Known for its mild climate and its national parks, volcanoes, fine beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, rain forests, and wildlife refuges, Costa Rica offers a rich cultural and environmental backdrop for intensive students of the Spanish Language. The main campus in Santa Ana, on a former six acre mountainside farm named El Pedregal, provides intensive Spanish language instruction in a serene setting.
The Intensive Spanish Program at CONVERSA follows the teaching methodology of the Peace Corps and the Foreign Service Institute. No previous study or knowledge of Spanish is required, and on arrival, students are given a placement test in Spanish to determine the appropriate level of study.
The program is offered in four week sessions, and classes have no more than four students each. Students are taught by different instructors each week to strengthen their conversation and oral comprehension skills. Intensive instruction for five-and-one-half hours per day is entirely in Spanish, and individual tutorials on Saturday mornings and additional conversation practice are available upon request.
Students are generally awarded a maximum of 6-8 credits per four week cycle, and a 2.5 GPA is required, as well as transcripts and a minimum age of 18 for admission.
Housing is an important aspect of the Intensive Spanish program, and students studying at the Santa Ana campus are placed in a Costa Rican homestay, one student or married couple per family, in the surrounding neighborhoods. Students are provided with a private room and laundry service, breakfast and dinner on class days, and transportation to campus. Breakfast and lunch are also provided on campus as part of the program, which allows students to interact informally with other students and faculty.
The main campus offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, a dining hall and lounge, swimming pool, and tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts. All on-site program coordinators are bilingual, and arrange airport pick-ups and returns, arrangements with host families, and all cultural excursions to museums and markets.
Universidad Veritas is located in the capital city of San Jose. Students have easy access to the city's museums, restaurants, bustling markets, and the National Theater. The surrounding areas, including beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, are all within a few hour's drive from the city.
Universidad Veritas is one of Costa Rica's new private universities. It is located in a residential section of town and has a local student population of approximately 2,200. The Veritas Instituto de Espanol is part of the university, and offers students from around the world the opportunity to advance their Spanish language skills while taking other courses in English taught by bilingual faculty from the university.
In addition to six required credit hours of Spanish language study (which is offered at all levels from beginning through advanced in four week sessions), semester courses that are taught in English may be offered in Arts and Humanities, Environment and Society, Introduction to Ecology, and Introduction to International Business.
All students enroll in the Costa Rica Colloquium, which includes excursions to museums and other cultural and historical sites as part of the program. The recommended number of credits is 12-15 per semester. Students should have a 2.5 GPA, and furnish transcripts and three letters of recommendation for admission to the program. The program is open to students who are at least second semester freshmen.
Students are placed with host families in San Jose, one student per family. Students are given private rooms with laundry service, and breakfast and dinner on class days. For students who prefer to live on campus, Universidad Veritas will arrange accommodations at an additional cost. The Student Affairs staff coordinates all housing arrangements and social, cultural, and sports activities.
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