Tico Lingo - Spanish School in Heredia, Costa Rica

Tico Lingo

About

Located two hours from the Pacific ocean and three hours from the Caribbean, Tico Lingo offers a complete Spanish immersion program curated by our expert Spanish professors. Utilizing groups of no more than six students per class, we submerse out students in 4-5 hour classes every day, Monday through Friday in a true, non-touristy Costa Rican expereince.

In addition to Spanish classes, Tico Lingo offers a Homestay program where students live in the homes with nearby families, share two meals a day with them, and continue to further practice their Spanish skills. Additional activities include Latin dance classes, yoga, cooking classes, culture tours, adventure tours, and memberships to our conversational club with English students.

Founded
2015

Reviews

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Sandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went from zero to 10 in 4 weeks!

I loved absolutely everything about my time in Costa Rica. It is difficult to put in to words all the extra benefits I experienced from what I imagined was just another Spanish immersion program in Latin America. I was so wrong! The biggest take away from Tico Lingo was that I felt that my language leaning goal mattered to all the staff as much as it did to me. It appeared that everything was carefully designed to support me to where I wanted to be. I can now say that I am confidently communicating in Spanish!

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Gabriel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This school is hands down the best place on earth to learn Spanish! I had never had so much fun learning a new language, they have an amazing program and everyone treats you like they've known you since forever, its a super welcoming place. AGAIN... when I say hands down I mean way down... I can't recommend TicoLingo enough I loved the entire experience, all the way from the airport pickup, to my home-stay family welcoming me in their home, to the actual Spanish classes, to the amazing tours I was able to do in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is an amazing Country and TicoLingo has certainly picked a great and centric spot to be in. If you are looking for a Spanish immersion program like no other TicoLingo has you covered!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
The only thing I'd change is actually staying longer, that's the one thing I regret, I went for 1-month and it just was not enough! I wanted more, and did not want to leave. Right now I'm saving up to be able to go again!
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Hyland
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was eager to start learning conversational Spanish again after a year long break. Quarantine was the perfect time and helped me feel more structured once my second semester ended. It was always enjoyable and engaging. My professor and the coordinator were very accommodating to my schedule changing in the fall. I have learned so much about the language and the culture in Costa Rica and hope I can visit someday. I recommend this program to anyone and everyone who wants to meet new people and start learning a new language!

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Sara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I absolutely recommend online Spanish classes with Tico Lingo. After the consultation call with Yenifer, I signed up for 10 hours of online instruction with Zulma. There were several class times that worked well for me and scheduling was easy! As I'm new to Spanish, Zulma gave me vocabulary to learn and taught me basic conversation phrases and skills. I loved talking with Zulma! Taking classes with Tico Lingo from home gave me structured lessons and made me excited to study. I look forward to taking classes at the school one day. For now, I plan to sign up for more classes online.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Learning to speak in all Spanish! Zulma was very patient with me and helped me be more confident in articulating my thoughts.
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Harrison
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Not only did Tico Lingo show me the beauties of Costa Rica, I also had the great privilege to be emerged into Tico culture. For three weeks, I lived with Hellen and her beautiful family. Hellen was perfect, since she knew all about Celiacs Disease, and she ensures I never had any gluten. She made me feel safe and comfortable, which I feel is necessary when traveling to a different country. My conversational skills improved immensely while at Tico Lingo, and I am now a much more confident speaker. Lastly, I met people who I will be close to my entire life. If you are looking to be fully immersed into the Costa Rican culture, meet many amazing people, all while exponentially improving your Spanish, then tico lingo is for you.

What was your funniest moment?
To many! One of the students, Chris, who was from the Ivory Coast, and I got along very well. We had many laughs along the way!

Programs

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I researched many Latin American programs and chose this one on the basis of its flexibility of curriculum, its location in a temperate climate (I don’t do well in extreme heat) in the country I know and trust, and on the basis of many positive reviews.

