Our 19 year old granddaughter Nikki has just completed 4 weeks of Spanish lessons in Tamarindo at ISLS in Costa Rica. We also signed up for the 3-day Welcome Program in San Jose before the program.
The Welcome Program included airport pick up on Thursday, 3-nights lodging at a host family, a tour of the surrounding area and the Central Valley, a white water adventure, and a five hour semi-private bus ride to Tamarindo. Nikki really liked the host family and enjoyed the white water rafting tremendously.
The first two weeks, she had four hours of group lessons (max 5 in the group) in the morning, and two hours of private lesson in the afternoon. The second two weeks, she had four hours of group lessons and two hours of surf lessons. The school is within a short walking distance from the beach.
She stayed in the 4-apartment complex at the ISLS campus, each with six beds in a two-bedroom one bathroom unit. The rooms all have Wi-Fi (a little sketchy at times) so she could Skype or FaceTime on her laptop and iPhone. The apartment was nothing fancy but very adequate, with kitchen etc.
During the first week, as the only girl in the program she was a bit traumatized and lonely - grocery shopping, cooking, eating by herself. But she said she wanted to tough it out instead of cancelling out. The second week, two more girls showed up in her apartment and things improved dramatically.
Rick, my husband and I went down to CR for a 10-day vacation toward the end of her lessons. By that time the school was almost full, there were four other students in the apartment unit with her. We met most of the teachers and staff, and we could not be more pleased with ISLS. All the staff there are very helpful and watched over the students. Nikki reported that she liked all of the teachers, both Spanish and surfing. Nikki didn’t speak any Spanish (neither do we!) when she got there, but she was able to ask for directions when we were lost on one of our side trips and seemed to do well in restaurants.
This was a very valuable life experience for Nikki. As tough as the first week was, she learned to be independent and used sound judgments to overcome the obstacles.
I would not hesitate to recommend the school, it is a very well-run institute.
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