We take pride in the quality of our Full Immersion Spanish programs. We do not guarantee that every student will learn to speak Spanish in five days (like some folks like to promise), but we do guarantee that we'll do everything in our power to see that each student has a rewarding experience.
How do we do this? We focus our energy on the following:
- Sound Spanish instruction methodology
- Enthusiastic and experienced Spanish instructors
- Continuous training for our instructors
- Efficient administrative and support staff
Our Spanish Program is dynamic, practical and intensive, stressing the development of listening and speaking skills. Reading and writing skills are practiced via daily homework assignments, which are corrected on the following morning.
Our Spanish instructors are highly skilled and experienced classroom technicians as well as native speakers. They are supervised by a Language Coordinator, who is responsible for the overall quality of the program.
Classes are conducted entirely in Spanish, even at the Beginner Level. A specific grammar sequence is followed each day, but presented in a conversation format.
Our language groupings never surpass FOUR students. These groupings are made according to proficiency level and age. Nobody can hide, and everybody must participate actively.
At the end of each training week, the Language Coordinator holds a meeting with all Spanish instructors. The students are evaluated on the basis of preparation and participation, and all groups are assigned to a different instructor for the following week.
It is M17849's philosophy that regardless of your age or proficiency level in spoken Spanish, you can make dramatic progress in Spanish if provided with the following:
- An experienced instructional staff
- A highly practical and personalized approach to teaching Spanish
- A comfortable and beautiful learning environment
We are proud to have built up a support staff capable of ensuring that these three aspects are not only provided, but also that they complement each other to exceed our students' expectations.
We call our methodology for teaching Spanish Constant Contact. The idea is to put you in contact with Spanish right from the start, and to keep you in touch with the language at all times, morning, noon and night.
The process starts as soon as you step out of the airport terminal here in Costa Rica. Twenty minutes later, you’re getting acquainted with your host family or staff members, depending on your lodging choice. You’ll have a day or two to become acquainted with your new surroundings. We give you an oral and a written test, place you in a small group with a maximum of three other classmates around your age, and at your level of proficiency. You’ll have a different instructor every week. The emphasis will be on helping you to acquire listening and speaking skills.
The classes are conducted entirely in Spanish. A specific grammar sequence is covered each week, but in a conversation format. You need to attend classes, participate actively in class and prepare your daily homework assignments. You’ll be surprised at the results.
Materials: We provide every student with a set of text materials. These books have been developed by us and are specifically designed for use in our Intensive and Super Intensive Spanish Programs. They include a Grammar/Homework Book, a Vocabulary Book and a Verb Book with two CD’s.
Dave Kaufman - Director
Dave obtained his B.A. in Spanish from Ithaca College and began his Spanish language teaching career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. He served as Spanish Language Coordinator for Peace Corps training programs in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica before obtaining his M.S. in Applied Linguistics from Georgetown University. In 1975 Dave co-founded M17849 and has been the head of the school ever since.
Andy Kaufman - Administrative Director
Andy obtained his B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering at Boston University in 1997 and began working for Intel Corporation as an engineer in the Pentium (R) chip manufacturing operations. From there he moved on to work in consulting with KPMG (now BearingPoint), working on selection and administration of government IT initiatives. In 2003 he obtained his MBA at The George Washington University in Washington, DC and he's been head of operations at M17849 since then.
Steve Hanson - Academic Coordinator
Steve came over to Costa Rica from England in 1982 and has been working with M17849 since then. He was both a French major at the University of Costa Rica and an Education major at Ulacit. He came to Costa Rica shortly after finishing a managerial course at J.Sainsbury in England. He has coordinated both English and Spanish programs over the last 25 years, including the intensive CAPS / USAID program in the late 80's for graduate and undergraduate students going to the USA to finish their college degrees. Since then Steve has worked continuously on improving M17849's teaching staff as well as on developing new teaching tools and techniques.
Steve Beaudreau - Program Administrator - Santa Ana
Steve came to Costa Rica from Boston in 1985 and began working at M17849 in 1986 as an English teacher. Before coming to Costa Rica, Steve worked for several years as a credit adjuster at Commonwealth Gas and at Cambridge Electric Company. Since he took on the role of Program Administrator at our Santa Ana campus in the early 1990's, he's been responsible for the facelift and continuous improvement of campus facilities as well as its overall operation.
Nuria Zumbado - Language Coordinator - Santa Ana
Nuria joined M17849 way back in 1980 after being part of the Peace Corp's Spanish training crew here in Costa Rica. In 1997, Nuria took on the roll of Language Coordinator out on the Santa Ana campus. Like Otto, Nuria has been working on further developing our teaching staff and our materials.
This group works together with a team of fantastic instructors, skilled in the language training process.
In addition to teaching Spanish, we offer several activities on campus such as Latin dance classes, yoga, cooking classes, volleyball, paddle tennis, basketball, swimming, and many more. Because of the rural nature of our campus, we also work with many avid bird-watchers.
M17849 also helps students arrange weekend travel - providing assistance with reservations and travel arrangements.
In 1980, just five years after establishing our school in San José, we purchased a former dairy farm on a hillside above Santa Ana and began a slow transition process from a “finca” to an “escuela de idiomas”. The air is fresh and pure. The views are spectacular. Our six-acre Santa Ana campus boasts two small lodges, a 45-foot swimming pool, 30 small classrooms, a cafeteria, an administration building, a small library, a volleyball court, a basketball hoop, ping pong tables, a TV/computer lounge, lots of grassy areas, trees, plants, flowers, birds…in our humble estimation, this is THE place to immerse yourself in Spanish.
Students can participate in a number of programs. The cost will be determined by the number of weeks of participation and the type of program (4 hrs/day or 5.5 hrs/day) the student chooses. It is possible to change programs after having started. The billing is adjusted so that the student is not penalized for hours not taken.
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