¡Bienvenido El Paso Community College a Costa Rica!

Que mejor manera de empezar la semana que estar en la provincia de Guanacaste, rodeado de bosque seco, grandes sabanas, variedad de animales silvestres, las playas más hermosas de Costa Rica y un clima acompañado de mucho sol aunque la lluvia nos ha sorprendido en varias ocasiones.

El lunes el grupo realizó las pruebas de ubicación, una orientación y un pequeño recorrido para conocer mejor la escuela, mientras esperaban para conocer quienes iban a ser sus profesores muchos compartían una taza de café mientras otros se divertían jugando tennis de mesa y futbolín. Al ser las 12:00 medio día suena la campana y avisa el final de las clases de español pero también avisa el comienzo de una tarde llena de aventuras y nuevas experiencias, al parecer las actividades preferidas por los estudiantes son visitar la playa Flamingo y hacer actividades en las preciadas aguas del pacífico de Costa Rica.

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El segundo día de clases de español estuvo acompañado de actividades culturales muy interesantes y divertidas, ya que una vez terminadas las lecciones el grupo se dirigió a la cafetería, donde la señora Johana nos estaba esperando con todos los utensilios necesarios para la clase de cocina, ya que ese día el grupo de El Paso Community College iba a preparar su propio almuerzo el cuál consistió en un plato típico de Costa Rica llamado comúnmente “casado” y que está compuesto de arroz, frijoles, ensalada, vegetales y un tipo de carne, también tuvimos la oportunidad de probar para la bebida el “cas” una fruta muy ácida pero que en fresco es muy rica y refrescante.
La diversión no acaba aquí, ya que justo después de las clases de cocina Johana estaba lista para darnos también unas clases de baile latino, rápidamente hicimos un círculo y empezamos a movernos al ritmo de merengue, aprendimos pasos básicos, algunos giros y hasta dimos una presentación en pareja. Johana también nos enseñó a movernos al ritmo de “salsa”, baile que es muy popular en Costa Rica, debido a sus elegantes giros y movimiento de hombros.

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Es mitad de semana (miércoles), donde cautivados por los fuertes aullidos de los monos y el cantar de los gallos, con una mañana soleada y una brisa agradable, un día más de clases de español da comienzo en el CPI. Al ser las 10:00 de la mañana todos los estudiantes se dirigen a la cafetería, muchos de ellos para compartir un bocadillo, otros aprovechan el tiempo para hacer deporte en la cancha de basketball, mientras otros prefieren darse un chapuzón en la piscina para refrescarse y continuar muy enérgicos con las clases de español. Una vez finalizadas las clases de español es tiempo de distraerse y conocer los alrededores de la zona, hoy la mayor parte del grupo se aventurará en el mar en una de las actividades más solicitadas y relajantes de esta provincia, el grupo realizará un viaje en velero por las cálidas y tranquilas aguas del pacífico, donde podrán disfrutar de la espectacular vista con bocadillos y bebidas incluidas, finalizando con un atractivo tour de snorkel.

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Es tiempo de Tamarindo pero no de la fruta, ya que esta tarde el grupo visitará la reconocida zona de tamarindo donde está una de las mejores playas del pacífico norte de Costa Rica y donde según los locales  se aprecia el mejor atardecer de toda la región, esta joya natural tiene olas perfectas para esos amantes del mar o para cualquiera que desee aventurarse a unas clases de surf. Caminando por la calle principal de Tamarindo pudimos observar rápidamente las diferentes y elevadas opciones gastronómicas que ofrece el lugar, así como los llamativos “kioskos” o pequeñas tiendas con todo tipo de artesanías costarricenses y mientras unas personas caminaban por la playa otros se dedicaban a explorar las tiendas en busca de regalos auténticos, hechos en el país del “pura vida” (Costa Rica). En medio de las palmeras, la carne asada, los caballos, la brisa del mar, los jovenes con sus tablas de surf, los vendedores gritando y ofreciendo su “pipa fría” definitivamente fue una tarde espectacular, que terminó sorprendiendonos con un atardecer simplemente maravilloso.

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Es viernes por el cuál el grupo de El Paso se despide del CPI de Flamingo, luego de haber concluido satisfactoriamente con el programa de clases de español. Ha sido una semana fantástica donde el grupo a tenido la oportunidad de explorar los rincónes de la provincia de Guanacaste, así como aprender mucho español en una de las provincias más importantes para el país en cuanto al tema de cultura se refiere, con sus sabaneros, sus típicas fiestas, monta de toros, sus gritos “bajureños”, sus comidas, costumbres y tradiciones. Al estar en una región con tantos atractivos naturales es difícil no dedicar un tiempo para apreciar y disfrutar de todo lo que ofrece esta provincia, por lo que cada tarde por sus propios medios, integrantes del grupo El Paso se desplazaban a las diferentes playas del litoral pacífico en busca de nuevas experiencias, un buen pescado entero, relajación y tranquilidad, mientras otros prefirieron contratar tours y aventurarse por el aire, el bosque, el volcán, el mar o el manglar.

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We just finished Week 2 with CSU Sacramento! In addition to Spanish classes this week, the girls volunteered at Life Monteverde, an association of nine families from Monteverde, Costa Rica with strong backgrounds in agriculture and nature conservation. Since 2009, Life Monteverde has organized educational activities for the local people and visitors. The objective is to help people achieve a higher level of sustainability in their day- to- day activities. The activities are carried out in a 42 acres (17 hectares) farm and extend to the whole region of Monteverde. The farm combines areas of conservation, organic agriculture and low environmental impact energy systems.

