Why You Will Love Studying Abroad in Costa Rica
Roberta Bonacossa from Italy recently spent three weeks studying Spanish at the Academia Tica language school in Costa Rica. Here she shares why Costa Rica is the best place to study abroad in Central America and why you won't regret booking a language course here.
Choosing a Destination & Language School
When I was looking to study abroad I wanted to choose a destination which looked exciting and appealing. I decided to travel to Costa Rica which looking an amazing destination with cities, beaches and lots of activities. This turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life as it is such an amazing country to discover full of surprises.
After I decided to travel to Costa Rica, I then needed to choose a language school. I started researching options when I came across Academia Tica, a local language center offering Spanish courses in Jaco, a city on Pacific Ocean. This turned out to be my base for the entire time I was in Costa Rica.
Academia Tica is a small and intimate school located in the city center of Jaco with local Costa Rican teachers who are very friendly and professional. Classes were made up of a few students and a beautiful family atmosphere and exchange was created. Besides teaching grammar, we talked about the culture of the country, traditions and also unique and fun ways of speaking Spanish.
Experiencing 'Pura Vida'
Costa Rica’s ‘motto’ is ‘Pura Vida’, these simple words are used in everyday life, to say goodbye or hello in a shop or between people around the streets, but there is a much wider meaning. ‘Pura Vida’ represents for the locals a way of life. Catch the moment, living the present beyond mental constructions and enjoying the life with a pinch of fatalism. This way of life reflects in all things in Costa Rica, spreading a positive and beautiful energy all around. You can do anything with a smile on your face.
Learning Spanish in Jaco
During my weeks learning Spanish in Costa Rica I lived in an appartment provided by the school in Jaco and I had classes in the morning, leaving free time to discover some beautiful places in the surrounding areas. One day Academia Tica organized a walk to ‘El Mirador’ and after two hours you can reach the highest point to see the bahia of Jaco from the hills. This was one of the best trips I did when studying here, it is worth the effort and hike.
Living in Jaco is always fun, the Spanish classes helping to improve my language skills, making close friends and doing amazing activities like surfing! This is one of the popular experiences you have to do in Costa Rica. Jaco it’s a very famous place to learn to surf and it was also the host of the 2016 mondial competition organized by the International Surfing Association (ISA). At first surfing is a hard sport to pick up, you spend a lot of time down in the water and you need a very strong body to catch the waves. But the sensation you feel when you start picking up the basics and getting to ride waves in the ocean is an unforgettable feeling.
Exploring More of Costa Rica
When attending lessons I had the chance to meet people from all over the world and we organized day and weekend trips away to see more of the Costa Rica’s attractions.
On our first we decided to visit Montezuma that you can reach in about an hour by boat from Jaco. This is little fishermans village and an old meeting place of hippies which is an amazing discover to relax and enjoy the nature around. We stopped there just for a night and the next day we went to Isla Tortuga for a snorkeling under the crystal clear waters.
The second trip we organized was to Monteverde, a little village near the mountains and the nebula forest in the inner part of the country. This fascinated place is immersed in nature and offers some of the most incredible experiences. You can discover the forest from the high suspended bridges that cross the forest, reaching 30 meters of altitude or you can do the zip line - a long thick wire attached between two points on the hills, where you can move along equipped with a harness, remaining hanging from a small wheel.
Adrenaline is the keyword in Costa Rica! But my adventure was not over here! After two days spent in the forest we went to explore the Vulcan Arenal! This beautiful natural formation is still active nowadays, the last eruption was back in 2010 and signs of this are still present today with occasional smokes emissions. It’s also possibile reach the crater, but when we went it was rainy season and inaccessible. The Vulcan is though surrounded by lush forests and there are narrow paths in which you can see some of the most wonderful waterfalls in the world.
When my study abroad experience was coming to the end I decided to go to see one of the most beautiful Natural Parks on the Pacific Coast, Manuel Antonio which is just a few hours south from Jaco. This nature reserve hosts protected animal species, like monkeys, parrots and the icon of Costa Rica - the sloth. It’s an amazing experience be so close to nature and discover the true habitat of the animals. There are also volunteering programs in Costa Rica where you can help these animals if you have a longer time to stay.
What Are You Waiting For?
Costa Rica is pure energy, colors, scents, adventure and happiness. if you want to combine a journey to learn, experience a new culture and see spectacular places whilst having a lot of fun it really will be the best destination to study abroad in Costa Rica. Not only a different country, but also a new culture, language, people and finally a new you!
I suggest to everyone that want live an unforgettable experience to go to study at Academia Tica and discover one of the happiest country in the world!
By Roberta Bonacossa