You may be wondering, “What is it like? What will the real experience be? What kind of students join ILISA?” Read about the experiences of people who have been here on our ‘students talk’ page.
Andrew Philip Cline
MSW/MBA, LCSW, CAP, CSAT/CMAT, CTT, CPA
Grade A+: ILISA exceeded all my expectations. Words can’t express my satisfaction with their facilities, staff, flexibility in scheduling, attention to detail and of course the effectiveness of their language training. The extent of my language ability before coming to ILISA was “hello,” “goodbye” and “thank you.” In 12 weeks, we covered all the rules of Spanish…language structure, verb tenses, etc. I was so satisfied with their training and my progress, I returned for 8 more weeks of instruction. This turned my knowledge from a basic understanding of the rules of grammar and structure, and it became a working language…reading and oral comprehension and verbal fluency. I learned more Spanish in 20 weeks in Costa Rica than I would have learned in 4 years in a university setting in the states (at a fraction of the cost). I am planning on finding a way to return every year for further instruction; it is definitely one of the most economical ways to spend a month in a foreign country while making it more valuable than “just” a vacation.
El aula afuera del aula: (The class outside of class). To give a glimpse of the school’s flexibility and desire to tailor their training with student´s interests was we had opportunities to have class outside the classroom. My classmates and I decided we would like to explore a coffee plantation, the National Jade Museum, visit a governmental agency (Ministry of Immigration) and take the PADI Open Water SCUBA course in Spanish. The school incorporated our desires into an instruction plan. An instructor accompanied us on these field trips and it definitely enhanced our understanding of the story behind the story at times he had insights the tour guides didn’t provide.
Flexibility: The school and professors were willing to accommodate my desire to explore Costa Rica outside San Pedro and San José on weekends was incredible. Because I had private instruction in the afternoons for two hours every day, I was able to take classes for 2.5 hours Monday through Thursday and have Friday afternoons off. When there were no other students at my level so I had private instruction in the mornings as well, this provided me with three day weekends so I could explore the vast biodiversity of Costa Rica…beaches, volcanoes, national parks.
Mi Familia Tica: At 48 years-old, I debated (internally) with living under someone else´s roof and considered getting an apartment (many are available in the area). I am so glad that I chose the homestay option. My family had 10+ years of experience hosting students from all over the world. During the five months I lived with students from the Netherlands, Nigeria, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Japan and the United States. Breakfast and Dinner provided two additional hours of language immersion every day. I dare you to try and find: Two Meals, Private Room, Shared Bath, Laundry and Cleaning Services for less than $30.00 a day…it can´t be beat! Oh, and then there´s the additional language experience and the opportunity to make new friends—PRICELESS.