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Question for Melissa regarding CPI Language School in Heredia

Question for Melissa regarding CPI Language School in Heredia

Mar 26th, 2007, 03:15 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 147
Question for Melissa regarding CPI Language School in Heredia

Hi, Melissa,
Just read you reply to the "Language School" post.
Could you tell me the age range of students that were taking classes? Were there any senior citizen students?
Thanks
tigerpaw is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 09:39 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 212
Hi, Tigerpaw-
Good question! I was worried there would be a bunch of spring break kids there and found a pretty good mix of ages. I don't know that there were any senior citizens at the time I was there, but I know my homestay family had hosted retired couples before. Also, we were there during a very non-busy time, so we didn't have as many students as usual. This is how it broke down: Some college kids (and younger), myself and my cousin (35 and 29, respectively), a few class mates that we toured and hung out with that were in their 30s and 40s, a man from Holland who seemed to be in his 50s (didn't ask him so I don't know for sure).

A family member in her 60s went to Monteverde with her husband, and I feel pretty certain that CPI gets a wide age range. I also think it depends on when you go--I bet the college and high school student quotient goes up in the summer.

Let me say again that I just loved CPI, had a great teacher, was in a class with only one other person who also was highly motivated to learn.

I'm sure there are other good schools, but I loved CPI!

Holler if you have more questions!
melissa
mmb23 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 07:18 PM
  #3  
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Thanks Melissa,
Appreciate your detailed reply. I have very little knowledge of Spanish. We have been in Costa Rica a couple of times and I have always been intersted in learning a foreign language. I am 62 and takes much longer to retain new things! So if I am going to do it, don't want to wait any longer.
I would prefer to go during the slow time, but couldn't do it before late May.(family responsibilities, etc) If not then, I would probably wait until Oct.
We have been to Monteverde, but not Heredia. We really liked Monteverde and think that I would like the climate in Heredia.....not too hot and humid is it?
I don't think I could be gone for more than 2 weeks.(not sure if my husband can get away, so probably would be just me) But hopefully could learn a little in that time. I don't expect to ever be fluent this late in life, however!
Thanks again.
Star
tigerpaw is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 01:13 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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I'll be there in June, and believe that the summer months (our summer) are a good time. The teacher factor goes up as well, so that offsets the ratio! When I went the first time, aside from the college aged kids, there were several women teachers about my age (I was 49) and one or two single older men (fewer of these, more women). I don't think you'll feel out of it at all, at any time. The climate is fabulous in San Joaquin de Flores (the province is Heredia). It is typical to refer to this campus as "Heredia", although the actual town of Heredia is just up the road about 5-10 minutes, much larger.
shillmac is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 11:59 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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I concur with Shillmac on the weather. Of all the places we went in CR, the climate in San Joaquin was the best. Very warm and sunny in the daytime, cool and pleasant for sleeping at night. It wasn't too buggy, either. We were there in the dry season and it only rained once.

Other things to consider when selecting your location is what you'd like to do with your downtime. There were great excursions from CPI Heredia, but most required at least 30-45 minutes transit. I think that Monteverde and Flamingo have more options (hiking, beach activities) right there. We crammed a lot of trips into our afternoons, but CPI has a great "rancho" in the walled backyard. It's an open-air pavilion with tables and chairs and coffee, situated in a garden, that was a great place to study and hang out.

I'm getting excited for you just typing this!
melissa
mmb23 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 05:51 PM
  #6  
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Posts: 147
Melissa and Shillmac,
Thanks so much for your information. I have requested a brochure from CPI and will do some more thinking about the best location for me. Will be Monteverde or Heredia......Flamingo is a beach location and would be way too hot for me!
So is the Heredia school located in the small town of San Joaquin? Are there any shops or eating places located close...within walking distance......or would everything require some kind of transportation? Also, the same question for the Monteverde location, if you have that information.
What would you think about spending one week at each location? Would that be a bad idea?
Sorry for so many questions, but I do appreciate the time you have both taken with your responses.
Shillmac, when in June will you be there?
Thanks,
Star
tigerpaw is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 06:02 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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In class, 3 weeks beginning June 18.

There are some interesting little restaurants nearby, yes. Nothing fancy, mostly comida tipica.

More eating places in Monteverde, probably.

