Enjoying the Weekend!

Saturday, the students packed up all their belongings and said goodbye to their families in Monteverde. Everyone loved their time in Monteverde, enjoying the beautiful views and town of Santa Elena. On the way to Flamingo, the students stopped for a delicious lunch at a local restaurant around noon. After lunch, the group visited Llanos de Cortez Waterfalls. It was a beautiful afternoon to swim and enjoy the falls.?20160528_142613

After having their fill of the waterfalls, the group got back onto the bus to continue to Flamingo to meet their new families. The families were waiting to greet their new sons and daughters at the meeting points when they first got to Flamingo. After everyone was introduced, the students went home with their families to enjoy a homecooked meal and a nice shower!!

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Sunday, the group had an early start to go to mass in Tamarindo. The mass was in English and some of our students had the opportunity to be lectors during mass.


After mass, the students headed straight to the beach in Tamarindo. The majority of the group took surf classes in the morning. The first 20 minutes of the class is learning the technique on the beach, before hitting the ocean. In the ocean, all the students were natural born surfers. Everyone got up on their board within the first couple attempts. Everyone had a great time and can’t wait to surf again! 20160529_094104(7) 20160529_094308 20160529_094430 (7) 20160529_095020(2) 20160529_100550 (7)

After surf class, the group enjoyed a gorgeous day at the Tamarindo beach. The water was the perfect temperature with just the right amount of breeze all day. The group enjoyed their free afternoon for lunch, shopping, and enjoying the beach.20160529_163039 (2)

St. Francis Goes Ziplining

This Friday, the students had a full day of Spanish classes. After class, the group went to Sky Trek to zipline across the canopy top of the cloud forest. Although it rained a little throughout the afternoon the group had a fantastic time. Everyone made it down 7 lines safe and sound. The views while ziplining across were breathtaking. The group all agreed they would love to go again! 20160527_150822






Indian River State College 2016


On sunday, the students of Indian River State College flew into San Jose in the morning a little sleepy, but ready to go! After eating a typical Costa Rican breakfast at the café across the street from CPI, the students were walked around San Joaquin de Flores to have a better concept of what a typical Costarrican town looks like and to familiarize themselves with the area.  On their tour, they saw the Church of San Joquín, the municipal building, a soccer field and a school.  At the end of the tour, everyone enjoyed getting ice cream!

The students came back to CPI to take their Spanish placement tests and to have their interviews. After finishing the placement, the students were able to relax and enjoy the CPI campus until their host families arrived.

The Mama Ticas came at 3pm to meet their new sons and daughters. Everyone was excited about meeting their new family. With lots of smiles and laughter, one by one everyone was introduced. The students went home with their familias Ticas to enjoy their first home cooked Costa Rican dinner with their new family.
















The students met at their meeting point in the morning to go to La Carpio for their service project. On the way to La Carpio, they stopped at a supermarket to buy some drinks and have their first money exchange into colones. In La Carpio, the group received an introduction and met with Giselle (Gail) the woman that created the Costa Rica Humanitarian Foundation.  After they walked La Carpio and saw how difficult the living conditions were, the group went to “La Libertad” where the students were able to play games, color and talk with the children. Both the students and the children had a wonderful time. There was lots of laughter and joy in room. After they played with the kids, the students said their goodbyes and came back to CPI.

After having a really good “casado” at CPI (which is the typical lunch in Costa Rica) the students started their first classes in the afternoon at 1pm. The students are in small classroom sizes, of 2-4 students per teacher. With small classroom sizes, each student is able to get the full attention of their teacher to help them with their level of Spanish. The students have classes from 1-5pm with a break in between, where the group has the perfect  chance to try “bocadillos” from Costa Rica such as empanadas, prensadas, palitos de queso and many of the tropical fruit juices. The students had a great time getting to know their professors and learning more Spanish.














The students met early in the morning to go back to La Carpio to volunteer. They were able to explore more of La Carpio and see the same children from the day before. They continued teaching and playing with the children. The students were able to start using the Spanish that they learned in the classroom yesterday to speak with the children today. It was lots of fun! After another wonderfully prepared lunch, the students returned to CPI for classes. It was a great day!

















It is Wednesday and the guys are ready to start exploring Costa Rica. This time the group met early to travel to the Poas volcano, one of the most beautiful in Costa Rica. On the road they saw many strawberry plantations and a great view of the Central Valley. Once in the volcano, the group rushed to see the largest crater in Central America, which that day due to the excellent climate you could see perfectly. Continuing with the expedition, the group took another path to the spectacular Botos lagoon, where they took many photos of its beauty and turquoise color.

