Spanish Homestay Programs
Spanish classes at CRLA can be taken along with our Homestay Programs.Our Spanish & Homestay Programs include:
- a regular schedule of Spanish lessons
- cultural classes (Latin Dance, Cooking, Conversation)
- 24 hour airport pick-up
- lodging with a Costa Rican family
Homestays are an excellent way to immerse yourself in the Costa Rican culture. As part of the family, you will practice speaking Spanish every day and at the same time you will learn first-hand about the Costa Rican way of life.
You may live in a Costa Rican home where you will have your own private bedroom.
If you are traveling with others, we can also accommodate couples, friends and family in the same homestay (either in shared or separate rooms).
Your Costa Rican homestay family will provide you with two daily meals (breakfast and dinner).
If you would like vegetarian dishes, or if you have any food allergies or other special diet requirements, please let us know and we will be glad to accommodate you. Just indicate your dietary preferences (what specific foods you can eat or not) when you fill out your registration form. We will take this information into consideration when we assign your homestay and we will explain your dietary needs to your Costa Rican family.
Families are aware that many types of food are new to you and that you will like some dishes more than others. So please remind your family what things you eat and do not eat, and feel free to let them know what new dishes you have liked (or not). Remember, you may ask your family to serve you plenty of the wide variety of Costa Rica’s readily available fruits and vegetables.
Your family provides laundry service and a weekly change of bedclothes. You need to bring your own towels for the homestay. (If you do not have a towel the Academy can lend you one).
Coming & Going
Your host family will give you a front door key to your home and are free to come and go as you wish. (However, please make sure to inform your host mother if you will be coming home late at night or if you are going away for the weekend so she will not worry).
Free Airport transportation is included with our homestay program. When you arrive in Costa Rica our driver will meet you at the airport (he will have a sign with your name on it). He will take you to your homestay and introduce you to your host family. There is no need for you to contact your host family before you arrive. We will inform them of your arrival time so that they will be expecting you.
YOUR NEW HOME
CRLA is located in a quiet, residential / commercial neighborhood area very close to downtown San José and our homestays are located in nearby residential neighborhoods. Most of the host families live a short 15-20 minute bus ride from the Academy.
Our host families have clean, secure, comfortable homes. While you may not find all the luxury of a hotel room, a homestay will give you warmth and love that you will not find anywhere else. It will also provide you with the opportunity to practice your Spanish as much as you want!
HOST FAMILY SELECTION
Our homestay families are carefully selected for their hospitality, friendliness and warmth. They all offer clean lodging in safe neighborhoods.
The CRLA’s homestay coordinators visit each family and get to know them personally. We also ask students to evaluate their homestay experience before they leave so we can ensure that families are constantly providing students with a good service.
There are many different types of families (with or without children, married couples, single parents, young or older, etc.) We assign the homestay families according to the preferences the students select in their registration form.
Just let us know what type of family you would like and any preferences you may have (pets, diet, smoking, etc.) and we will make every effort to place you with the best family for you.
The most important quality we consider when choosing a host family is that they are genuinely interested and excited about hosting a foreign student. Even though the families receive a fee for their service, it is important that their priority is the experience of sharing their home and culture.
We look for opened-minded, friendly and outgoing families. Talkative, warm and protective “mothers”, friendly but respectful “fathers” and friendly, well behaved children.
It is also important that the whole family be willing and open to having a student in their home so that the student feels totally welcome and at home.
First we have the families fill out an application form with all their information: names, ages, pets, other family members who live in the home, schedules, who spends more time at home, etc. We choose the families that seem the most suitable, considering the family composition, neighborhood, and access to public transportation. Then we visit each one personally. We spend some time with the family, try to meet each member, talk about their interests, their family activities and their concerns about hosting a foreign student, and explain about cultural differences and special situations that have occurred in the past.
We also try to have as much information available as possible about the student (age, interests, diet, personality, expectations about living with a family, etc.) so we can tell the family in advance and prepare them as much as possible for the student’s arrival.
When the family is really looking forward to hosting a student, and the student is also friendly and considerate, things always work out and cultural differences are not a problem.
DURATION OF HOMESTAY
The Homestay extends until the end of the week (7 nights).
You can stay with a family for a minimum of one week or as long as you would like. Many students begin their homestay on the Sunday before they start classes and leave on a Saturday. But you may arrive in Costa Rica and start or end the homestay on any day of the week.
Spanish classes can be taken 4 or 5 days a week but the homestay is always for 7 nights per week.
Also, like most students, if you wish to extend your homestay and stay with your family for a few days before or after your classes, you may book those extra days and we’ll arrange it.
Living with a Costa Rican family is a wonderful experience. Sometimes it may take a little time getting used to Costa Rican culture and customs but, if for any reason you feel uncomfortable with your homestay family please do not hesitate to let us know and we will be glad to help.
We personally meet with each family and we also ask each student about his homestay experience so that the families are evaluated on a regular basis. However, because each student is different in personality, tastes, habits, etc., each might have a different experience with the same family. Also, at times, families can face different situations (sickness, work issues, etc.) which might affect them. Keeping all this in mind, if for any reason you do not feel completely welcome or content with your family, please inform the Academy so we can make the necessary changes or arrangements.
CLASSES WITHOUT HOMESTAY
If you are not interested in a Homestay program, we offer you the flexibility of paying for your classes by the hour. You may take any number of private classes or participate in our group sessions. Students enrolled in our Spanish classes (without homestay) also have our Latin Dance classes, Costa Rican Cooking Classes and Conversation “hour” included in their program.
If you prefer accommodations other than our Homestay, we can help you make arrangements to stay at a hotel or an apartment. Prices and more information about alternative accommodations are available upon request.
LEARN SPANISH & LEAVE A POSITIVE FOOTPRINT
CRLA students have the opportunity of contributing to make a tangible difference in our world and to leave something positive for future generations.