San Joaquin is a very nice little town, and I never felt unsafe even though I would walk to town (about 10 blocks) in the evening, after dark, to use the internet cafe. Not sure I'd do that now, as incidences of crime have increased a bit country wide, but it sure didn't bother me back in 2003.

shillmac is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 06:43 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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I think it would be great to split time between campuses. By the end of the San Joaquin week, we'd done lots of excursions and tried local places and would have been ready for a new town to explore.

Because we ate dinnr and breakfast with the family, we didn't explore too much. There was a little soda just down the block from the school (in San Joaquin) where we ate lunch most days--a casado (beans, rice, meat or fish, veggies, and a fruit drink) was 1300 colones or so, just a couple bucks. We went to a couple bars after dinner, including the hilariously named "casona de cerdo".

We walked everywhere, even after dark, though I was usually with my cousin. I felt much safer than I do here in chicago, that's for sure, though the roads are often a bit dark. If you do any excursions set up by the school, the driver will drop you off right at your homestay so you don't have to worry about walking home.

We generally used the computer lab at the school to check e-mail (100 colones for 15 or 30 minutes, I can't remember, really cheap) so I didn't walk to any Internet cafes.

My cousin and I are planning to go back, probably for two weeks, and are thinking of splitting between Heredia (so I can do the intensive program) and then either Flamingo or Monteverde.

Stop me if this is too much info!
mmb23 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 01:26 PM
  #9  
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Melissa,
Never too much information!!! I appreciate anything you want to share with me. The more I know the better.
Thanks,
Star
tigerpaw is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 12:24 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 13
I want to send my 20 year old son there for 2 or 3 weeks. Any advice on how long?? What town would be better? (forget the beach town, though)
moules is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 12:45 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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I can only speak from personal about San Joaquin, and my CPI experience was fantastic. I think there's more to do(in the way of excursions/activities) closer to the Monteverde campus, which would make things a little less expensive and more accessible than in San Joaquin.

The things we did in the afternoons--la Paz waterfall gardens, walking around Heredia, Cafe Britt, InBio Park, Sarapiqui River trip--generally required at least 45 minutes in a car, plus $20 or more. (They were all fun, though!)

Of course, if your son plans to study and hang out with his family during the week and then make a couple weekend trips, San Joaquin is centrally located and there are tons of great options. (We rafted on the Rio Pacuare in one long day and it was excellent! If we'd been there longer we would have gone to Tortuguero, too.)

Also, if he's planning on doing the intensive program (available at SJ and Monteverde) the excursions would be less of an issue.

In terms of timing, I'd spend as much time as I could! The week at CPI flew by, as did the second week with my husband in the Osa Peninsula. If he's willing to go for three weeks, I'd do it--and I'd split my time between 2 or 3 of the campuses.

Hope this helps!
mmb23 is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 01:46 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I attended all three campuses. My homestay at the Heredia Campus was almost a 30 min walk for me to the school and I didn't see much in the way of restaurants along the way. There were a couple of little sodas around. The school was further out from the town and it was a pretty walk. I learned my way by looking for different colored flowers on the walls. The bus ride to Heredia (town)is only about 10 minutes away and it had an almost college town feel to it, at least where we went which was by the univ. to the internet cafes. I was the oldest person but never felt at all out of place. I pretty much adopted a sweet young girl from Amsterdam who was going on to volunteer at a farm and learned to salsa with a great guy from Calif. who was a med student. There were people from other countries as well. You just become family. I spent about 4 hrs in class and then studied for another 3 hrs because I had had no previous spanish other than what I had picked up on my travels and really wanted to learn. I mostly did things at the school because everything else was so far away. I had already done a lot of traveling in the country and was going to be spending another 2 weeks after the classes with my husband so I didn't feel like I had to get out. The people I stayed with were really nice but it was in town and I felt like I was in jail with all the bars around the yard, on the windows, and the imbedded glass in the cement walls surrounding all of that in the back and on the sides. Their dog was probably the first dog in my life that I didn't want to get near. I often just sat on a bench by the soccer field and watched people play soccer just to be outdoors when I wasn't hanging out at the school. I actually met quite a few ticos who spoke english and who would stop and chat for a bit. On the bright side, I saw rainbows almost daily on my walks to and from school.

