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CPI in June/July?

Old Feb 19th, 2008, 03:32 PM
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CPI in June/July?

I'm brand new to this forum - I'm a middle school teacher wanting to study Spanish in CR this summer. After some looking around on the web, it looks like CPI is highly recommended by many people. It seems expensive compared to other schools, though. Is it worth it?

A couple other questions: I'm a single woman in my 30s traveling alone, and my Spanish is pretty limited at present. I've traveled a bit in Central / South America, but never by myself, so I'm quite nervous about this trip, especially the homestay. Can anyone offer some encouragement / wisdom re: the homestay experience when you don't speak much Spanish yet?

I'm thinking about 2 weeks in Heredia and the last week at the Flamingo campus (I'd probably try to stay in one of their studio apts that last week). Has anyone studied at the Flamingo campus in the summer? Is it too hot to concentrate in the classrooms in June / July?

Also, does anyone know how easy it is to arrange tours to MA and Arenal on the weekends? Something on the CPI site sounded like the tours they'll arrange for you only go if enough people sign up - is that like to be a problem?

I'd be glad for any advice re: CPI / language study, etc. I'm almost ready to sign up - just haven't quite committed yet.

Thanks for your help!
teachergirl is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2008, 07:25 PM
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My daughter and I have done a total of 15 weeks with CPI, always with the same family. They are friends of ours, wonderful people whom we regularly visit even when not studying. We've known them for 5 years.

You can request them, if you'd like a good recommendation and trust me! The name is Victor and Delsy Espinoza-Aguilar. Delsy is a sweetheart (they are late 60's/early 70's with a fun extended family in and out)--and so is Victor. They are faithful church-goers, conservative, but fun. Not prudish, but they appreciate manners and respect, which they haven't gotten from some of their younger (college-age) students. I'd say they are pretty open minded up to a point. Good people. Just e-mail the school, attention Lorena (owner), and tell her you'd like to request a homestay based on a recommendation. I'm quite sure she will accomodate you.

CPI is an excellent school. The problem I ran into last June (3 weeks) was being in a class with some really young students (15). That is always going to be a problem in the summer months, though. Groups are small, as you've probably read. If the group is a problem, for some reason, they make every attempt to resolve it, even arranging for you to be in a more compatible group. The instruction at Heredia is outstanding.

Flamingo campus is, yes, very hot! Cabinas Isolinas is a great little place to stay, inexpensive, yet with AC! On the beach. . .

You can ride the van back and forth or walk the beach (about 30 min). to class.

Weekend trips do depend on numbers, but you can always arrange your own trips independently. There will be people to help you do that. I did 3 weekends on my own last year--just because I knew exactly what I wanted to do and coveted the time alone. I've traveled with the group before as well. . .

No need to be nervous. You'll find CR very easy. Some of my best memories are of walking to school in the a.m., spending time at the internet afterward, and visiting with the family in the afternoon and evenings, cooking for them, playing cards, etc.

If you'd like more information, don't hesitate to contact me at

[email protected]

Hope this helps a bit!
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 04:50 PM
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Thanks so much -- this is so helpful and encouraging.

Your homestay family sounds like a good fit for me in terms of values, etc. (although someone suggested it'd be best to be with a family with children at home, as they are great "ice breakers." Not sure what to make of that suggestion.)

I'm still contemplating the Flamingo Beach week. I enjoy the beach and summer heat is fine with me when I'm close to water; I'm just not sure how much my brain would take in if the classrooms are unbearably hot. I like the idea of spending time in another part of the country, though.

So I'm dreaming of studying Spanish in Costa Rica, but for tonight, I'm sitting in my living room in Pennsylvania with my Rosetta Stone cd, watching the snow flurries out the window. Summer feels mighty far away!

Thanks again for your help.
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 07:06 PM
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I am also a teacher who has taken 9th graders to Mexico and Costa Rica for over 10 years, the last two with CPI. The home-stay is key to a successful language experience. Heredia is a very small town and Flamingo is more of a beach resort than real town. They also have a school in Monteverde where we have studied and have enjoyed the homestay portion. Don't worry too much about the language as English is spoken by mnay Ticos, which is also not great for your immersion. If you take the normal precautions you should be as safe or safer than you would be back in the states. Pura Vida!
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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 08:13 AM
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Your e-mail made me smile as I thought of the kids always in and out of Delsy and Victor's home. Grandkids. They LOVE the student guests. . .ages from 4 to 21, lots of fun. Most are teenagers.
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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 05:23 PM
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Hi,

I can't answer your questions about CPI but I am going there in April (CPI Flamingo). Since my husband is going with me we are not doing a homestay, but if I were going on my own I would love to do a homestay. I booked a week course and now found out that it will only be a four day course because of Juan Santamaria day, but I am still pretty excited.

I have been to CR once, and can't wait to get back. I am also going in June with my 8th graders. I am so excited!!! I am also encouraged to see so many teachers on this board. I think that anything we can do to expose our students to other cultures will help our future.

Well I am rambling...my point being after I attend school there in April I will be sure to write and let you know my experience.
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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 06:02 PM
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Wow, you must have a spring break in April! Somehow in Pennsylvania they haven't figured out that a week off that time of year would do us all (students and teachers) some good .
I would love to hear about your experience at CPI Flamingo when you return. Maybe the fifth day with no class will give you a chance to visit someplace interesting.
Happy travels!
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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 06:45 PM
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Due to political problems in Oaxaca,Mexico I have had to change my annual trip and now we use CPI for our school trip in the late spring. The school is very well organized and the homestays were awesome. It is the country to me that lacks the daily excitement and interaction that a colonial town in Mexico can provide. The natural beauty is incredible, but no markets and very little that is unique to Costa Rica, menos Gallo Pinto.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2008, 09:11 AM
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On Juan Santamaria day, you MUST go to Liberia for a great cultural experience. Just seeing the sabaneros on their high stepping steeds is fun. I'll never forget seeing someone riding (prancing) down the street last year with a cell phone in one hand and a beer in the other!

It's quite an interesting day in good old Liberia!
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Old Mar 9th, 2008, 01:29 PM
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Well, I did it - signed up for 3 weeks of CPI in June-July (2 in Heredia and one at the Flamingo Campus). "Bought" my ticket yesterday with frequent flier miles. I'm so excited - made my first travel purchases just now, a $8 rain poncho that folds up in a little pouch and a Spanish phrase book.
Cgenster, I'd love to hear about your experience when you return next month!
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Old Mar 9th, 2008, 02:01 PM
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Hi Teachergirl,

I am so excited to go, I can hardly wait. My husband and I count down the days every morning. I will be sure to post when we get back.

And yes our spring break is in April. Do you get a spring break in Pennsylvania?

Shillmac, thanks for the note about Liberia. We are going to leave Potrero on Thursday 4/10 and go to Rincon de la Vieja national park for Thursday and Friday nights, but I think that is only about 30 minutes from Liberia so maybe we will go in for the celebration.
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Old Mar 9th, 2008, 02:15 PM
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I can totally believe you're counting the days! I would love to be on the playa right now.

Sadly, no spring break for us in Pennsylvania - just Good Friday and Monday off. We all need one, though - my 7th graders are a little nutty right now!

I'm realizing I probably should've planned to fly into San Jose and then OUT of Liberia, because now I'll probably have to pay for a night somewhere near the airport at the end of the trip when I'll already have a room in Flamingo . . . oh well!

Can't wait to hear all about it!!
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