lot but sitting in a classroom for 4 hours took some of the fun out of the experience. If we got to put newly learned vocabulary to practice, such as going out as an activity and talking to someone, there would be more interactive learning where we can apply new skills.
Default avatar
James
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Parent Review - From the other side

From home with constant contact via Facebook posts from SPI we felt up-to-date with everything our daughter was doing from the time she left with the group until even after she returned to us.

First international trip and without us it was a scary experience for all involved but exciting for what lie ahead.

She was on her own but with a group. Younger, older, richer, none poorer from all over the country. They all bonded as a family quickly.

4 hours in class every day didn't go over too well but it did pay off in the long run to learn from native speakers instead of some Spanish teacher from Nebraska in the USA. Simple phrases with slight tones made her love the language even more.

Her homestay could have been more involved with the family which was limited to basically breakfast and Good Nights before bed but it showed her how that culture lived day to day.

Adventures included surfing, ziplining, river tubing, and some cultural visits and plenty of time at the beach.

Volunteer time showed them you didn't have to have the latest Apple product to be happy. A simple paint job on the house makes a world of difference when you have a dirt floor.

More school than vacation it was I had hoped for in exposing our daughter to the larger world outside of our smaller town. Goo and bad as far as those with her on the trip as some made the most of every chance to expand their experiences while others simply counted the days until it was over. It was all what you made of it and our daughter made the most of it.

Overall I would send her again in a minute and would encourage everyone no matter their language level to take part in this trip.

What would you improve about this program?
More homestay scheduled time.
More interactive opportunities to practice their language in real life situations in the real world and not just the classroom.
Default avatar
Lulu
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Experience

Going abroad and immersing myself with the Spanish people and culture has always been a dream of mine. I have always wanted to be able to hold a conversation fluently and this trip gave me the opportunity to do just that. Practicing my Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country 24/7 pushed me to my highest potential even though it was exciting and nerve racking. Being in a country I have never been before, with strangers whose primary language was not English pushed me to try my hardest and speak all the Spanish that I knew regardless of the mistakes that I made. I took advantage of all the numerous opportunities such as; speaking with mama tica, with teachers, and at the stores. Through this experience I became independent and did not rely on a dictionary or teacher to explain things to me. I have seen a lot of growth in my Spanish after coming from the trip.

I can honestly say that everything in this program was perfect. I cannot chose only one aspect that was my favorite.I enjoyed that this program incorporated other activities like the cooking classes and dancing classes that really exposed us to the Latin culture and the Latin cuisine. To study abroad is an experience of a lifetime and I feel that everyone should be able to do it.You will leave learning so much and always remember your experience and memories there.

Default avatar
Katherine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

¡Una experiencia increíble!

I can full heartedly say that this trip has been one of the best two weeks of my life. The experience is immensely helpful with regard to the immersion within the home-stays and within the class room, as the teachers speak very little English. The service is also rewarding, and I learned a great deal about the environment and what we can do to help our planet. The relationships I formed on this trip have lasted and I will always look back fondly on my memories from this trip. The town of Monteverde, as well as Santa Elena, felt very safe and I never felt in harms way, as it is a small and friendly town. We do numerous activities, including zip-lining, horseback riding, dancing classes, hanging-bridge tours, planting trees, and many more. Each activity shared more of the culture of Costa Rica with us and the importance of nature to Monteverde.

This experience will better me throughout my life and is one I will never forget. Not to mention the Costa Rican food is delicious. I highly recommend this program to whomever is considering it and is open to embracing the culture and customs of Costa Rica.

What would you improve about this program?
I would suggest that the supervisors recommend places to go during free mornings or nights, because we would have to find places on our own without much feedback as to what the best places to hang out are or fun activities to do around town.

I also think that people would appreciate it if the supervisors recommended that the students keep a diary or write down what happened each day. I wish I had done this and I think it would be useful for future participants.