Tico Lingo

Program Reviews

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Jamie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2nd visit, looking forward to a 3rd!

This is my second time visiting Tico Lingo, and I had an even better time than before! The school has grown leaps and bounds, and I was able to learn and practice my spanish more than I imagined. I highly recommend this school to anyone that wants to learn spanish, meets lots of people, explore a cool city, stay with a great homestay family, and even learn how to cook traditional Costa Rican Foods! I will most certainly go back to visit again, I can't think of any place better to learn Spanish. Overall the school, the program and the whole team at Tico Lingo is A+++

Pros
  • Great Teachers
  • Great homestay program
  • Lots of fun people!
Cons
  • NONE
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Elise
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Loved it! Such an adventure!

I visited Heredia, Costa Rica for June 2021. We were always out and about, visiting a new place in Costa Rica or exploring Heredia. It is a good program for adventurous travelers who truly want to explore and learn more about a new place. My host family was amazing and so sweet, and they were very helpful with my learning Spanish (especially during nightly dinner that they made for my housemate and I). The community in Heredia is very safe and welcoming. Would definitely recommend to a highschool/ college student wanting to try something new!

Pros
  • Authentic, homemade meals
  • Lots of activities and exercise
  • constant language and cultural immersion
Cons
  • small town
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John
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Couldn’t wait to return

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.

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Jujhar
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer 2017 Program Review

The program was amazing in my Spanish development and I returned to my school with noticeable improvement. My host family was amazing I appreciate how well I integrated into their family. My teachers were understanding, compassionate and explained grammar an vocab in a way we understood. I felt safe and explored the city like I would anywhere else. I wish I stayed much much longer than three weeks but Tico Lingo was my first experience abroad and it lit a spark to see the rest of the world. It was awesome!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Whitewater rafting was the most exhilarating and scary part of my life.
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Sam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Tico lingo!

I’m so glad I went ahead and signed up with tico lingo, I loved it there and wish I could’ve stayed longer but couldn’t because of my visa. The staff are like family and the program is awesome. I love how the classes are no more then 5 people, they really focus on making sure you are comfortable with the materiel being taught ( being on your level) we also did many other things other then learning. Together with other students we checked out other cities in the country, we did a lot of hikes, sight seeing, activities like water rafting/ zip lining/ ATV riding. It was all just awesome.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising thing was definitely how much better Costa Rica was then what I had thought. Beautiful country where I felt very safe.
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Lucas
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing way to learn Spanish from home

Chris and everyone at Tico Lingo are incredibly welcoming and flexible. No matter your level of Spanish, you will find Tico Lingo's online classes to be helpful. I have been taking online classes for about a year and a half now and my Spanish has seen significant improvement. Your teachers will create custom lesson plans to best suit your wants and needs and will keep things fresh and engaging. Learning/improving your Spanish is hard work, but Tico Lingo makes it fun and rewarding. Would highly recommend to all those looking to learn Spanish from the comfort of their home. ¡Pura vida!

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Lainee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

6 weeks in Costa Rica

It was really fun. Lessons last for four hours with a break in between, after which there is an optional hour of either yoga, cooking classes, or dance classes. After that you're free to explore the city (and go into San José to look at the museums). I stayed with a host family, and it was super helpful. You get home cooked meals every day, a chance to practice your Spanish, and a local guide. Fair warning - the weather (at least during the wet season) switches from hot and humid to pouring rain. I'd recommend packing an umbrella and a ton of sunscreen.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Definitely bring bug spray and sunscreen. While you are in a city, there are a lot of tours offered on the weekends and they can get pretty buggy. The sun in Costa Rica is also super strong, so be prepared to get burnt. If you're an athletic person there's a lot of free exercise equipment in the parks, and several gyms near the school. There are also some good hikes (if you're willing to drive a bit). If you're a food person, there's a ton of really good restaurants in the neighborhood. The coffee is, of course, excellent. I'd recommend going for at least four weeks, so you can go on as many of the weekend tours as possible. Also, there's an option to get additional private lessons in the afternoon, and I'd recommend those if you really want to improve your Spanish.
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Christian
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Tico Lingo Experience

