Meet a couple of our host families…
Doña Blanca Aguilar has welcomed students into her home for the last 8 years. Her many students remember her for her infectious smile and good humor.
“The student I remember most is Linci, a teenager the same age as my daughter. During the weeks she was here, she became another daughter to me. I also enjoyed sharing with Felicia and Sheila, who were my age. We went out a lot; they even took me to the Rain Forest Aerial Tram. What a treat!”
While Blanca encourages students to speak only Spanish, she confesses that her daughter’s English classes have helped them out when in a bind. “The first few days, especially, Florita is a real help language-wise.”
Blanca’s husband always helps students out during their first days by showing them around San José. He gets along particularly well with men who have stayed with the family. “They usually talk soccer…that’s why women students spend more time with me,” says Blanca.
For Blanca, receiving students in her home means that she has more time to share with her family and with them than she would if she worked outside.
Don Luis y Doña Rosibel‘s family is ILISA’s most senior family, having welcomed our students into their home for more than 10 years. Rosibel remembers ILISA’s beginning when it was just a tiny rented building with two classrooms and two teachers and ILISA’s director, Thorwald Westmaas, handled everything from airport pickups to cleaning the building. Although the school has grown considerably over its 12 year history to include 3 buildings with over 30 custom-built classrooms, nearly 20 full-time, permanent teachers, a capable administrative staff, a restaurant, and many other amenities, Rosibel and Luis state that the caliber of students and their progress has remained consistent. “They’re wonderful and the progress that they make is incredible. We can see a difference even after only a week!”
Rosibel started receiving students in her home because she loved cooking and doing so for her own family just wasn’t enough. “I don’t like cooking just a little”, she boasts. Students consistently ask her for her recipe for gallo pinto and arroz con pollo, but she likes making all kinds of Costa Rican food and experimenting with new foods, too. At dinner hour, her family and their students talk about everything under the sun–about cultural traditions, holidays, personalities, traditional foods, families, work, social life, etc.
Over the last 10 years, Rosibel and Luis have received a great diversity of students, varying in race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation. Both have enjoyed learning from students, accepting them in their diversity and doing everything possible to ensure that each one has a positive experience while in Costa Rica.