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“Best decision I made for the whole trip!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Intercultura Language School and Cultural Center

Intercultura Language School and Cultural Center
250 Oeste Mutual Alajuela, Heredia 3000, Costa Rica
866-978-6668
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Ranked #2 of 17 Attractions in Heredia
Type: Classes/Workshops
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Intercultura Spanish Language School in Costa Rica offers a series of 18 courses designed by curriculum specialists, using interactive small groups in an environment of total immersion in Latin American culture. Classes are 4 hours per day, Monday to Friday. Our professors are university trained and credentialed to teach Spanish as a second language. Academic credit through several accredited US university programs is available (e.g. Brookhaven, Austin College, and Duke University).Cultural activities include Latin dance classes, cooking typical Costa Rican foods, Spanish-language films, weekend sightseeing tours, cultural orientation and city tour and special holiday celebrations.
st. louis
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Best decision I made for the whole trip!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2014

I cannot adequately express how wonderful Intercultura was for me. I already speak fluent Spanish, but wanted to bring my ability up to a more native-level. I was worried that I would not be adequately challenged in class. I can't tell you how wrong I was! I had 2 classmates, a man from Quebec whose ability was similar to mine and a woman from Dallas. She had started at Intercultura several weeks before speaking very little Spanish. And although her ability wasn't quite as on par as my other classmate's and mine, it was fascinating to see how well she spoke considering where she had begun! Our professor, Dr. Haniah Castro, was FANTASTIC! I am a teacher myself and I observed how she modified lessons based on our abilities (this is referred to as differentiation) and on our learning styles. Not only did my Spanish improve, but I learned lots of ideas for teaching my students! As for the school itself, I can't say enough good about it. All of the people were genuinely warm, friendly and caring. Although I was only there for four days, I felt completely at home. I had a little locker (had to pay a deposit which was returned to me when I returned the key) and I could keep things in there so that I wouldn't have to schlep my books & packages around as I wandered the streets of Heredia. The school is open until 9:00 PM, so all I had to do was stop by on my way home each evening and pick up my stuff. There is a kitchen that is open for student use, computers and lots of cozy little places to relax, study or visit with friends. It was an oasis of quiet beauty right in the middle of town! I would definitely recommend this school to anyone, regardless of your ability to speak Spanish! I am hoping to return one day!

Visited March 2014
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28 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Princeton, NJ
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
“Telling it Like it is”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2014

For the most part, the school is thoughtful in all that they do and make available to you.



The people

Most of the students here are from Switzerland, Germany and French Canada. I am American and there are other American students here as well. The majority of the students seem to be in their 20’s with enough in their 30’s through 60’s so that everyone feels comfortable. The older people I have met are all friendly and open to meeting others, sharing of themselves and well, the type of person who comes to learn a language on their free time when no one is making them do it. Interesting people. The younger set, for the most part, barely notice we older folks are here and when they do they often look at us with some admiration – after all, it is cool that their parents are here.



Those in their 20’s enjoy bonfire, beach and all that.



The teachers and office staff are ALL kind, welcoming and a pleasure.



The school Facilities

This place really is right on the beach. You could not get any closer. During class break or at any time out of class, feel free to hang out in the fenced-in open grounds which include Wi-Fi, refrigerator, coffee, hammocks, tables, cloth line for bathing suits and beach towels, outdoor exposed showers, and signs reminding you to ‘Habla solo en espanol”. Or go out the fence and speak any language you choose, find a spot under the coconut trees, string a hammock between them or go in the warm water. The beach is almost clean and not crowded. During break time there is a bakery truck that comes by twice a week, a woman with fresh cut fruit, home made empanadas and muffins. Lunchtime go into town or again, purchase from a local woman who sets up a table from her car trunk. Good inexpensive food. (figure $4. For lunch here or in town.)

The classrooms

are small with white boards and are adequate. They are mildly air-conditioned. In one class the teacher kept turning off the a/c to hear the soft-spoken students which would cause a meltdown for me. The a/c is not great but bearable


Classes

Can be a bit of a problem.

If you are young, or speak French you will have no problem from what I see and from others with whom I converse say. If you are at any level other than very beginner all should go well for you. If you are a true true beginner, you will need to self advocate and make sure of your placement. You should familiarize yourself with some basic words and phrases such as: How do I say in Spanish…..? What does that mean? Como, Que, Donde, Please repeat what you just said, Homework, I do not understand…. Those who speak French generally advance faster than those who do not. In addition, I strongly suggest familiarizing yourself with a bit of Spanish by using the Duolingo App on your smartphone....



