At just few miles from its capital city of San José, at the foot of the Braulio Carrillo National Park, the friendly, cozy and hospitable semirural community of Coronado, headquarters for academia, awaits you to learn Spanish. In the placidness of a beautiful tropical garden of the Academia Tica you will have the possibility of giving your first steps in Spanish or of perfecting the skills that you already have in this language.”
The learning process of the participants is shaped by our philosophy: competence, authenticity, a reflection of Costa Rican democracy and equality, and respectful interaction with one another. Our philosophy of teaching believes that a student not only should strive for a Travel and Learn but a Travel and Help concept. Ever since it’s beginning we have been placing students that take part in the school’s Internship or Volunteering Programs in the local community.
Lessons are given by experienced native speakers, all of whom have academic degrees and experience in teaching Spanish as a foreign language. The teaching approach is geared toward on communication, but written language techniques, vocabulary work, grammar, and current Latin American affairs are not left out. We don't restrict ourselves to just teaching Spanish. We also teach the important inter cultural, Latin American aspects of Spanish that are necessary for a true understanding of the language.
The home base of the academia is beautifully located in the middle of a 5000 square meter tropical garden in sunny, green Coronado. Coronado (San Isidro de Coronado) lies 10 kilometers northeast of San José. The school is situated on the grounds of an old farm known as the “Quinta Toyopán” (place for the gods).
The name Toyopán recalls the indigenous people who buried their high priests here and named the settlement area Toyopán before the conquest by Spain's Vásquez de Coronado. There is a bus stop directly in front of the school, and buses travel from Coronado's central bus station (just 850 meters away) to the center of San José and back every 10 to 15 minutes from early morning until late at night. The bus fare is $0.60 round trip.
Group courses are conducted in classes of a maximum of 6 students. The average per class is 3-4 students only. One lesson is 45 minutes. On the first morning of each course you will be tested to evaluate your level of Spanish. Following the test you will be assigned to one of the following six course levels which correspond to the following modules:
- Module I (Levels A & B without prior knowledge): The goals of these introductory courses are to achieve a basic level of oral communication in the present, future and past tense. At the same time students will acquire a general knowledge of Costa Rica and Latin America: Students will learn the minimum vocabulary and grammatical structures needed to develop the first contacts with the Spanish speaking community.
- Module II (Levels C & D, Elementary and Intermediate Level): In elementary and intermediate classes the basic communication skills will be strengthened and expanded by more complex verb forms including the preterite, conditional, subjunctive. Various didactic methods are used including practice with written Spanish and works with various topics of the Costa Rican and Latin American experience.
- Module III (Levels Upper Intermediate and Advanced): In these courses, students review the grammatical problems of Spanish as a second language and work with more advanced topics. In addition, students will strengthen their existing knowledge and minimize existing weaknesses. Inter cultural analysis of Latin America, the interpretation of literary works, and the improvement of written Spanish are emphasized.
Each level includes grammatical structures of the Spanish language and presentation and discussion of details and special characteristics of life and society. Technical Spanish and Composition exercises are available, too (optional). Modules II and III include writing exercises. Module III includes (optional or combined) Technical Spanish, contemporary Latin American literature, Latin American tradition and folklore, Latin American political and social problems.
We also visit places related to the topics and invite experts to give lectures. Discussion themes are presented in sections and include a variety of listening exercises. Some examples from the catalog topics:
- National Parks of Costa Rica;
- Ecological problems of Costa Rica;
- Contemporary Latin American Literature;
- Costa Rican Educational System;
- Situation of Indigenous Minorities in Latin America;
- Costa Rican Traditions;
- Political Parties and Elections in Costa Rica.
* Spanish courses:
You can choose between the following courses:
- Main Group course - 20 units of 45 minutes each, per week, in groups of 6 or less students. Duration: 1 to 34 weeks, 6 levels: beginner to advanced. General language course: reading, speaking, pronunciation, listening comprehension, grammar, vocabulary expansion, Middle American culture. Lessons: Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. with a 30-minute break. If there is only one participant for a given level, that participant will receive 15 units of private instruction per week instead of 20 units of group instruction.
- Intensive Group course - 30 units of 45 minutes each per week in groups of 6 or less students.Duration: 1 to 34 weeks, 6 levels: beginner to advanced. General language course: You follow Standard course A and receive 2 additional units of group instruction Monday to Friday. No new grammar is introduced here; instead, you do in-depth exercises to reinforce the material you worked on in the morning.
Lessons: Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with two 30-minute breaks. If there is only one participant for a given level, that participant will receive 21 units of private instruction per week instead of 30 units of group instruction.
- Combination Course (20 + 5) - 20 group lessons, plus 5 private ones of 45 minutes each per week to work on individual weaknesses/needs. Duration: 1 to 34 weeks, 6 levels: beginner to advanced. Lessons: Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. with two 30-minute breaks.
- Intensive Combination Course (20 + 10) - 30 units of 45 minutes each per week, 20 of those units in Mini-Group A and 10 additional units of private instruction, either in general Spanish or technical terminology. Duration: 1 to 34 weeks, 6 levels: beginner to advanced. Lessons: Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with two 30-minute breaks. We recommend a crash course of private instructions if you only have 1 or 2 weeks available for a language course.
- Private Instruction – 20/30/40 lessons of 45 minutes each per week, either in general Spanish alone or in combination with technical terminology. Duration: of 1 to 8 weeks for all levels. Lessons: from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Private instruction for professionals. One-on-one setting is ideal for professionals that need to improve their language skills to work in a Spanish speaking country. Special courses can be given with terminology in many fields such as: medical, education, general business, environmental, scientific, law and other.
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