The transfer between Heredia campus and Flamingo was fun. There were a bunch of us who had made friends and were going up there. We stopped in Liberia for a couple of nights and spent the day at Rincon de la Vieja. We stopped at Playa Conchal to swim for a few hours on the way to Flamingo.

Flamingo campus, enjoyed my homestay much more here because they had fruit trees, chickens, and were very helpful in my studies. Nights actually cooled down and were pretty comfortable. Can't say how the school is now, when I was there they were still building so we were enclosed in our classrooms with nothing but a fan and it was almost 100 degrees out. I couldn't go the last day...just couldn't stand the thought of another day in that dark hot classroom. They now have a pool. You could think about staying at the little hotel that they use as well. I did a snorkeling tour while there. Mostly just played on the beach. Did some of my homework on it as well. Maries was a favorite hang out for coffee and lunch. The school had a big bonfire one night on the beach and someone had a guitar so we sang and had fun. Flamingo itself is a very small town. Not a lot in the way of restaurants or night life except at the hotels.

Monteverde campus. My son was living up there at the time so I stayed in a pension. The campus is within walking distance of the town of Santa Elena. Plenty of little restaurants to choose from. Plenty of taxis to get around to the reserves. I did a lot of hiking with my son. My favorite teacher was there and she realized that my vocabulary needed a boost so we just talked about everyday things in spanish. I learned a lot from her and not just spanish.
Suzie2 is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 02:40 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Some great info. thank you!! How is the weather in Monteverde in July?
That sounds like the best place. Maybe two weeks there and one in Flamigo??
thanks again.
moules is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 03:24 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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I'll always believe that the best instruction is at the San Joaquin campus. The profesoras there tend to be older and more experienced. San Joaquin is a very nice little town, but not too little. Between my homestay and the school there were several restaurants, although Carlos's place down the block (that little soda mmb23 mentioned) will always be my favorite place. We stop there for lunch and to say hello every single time we're in the country.

I was in Flamingo a week and it was a beautiful facility (although hot). Tends to draws those looking for a beach experience, meaning lots of teens looking to party. Nothing wrong with that, it just tends to draw a bit away from the academic atmosphere. Flamingo will always be one of my favorite areas. That little hotel where lots of students stay is a good little place. . Cabinas Isolina. I didn't like my homestay because I had come from San Joaquin and was used to getting out and about every evening in town and nearby towns. I just wasn't prepared for the isolation of the country, so I moved into Brasilito after a couple of days and was very happy with my time alone at Hotel Brasilito. By that time, I was needing some time alone--that's just me.

Can't speak to Monteverde, but I've heard more cons than pros about those I've spoken with who have studied there. I didn't say some didn't like it, I just said I've heard more negatives than positives. I'm returning in a few weeks for 3 weeks of study and originally planned one of the weeks to be in Monteverde. After I thought about it a bit more, I decided to remain in San Joaquin the entire time. I KNOW what I'm getting at that school.

The one time I was in Monteverde I thought it was okay, but it just doesn't line up as a favorite. I would like to return sometime, but am not in a hurry to do so. Again, just me. Different strokes, etc.

Definitely I sensed a difference in academic intensity comparing San Joaquin to Flamingo.

Anyway you cut it, though, a very good school. I'm excited about returning. I took the 5.5 hour intense program last time and found that the afternoon was a real difficult thing after so much brain strain in the a.m. Especially when everyone else left and were off to fun things. That said, the one on one instruction I got during that time was excellent and I know I gained a lot through it. This time, I'm just doing the 4 hour program. Probably should push a little harder again, but just don't wanna! Wanna play more!

That's my perspective. Good luck in all your travel endeavors--espanol and otherwise!
shillmac is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 03:30 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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I guess I should add (before anyone rushes to judgement regarding my lack of consideration) that I had a long heart to heart talk with my homestay family in Flamingo on Sunday before school started on Monday. They understood, were very kind. I made sure they were compensated (the school wouldn't do it, although I'd already paid for that compensation, just the policy) and paid for their gas to take me into Brasilito that evening. Can't explain exactly what came over me, but once I was alone it was as if the weight of the world was off my shoulders. I had been what I would call just darned melancholy! It was all resolved in a sensitive way with no hurt feelings. The next year I revisited that family and took some framed photos that I had taken of their children while I was there. I went back again last year to visit, but they had moved.
shillmac is offline  

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