My time at Tico Lingo was absolutely amazing. As a sixteen-year-old high school student, this was my first experience with any sort of study-abroad program (and my first time traveling anywhere on my own), and it did not disappoint! From the moment I arrived to the moment I left, I could not have been happier or more satisfied with this program. Despite having taken Spanish classes in the US for three years, I did not feel at all confident speaking the language-- on the first day, I could barely communicate, let alone understand what my homestay family was saying! However, by the end of the program, my speaking abilities had vastly improved and I could both speak and understand with relative ease.
I arrived in Heredia thinking I would only be there for two weeks. However, by the third day, I’d fallen in love with my homestay family, my newfound friends, and the city itself. A few phone calls later, I had arranged to stay for a month. I found that Heredia was the perfect setting to practice Spanish-- the locals were extremely patient and friendly, and were always willing to strike up a conversation. More importantly, however, my homestay family was incredible. The entire family's amazingly welcoming demeanor made me feel like I was a family member right from the start. Chris and Karen were also wonderful, and were always there to help the students with anything we needed.
The teachers were fantastic. Each had their own style and manner of teaching, and all three were incredibly helpful and friendly. Ana Lorena's kind, patient, and encouraging demeanor was perfect, especially for the first few days, when I felt overwhelmed by my lack of understanding. After I felt comfortable with the material she was covering, I was able to move into Lucia's class, which was filled with discussion, question-and-answer activities, and constant conversation. Lucia's teaching style was a perfect blend of grammar and real-world applications, and she did an amazing job of giving context to her lessons, making them memorable and easily understandable. During my last week at Tico Lingo, I moved into Freddy's class. Freddy was very patient and professional, with a great sense of humor, and his class was far more grammar-intensive than the former two. I learned an incredible amount in just a few days with him, which was perfectly paced after the three weeks spent building a strong foundation for my Spanish. After a month of classes, I found that my Spanish abilities skyrocketed; whereas before I struggled to articulate my thoughts, speaking now came naturally.
This program was a wonderful learning experience. Thank you so much to Chris, Karen, my teachers, and my homestay family! I hope to come back next year! ¡Pura vida!