This was my second six-week stint as a student at Tico Lingo. My first experience left me longing to return, not just to Costa Rica, but specifically to Tico Lingo School. It took two years, owing to the pandemic, but it was worth the wait.
My second go-round has only strengthened my sense that I not only have a second home here, with established friends and connections, but that I once again have access to the best Spanish teachers I’ve ever met.
Tico Lingo is situated in the lovely, safe and historic town of Heredia which boasts one of the most comfortable climates possible, warm temperate days, cool nights and sunny skies, without the heat or humidity found in most of Central American. And while this was initially a deciding factor in choosing this school in 2020, Tico Lingo itself deserves all the credit for luring me back.
Chris Reidy, the owner and co-founder, has assembled a small team of truly exceptional people, from professor Freddy Fariñas, the head of curriculum (and simply the best Spanish instructor I have ever encountered anywhere, period, in part owing to his advanced degrees in both English and Spanish and in part owing to his passion for sharing the joy he finds in language) to the other excellent “profesors Y profesoras”, to Yenifer, the ever-helpful, tireless administrator, to Yammi, the custodian who keeps the school incredibly neat and clean, 24/7, and of course, Chris himself who deserves huge credit for putting it all together.
My home stay family was beyond welcoming, and provided delicious breakfasts and suppers in a clean, lovely home and a very private study area. And just about everyone else at the school expresses very high satisfaction with their host families as well.
The school’s intake process is easy with great pre-trip communication and almost effortless logistics for getting you to your homestay and to the school.
I would describe the facility as cozy, colorful, welcoming, airy, and over-the-top friendly, with free coffee, tea and snacks always available. It very quickly feels like home and I found myself staying long after classes to study in any one of the many niches available.
On both my visits I have returned having made life-long friends. (Call it a selection bias, but it is simply a fact that if you are a person interested in visiting another country to learn THEIR language, you will meet others with whom you have a lot in common.)
All the fun, daily, extra curricular activities and weekend tours, as well as the options for additional private classes are easily found on the web site. But it’s the intangibles, the specific culture of Tico Lingo that makes it so special.
Oh, and after this second six weeks, as I wistfully headed for home, it took me a minute to realize that the airline staff had actually checked me in entirely in Spanish, and that I had understood everything she told me.
That was a first 👍.
I very much plan to return again.