Before continuing with Spanish classes, the driver stopped for lunch at a renowned restaurant in the area, where the group had the opportunity to drink a refreshing  Strawberry juice and even try the traditional “Mondongo”.

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Thursday there was the aroma of coffee in the air. It was the perfect day to learn about Costa Rica´s golden grain and for that we only had to drive 15 minutes to get to Café Britt, where”Maria and Tulio” were ready to teach us all about the coffee. They made the tour educational and fun. In the coffee plantation we learned all about coffee and how they harvest their grain, which is the secret of good coffee from Costa Rica. It was an incredible experience to try different types of coffee in a coffee plantation.

The best part was yet to come. The group went to a mini theatre to learn about the best coffee-growing areas of Costa Rica and learn how to taste coffee like the professionals do. Finally the time came to test all types of coffee, from the soft and aromatic light roasted to the espresso, which is dark and strong. In addition, the group had the opportunity to pass by a display to try different types of chocolate with coffee and fruit in them. They did all of that plus a visit to the new butterfly garden and an excellent buffet lunch.





After an amazing week in Heredia sharing cultural experiences with the familias ticas and learning Spanish, the group was ready to further explore Costa Rica. The next destination was Arenal, one of the most majestic places in Costa Rica. On the way, the group stopped in Sarchí, which is known as the birthplace of Costa Rican art because it has the best artists and creators of oxcarts in Costa Rica.

In this place, you can still see the old techniques used for many years to paint and build the oxcarts. Sarchí is a small village characterized by its craftsmanship and its possession of the biggest oxcart in the world, which can be seen in its central park.

After getting to know Sarchí, we went directly to La Fortuna to have lunch and explore the area surrounding Arenal volcano. Later, the group got to experience natural hot springs and have a beautiful dinner at their hotel.

The next day, the group hiked to a waterfall in La Fortuna in the morning and visited a finca (farm) in the afternoon. They learned about sustainable practices in agriculture and had a typical lunch there.

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Wrapping up our first week in Monteverde…

It has been one crazy adventure since we’ve gotten to Monteverde. The people have welcomed us with open arms. The host families have spoiled us rotten, and we have learned a great deal. This magical place, literally up in the clouds, has helped the MSU group reflect on not only their cultural experiences, but the cultural experiences of their future students. This was highlighted when we arrived to a tiny schoolhouse in San Luis (one of the bordering towns of Monteverde). The teacher, Tito, manages to teach grades 1st through 6th all at the same time! These little youngsters, albeit studying in an extremely rural and isolated school surrounded by fincas (farms), benefit from a 1:1 student to computer ratio! Check out their awesomeness:

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It was an incredibly experience getting to see these little kiddos in action. Some of the students even got to ask the teacher, Tito, about various topics related to education in Costa Rica. Questions ranged from what are the special services provided to students with special needs all the way to how does the pura vida mentality affect the classroom and teaching.



Later, theladies of MSU were off to the cloud forest!  They went on a guided tour hike high up in the cloud forest. The guide, Eber, was especially talented. We even got to see the most famous bird in Costa Rica – the QUETZAL!

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These ladies have wrapped up their first week here in Monteverde. We are sad to say that we only have one more week left, but we’re going to make the absolute most out of it


Nature Walk about Monteverde Reserve


The male Quetzal seen in the middle of the photo.

The group has been taking classes at CPI in Monteverde all week. This past Wednesday, the group went on a leisurely guided hike throughout the Monteverde Reserve. The guide, Marcela, started the hike pointing out the differences between the three types of the forest we were going to see. Each type is dependent on age. The older the forest, the denser and more tree one will see. The group was very fortunate to see 4 Quetzales, 2 male and 2 female. The male Quetzal has a long vibrant feather that looks almost like a tail. The birds were absolutely beautiful to observe. Marcela also pointed out different birds nests as the group walked along the trail. The group stopped along the hike to take group photos in front of very large trees. At the end of the hike, the trail ended at a waterfall. It was beautiful and lovely hike. Everyone enjoyed hearing all the unique sounds of the forest. Everyone had a great time and were excited to go on another hike soon!











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After the hike, the students came back to CPI for the 25th anniversary party. There was traditional music of the marimba and lots of traditional meals to try. The students danced all night and enjoyed the festivities. It was a wonderful time for the students to hang out and practice their Spanish!