This weekend, the group will travel to Arenal Volcano to enjoy a river rafting activity, and a guided hike of the rain forest. ¡Buen Viaje!

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UNA has had a great month here at CPI Heredia! They have learned a lot of Spanish while they have been here, have made life long friendships, have established close connections with their host families, and have enjoyed being immersed in the Costa Rican culture, and going on excursions and adventures. The group is very sad to leave, but so appreciates all of the memories they have from the trip of a lifetime. Since today is their last day in Costa Rica, we took them on a tour of Café Britt, a Costa Rican company that produces gourmet coffee, chocolates, and gifts. The tour was very educational, and even had some very funny comedy and coffee tastings! The students were also able to purchase coffee, chocolates, and gifts, and enjoy a gourmet lunch at the end of the tour. What a great way to end their time here in Costa Rica!IMG_6033 IMG_6017 IMG_5994_2 IMG_5999_2 IMG_5998_2

Wow- what a busy first week CSU Sacramento has had! In addition to the El Trapiche tour, they have also had four hours of Spanish class each day, a latin dance class, a traditional Costa Rican cooking class, a movie night, and various days exploring the town of Santa Elena. This weekend, the group will go to Flamingo Beach, where they will have time to relax and sunbathe, take surfing classes, go on a snorkel tour, and enjoy delicious dinners. See you next week, girls!027 028

¡Bienvenido CSU Sacramento a Costa Rica!

We are having a great time here at CPI Monteverde! Our enthusiastic students from CSU Sacramento are learning so much Spanish even in their short time here. Because they are enrolled in our Spanish immersion program, they must use their Spanish skills on a daily basis: they are requiered to use it in class, in their homestays, with locals and even with each other.

We have been on a few and will go on many more fun activities outside school, such as El Trapiche tour which is a Costa Rican family business. The tour began with a short walk through the farm where we explored plantations such as sugar cane, coffee, bananas, plantains, tubers, oranges and more. We enjoyed the entire coffee process, rode a Costa Rican ox cart, and experienced the process of making liquor out of the sugar cane, and to finish we enjoyed a fragrant cup of coffee. 018008

 

Wow… UNA has had a busy week here at CPI Heredia! In addition to their daily classes and homework, they had the opportunity to attend a mass service yesterday at a local church. It was their first time at mass for several of the students, and they all agreed that it was a great cultural experience. In addition, they also played each other in a friendly soccer match, even playing in the rain! While most of the students are not experienced soccer players, they have really embraced the sport as it is a staple in Costa Rican culture. Lastly, they went to a local farmer’s market, or “feria”, to take part in a fun and educational “búsqueda del tesoro” or a scavenger/treasure hunt. This weekend, the group will be traveling to Arenal Volcano, where they will enjoy hot springs, sight seeing, a beautiful waterfall hike, and much more!

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This is Georgia Southern’s last week in Costa Rica, and they will be spending it studying at CPI Monteverde! The students love the change of scenery and the cool weather that being in the high altitudes of the cloud forest brings! This week, the students visited El Trapiche, a family owned sugar mill and coffee plantation. They were given a tour and shown how the coffee, sugar cane, and even liquor are made. They even had the chance to ride in an oxen cart! Later in the week, they also had the chance to volunteer with Life Monteverde, an association of Costa Rican families that provide educational activities at their farm on how to achieve a higher level of sustainability in day-to-day life. The farm combines areas of conservation, organic agriculture and low environmental impact energy systems. The students were first given a tour of the farm, and then given the opportunity to plant trees, and later even presented to their classmates their project on sustainability. Way to go GSU!

 

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Wow…we are halfway done already! The students at UNA are on their 3rd of 4 weeks here at CPI Heredia. The students are in different classrooms with different teachers this week, and are loving the new settings and styles of teaching. Although their classes don’t begin until 1 p.m, they are often at the school by 10 a.m. or earlier helping each other with homework and practicing their conversational Spanish skills. We are so lucky to have such a studious and eager-to-learn group of students! IMG_5863IMG_5852 IMG_5856_2

It’s Thursday and today is the last day in which the students get to volunteer and help out the people that need it. Today we finished the house that we started the very first day. We did a second coat on the outside walls, we fixed minor details and we also painted all of the wood to protect it from the rain or bugs that might damage it. The family and the students were all very happy to see the house get finished. There were even some neighbors admiring the hard work of the students and were happy to see that the family was getting help.

At the second house, there was still a lot to be done, but we knew that whatever we couldn’t finish, someone would help us get it done. We tried to get done as much as possible. The students painted all sides of the house except for the back of the house. They started to paint all the windows and doors and were almost done with them. Besides painting the house, everyone’s favorite part was playing with the kids that lived in all of the houses. The boys would give piggy back rides, the girls would braid each other’s hair, and everyone would practice their Spanish with the students. Everyone was very sad to see the students go, but their hearts were filled with joy from getting to know and spend time with the students. For the rest of the day, and for weeks and months to come, the students will think of their experiences and reflect on how they changed the lives of these families and the children as well.

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It’s Wednesday and today we went Zip lining at Cartagena which is a town about 20 minutes away from Flamingo. At the Canopy we went through 12 different cables, which were all through the dry tropical forest. The place was surrounded by huge Guanacaste trees which also held the platforms that we were on. The trees were very green as they are native dry forest trees and are used to the hot weather with barely any rain. Everyone had a lot of fun because it was different from the Canopy at Hacienda Guachipelin, we went more slowly and were able to appreciate the nature surrounding us. We had a fun morning and the we went to relax at the pool of Casas del Toro before we had lunch and headed back to CPI for their daily Spanish classes.

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