I had no personal knowledge of the school or of the individuals who created it prior to showing up.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

All I had to do was let the extremely capable staff know my preferences and certain uncertainties in my schedule and they took care of everything. I really wanted a private bathroom at my homestay, I wanted to be sure that certain dietary preferences were not a problem, and I wanted the ability to add private lessons to my group curriculum after establishing just how much energy I would have in a given day of school.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would advise other students who want to have private lessons, to arrange for them as soon as possible so that they have no schedule conflicts with other students.

This is a small school which is a great part of it’s charm, but there is a limit to the number of private lessons available at the times desired.

Having said that, I must add that I was able to get all the private lessons I wanted at the last minute. I just needed to be a tiny bit flexible with the times. Yenifer Who is the main person in the front office is a magician with schedules.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Each weekday has a four hour group class tailored to the level of expertise of each student group. I can only speak for myself, but my instruction with Freddy was spot on as far as what I needed to learn. For me, he was absolutely amazing.

I must add that the classes are flexible and in my experience adjust to the immediate needs of the student on any given day. These classes are not rigid with set milestones and specific examinations. Rather they are tailored to the individual needs of those attending each class.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I had no fears going into this, but I was apprehensive about my own ability to learn a great deal in six weeks. A combination of their extremely competent instructors, their broad curriculum, and my own personal interest made for a very successful experience.

My long-term goal is to be able to understand local speakers in the street. I am not there yet. Six weeks is not enough for 64-year-old man to get that fluent.

However, I am now 100% certain that that goal is within my reach over the next year.

What makes this program special?

The school establishes a culture of camaraderie, positivity, and just plain fun.

Everyone who works there and, quite frankly, every student I met, contributed to an atmosphere of Community and a sense of progress.

I specifically recommend Freddy, the head of curriculum, as a marvelous instructor in Spanish grammar. This is largely because he has a deep understanding of both English and Spanish and is able to clarify confusion unlike any Spanish instructor I have ever worked with. He is a gem.

I am making this recommendation as a beginner who needed to understand the grammatical structure of this language in order to infill that infrastructure with vocabulary and experience.

My experience was 100% successful in this regard.

I shall miss this place and I plan to return.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Yóbeth Cabalceta

Job Title
Spanish Professor
Born and raised in the beautiful and sunny province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Yobeth started working as a facilitator in a Spanish school during her college days. She developed a fond passion for teaching and quickly had an opportunity to work as a university professor after graduating college with a triple major in education, literature, and linguistics. As her interest in working with foreign students grew later in her career, she began seeking smaller, private schools that focused on intensive Spanish. Thus, she found Tico Lingo and continues to teach students from around the world.

What is your favorite travel memory?

I don't travel too often, I like to be close to family here in Costa Rica. Occasionally we take trips together out to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. I think that my favorite experience was observing closely the whales and dolphins on the coast of the south of Costa Rica. Incredibly beautiful animals!

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

In the world? Hmmm …I think that the whole rural zone is very underestimated in Centroamérica, Suramerica. There are still some indigenous peoples that live there!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Education is at the core of everything we do here. Definitively, it is necessary to allow for creativity in the classroom and social interaction between the students and the teachers. Learning between walls and cubicles as well as using unnecessary technology that distances students is really not our goal. We want all of our students to connect with our community personally and walk away with a comprehensive educational experience.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I feel that here at Tico Lingo I can apply and experiment with all the teaching techniques I've learned over my 30+ years of teaching Spanish. Normally large language institutes keep a very strict and authoritative program where students are inside a classroom all day reading textbooks and filling out worksheets. If I've learned anything over the years, it's that each student learns differently and a level of flexibility is necessary to truly connect with each student. Tico Lingo allows that! They let me experiment with new ideas in the classroom, take students out into the community, and teach in a format that is fun, cultural, and informative.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

Warmth towards students and teachers! We get to know each on an individual level that allows them to relax in a new place, soak up the good weather, and study their brains out while they are here.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Whenever I find out that they use what I've taught them. It's always fantastic to hear students students applying what they learn in the real world, especially when it came from me!