I appreciated the Tico Lingo program. I had the intention of going to learn Spanish and although I picked up some elements it turned out not to be the focus of my time during the program. What I found was important for me was the independence I gained. This was my first trip without being accompanied by my family. I was 15 years old and I had the capacity to journey around with new friends and also have a level of financial independence. Much of the town was closed due to Covid-19 quarantine measures but I still managed to find things to do and occupy myself either via the kind family who hosted me, the roommates who became like brothers, and the activities like white water rafting that the camp provided. Interacting with some of the kids was challenging but for the most part, the group was pretty cool. I got to understand myself better and am looking forward to my next solo excursion. I think if you want to offer your child a safe environment in beautiful surroundings where they can learn a bit of Spanish and open themselves up to a culture they may not be familiar with, this is the experience for you.

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Zoe
5/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Tico Lingo Homestay and Spanish Immersion Classes

My name is Zoe, I am 18 years old--Tico Lingo was my first international trip that I took alone. I did a homestay with a local mother who lived alone. I wasn't really worried about this or getting along with her because I am a very social and outgoing person. However, she was immediately indifferent towards me. My Spanish is not fluent, but intermediate for sure. I came to Costa Rica to learn, of course. My host mother was so cold and frustrated towards me when I could not perfectly understand her. I tried my best and often asked for another way of saying it or to talk slower, and she would literally throw her hands up and walk out of the room in anger. The homestay was one of the key parts that this program offered, yet all my host mother did for me was cook breakfast and sometimes dinner for me, and leave me sitting alone at the table to eat my meals. When we would talk it would be because her friends were over. They were so rude to me. I heard them talk badly about me multiple times, making fun of me when they thought I could not understand. I was called stupid by them while I was two yards away eating dinner. I told teachers and staff at Tico Lingo about this and we joked around, but no one helped or took much interest. Thankfully, I met amazing friends there that kept me going, but If I had not I can easily say it would've been a horrible experience. The lessons themselves were hard for me too. I have mild ADD so I learn a little slower than others. However, a good teacher knows how to teach different kinds of students. My teacher Erick would get mad at me when I didn't get and answer right, and tell me to pay attention. These classes were 4 hours, so I clearly struggled to focus at all times. At a certain point I just wanted to give up and almost ditch classes (I didn't, but I wanted too) because I felt so uncomfortable and shamed in class. Getting answers wrong is part of how you learn. It became clear that my teacher hated his job there and was miserable in class with us. This of course made it miserable for the students. I can say for sure my Spanish got worse during this time because my teacher went so fast through material that I couldn't remember the basics. As far as the city itself, I loved the food but was always being catcalled or followed by men. I was almost kidnapped by a delivery man for a pizza shop, and walking home at night was very scary. There was also nothing AT ALL to do in this city but go eat or drink. My friends and I would take trips to other places in Costa Rica but it was to expensive to do more than once in the two weeks I was there. Save yourself the money and stress, and go somewhere where they enjoy teaching and having you. This was horrible.

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Natalie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing camp full of great people

I loved every single day of the three weeks I spend in Costa Rica with Tico Lingo. My teacher was incredible and I learned so much about the structure and grammar of the Spanish language and by the end I felt drastically more comfortable speaking and interacting in Spanish using what I learned. My host family was also very kind and generous and the 13 other students were all really awesome people. The afternoon activities were also super fun and they bonded us all as a group through the unforgettable experiences we shared. We also had a good amount of free time to explore the city on our own with a friend or two. The weekend trips were really fun and we got to see so much of the wildlife in Costa Rica while also doing anything from swimming at the beach to white water rafting.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice would be to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. You're only going to learn once you're out in the world interacting with different people in different cultures, so don't be afraid to make a mistake. Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Let yourself stumble a bit through those mistakes, get yourself back up and don't forget your toothbrush.