Also, you may want to request that the non-French speakers are not outnumbered by French speakers in your class. Similarly if you are older, you will want to request to not be alone or outnumbered by the younger set. This, however, the school does seem to try to take into consideration at when they place you.


HomeStay

This is certainly the best way to go offering you practice, insight into culture and helping to support the local community. Homestays are not all created equal so do speak up about preferences. What is important to you in your homestay? Hot shower? Wifi? Private bathroom? Proximity to the school? (many students rent bikes for $25 for a week). --- You cannot have it all. All ages stay at the homestays and I have observed that those students shared homes seem to be matched by age range. Another thoughtful touch.



What to bring

You can buy anything you need here but the basics that you will possibly need include: beach towel, hat, sunscreen, dictionary, notebook, pen, highlighter, daypack, insect repellent, host gift, shampoo :& conditioner. --- I only see some of the younger students with mascara or liner. The weather here is so humid and hot that any make-up will slide off. repeat: you can buy whatever you need or forgot in town.



How long to stay?

Do not bother for less than two weeks is my opinion. There are people who do come for several months. For a beginner like myself, Things begin to click at the two week mark so, three weeks would seem better than two. That said, While I thought I made a mistake coming for two and not three, two is all I could handle. Another friend I made here quit before the end of the second and another canceled her planned third week. In both instances the people were older and here for themselves. So when it gets too frustrating or no longer fun – when the frustrations of not learning fast enough is combined with cold showers, It can get a bit tough.



My thoughts for the school:

For older beginning students, consider cramming less information into the week After all, we are here because we want to be. Some challenge is good but... Perhaps a slower track? Also, consider allowing some English instruction for the first week. It made me crazy to discover how often my definitions were wrong because the word was explained with other words I did not understand or a Xerox of an image that was not clear (eg- an arrow to the bed is referring to the blanket or the mattresss?) Lastly, Send us some information before we arrive with some basic words to get aquainted with, and an outline of what we will be covering each week.

Lastly, with all the offerings for volunteerism, I have no clue why the school doesn't arrange for a weekly beach clean-up by the students. Hand us some rakes and garbage bags and let us have an hour of camaraderie and do-goodedness. We will feel good, make friends and the beach area will be cleaner. (During our stay there was a French Canadian Woman doing this all on her own. When I asked her she said that the beach gives her so much pleasure, she wants to give back and take care of it.)



In summary

This is a very special place and I do highly recommend it at ANY age!!

Visited February 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Simple the best place to learn Spanish!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2014

I couldn't answer "Como está" when I arrived here. I had no previous experience of any kind. After 8 weeks, I'm able to get around and can follow a lot of what is told to me. I can read the newspaper. The instructors at Intercultura are very good at what they do. The school has a very nice facility and Heredia is a very pleasant place to live for awhile. I heartily recommend it and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Visited February 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“amazing school, trouble getting academic credit”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2014

The language school itself was amazing, but getting academic credit was expensive (almost $800 in addition to tuition), nearly impossible and has taken several months. Brookhaven College (the school that handles the academic credits) needed my high school transcript, several copies of my college transcript, as well as documents from my study abroad program and an unbelievable amount of other paperwork. No one ever answers the phone, and the different offices involved in processing credits are horrible at communicating with each other. Several times I've been told that the school has everything they need from me, only to receive another email saying they need more transcripts or forms. They promised me a transcript for the credits within two weeks of finishing the program, and its now been more than two months. If I don't get it soon I'm not going to be able to graduate on time. I highly recommend Intercultura if you're trying to learn Spanish (it really is an incredible school), but if you need academic credits for college LOOK ELSEWHERE.

Visited January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hinckley, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Fantastic Learning Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2014

I studied at this school for 2 weeks. Before I left for the trip I was asked what level of English the host family should have and decided to test myself as even though my Spanish was very poor I chose to have a family that spoke No English whatsoever. My host mum picked me up from the airport and looked after me providing food and my own room. They walked me to the school on my first day and by the end of the two weeks I felt very close to them. The school itself was brilliant, I picked up a lot of Spanish, the teachers were all very friendly and you are given a quick test at the start of your journey as to which class to put you into. From only knowing 'Hola' at the start of my visit, by the end of my time there I could communicate in sentences with my host family who were very impressed. The school also provided dance and cooking lessons which were both brilliant fun. Overall, I loved my time here and would love to go back!

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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