¡MSU está en Monteverde!

The ladies made it to Monteverde after a fantastic adventure at the Manuel Antonio beach! They had a great time with Javier learning about all the awesome wildlife living in the national park. In the park, it is practically guaranteed that you will see monkeys like the one below!



After Manuel Antonio, MSU was off on their way upward towards the hidden town called Monteverde. Here, the students will continue their cultural journey, including meeting their new host families.

After adjusting to the rustic feel of Monteverde, these ladies got to experience the educational system first-hand at the Escuela Altos de San Luis! Check out these ladies in action!

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It’s been an adventure ever since! The girls got to see the beautiful campus at CPI Monteverde, take a picture in front of the gorgeous view!

IMG_2444 Pura vida, chicas! : D


Los primeros días del grupo Rollins

CPI is thrilled to welcome Rollins University back to Costa Rica! Eleven new students arrived over the weekend along with our dear friend, Professor Cecilia McInnis.

The group has been busy the last few days. They are getting to know their familias ticas (host families,) working on their Spanish, and exploring multiple urban areas. Sunday they visited the capital city, San José, and Monday they got to learn about Costa Rican coffee production and international business at Café Britt.

Today we toured the city of Heredia and some of its famous places such as El Fortín and the Mercado Central.

Not only are the students taking Spanish classes at CPI, but they are also having classes with Professor McInnis and learning all about negocios (business) and the economic systems in the country. The group will go on several professional visits to various organizations in Costa Rica during their trip to take these concepts further.

Cooking Class in Monteverde

The students started their classes at the CPI school in Monteverde. The students are with the same classmates as they had in Heredia. The students helped prepare their own lunch under the supervision, the students cooked with Doña Beatriz in the kitchen. They made arroz con pollo (chicken and rice). The students helped chop up and sauté the vegetables, make tortillas. prepare the salads and make the drinks. Everyone enjoyed making the meal and especially eating the meal! 20160523_121532






On our way to Monteverde!

The students woke up early, to pack their bags and say goodbye to their homestays in San Joaquin. It was a bittersweet goodbye, sad to leave the wonderful families of San Joaquin, but excited to go to Monteverde.20160522_080703 (2) On the way to Monteverde, the group stopped in Sarchí for mass at Santiago Apostal. Before mass started, the students were able to walk about the town and see the world’s largest oxcart, built in 2006.20160522_090546 (3)

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After mass, the students went to the Fabrica de Carretas to eat lunch and take a tour of the oxcart factory built in 1923, powered fully by water. The guide showed the group the progression of the oxcart wheels. The wheels made at the factory last up to 70 years. The students were also able to see the people who colorfully paint the oxcarts. They were all very nice and even let the students pretend to paint an oxcart for a couple photos! After the tour, the students were able to shop for souvenirs before getting back on the bus.

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Arriving in Monteverde, the group first took a tour of Santa Elena with Kathy. Kathy helped to orientate the students to the area. She showed the students the banks, the restaurants, the taxis, the supermarket and the mall.

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The students arrived at CPI a little before their host families at 4:30pm. They were given a tour of the school. At the school in Monteverde, the students have access to the jacuzzi. All the students were excited to use it throughout their week here. The homestay families arrived and with lots of smiles and hugs, the students met their new families one by one. The students went home with their Mama tica to have dinner and to meet the rest of the family!20160522_165600 (2) 20160522_165724 (3) 20160522_170033 (5) - Copy

A day in the Carpio with MSU

MSU 2016 has been super busy in the past couple of days!  We’ve gotten to explore more of the beautiful town, San Joaquín de Flores, where the students are staying with host families. Here are some pics of the beautiful families they are staying with!


IMG_1707 IMG_1708   IMG_1715 IMG_1718 IMG_1729Today, we headed off to meet the founder of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation, Gail Nystrom. Her service to Costa Rica led her to an area known as La Carpio over 23 years ago, where she founded her Non-Governmental Organization. Her mission has been to increase the quality of life for everyone living in the community. These wonderful ladies were quick to pick up the mission of Gail and work with the community! They went to the newly created park just at the entrance of the community and play with some local kids!

IMG_2091 IMG_2098 IMG_2111 IMG_2114 IMG_2127 IMG_2130We had a wonderful time. It was sad to say goodbye to those beautiful children, but we were soon off to class. Today we have to say goodbye to not only the children of the Carpio, but also our professors and homestays. We will always remember the way they welcomed us into their lives, if even for just a brief moment.



Pura Vida