A Pura Vida Experience

A Pura Vida Experience

My experience studying Spanish at Estelar has been all I hoped for and more. The colorful building has provided both a place to relax away from the Guanacaste sun, as well a sociable environment, conducive to learning. The staff always have a smile on their face and have been more than happy to stop and chat when I’ve wanted to put into practice what we’ve learnt in class.

The school is located in the centre of Liberia, the provincial capital of Guanacaste. It is a short walk from the picturesque central park as well as restaurants and a number of traditional eateries (known as sodas). For me, Liberia provides the best of both worlds. The city itself is fairly traditional and English is rarely heard. This means the learning doesn’t stop when you leave the classroom, but rather you are immersed in the language throughout the day. On the other hand, Guanacaste is renowned for its beautiful beaches, volcanoes and wildlife and the province is geared up for you to adventure and explore its diverse beauty. Some of the most breathtaking beaches you could imagine run along the Pacific Coast; less than an hour away on the bus. A personal favorite is the long sandy Playa Hermosa which takes 40 minutes on a direct bus, allowing you to see the cattle farms and pueblos between Liberia and the ocean. The school also organizes a number of excursions with the opportunity to visit stunning waterfalls, volcanic lands and the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica’s many national parks. In Liberia itself, you will encounter many iguanas, tropical birds and most likely a variety of monkeys – just be prepared for the howler monkey alarm clock!

The ethos of the school is clear; everything has the feel of a fun, student centred experience, with as much opportunity to practice the language as possible. What has amazed me most is the amount of grammar I have learnt whilst having fun and practising. This is down to the brilliant, professional standard of teaching from the Spanish teachers. They understand the importance of making a student feel relaxed, have amazing patience and answered my questions with great clarity. This, along with the small class sizes, enabled me to build up the confidence to go and use my Spanish with the unbelievably friendly people of Guanacaste. The structure of the course is fast paced and there is a definite feeling of improvement and progress as you work your way through. I’ve found this incredibly rewarding and when you complete the course there is a real sense of achievement.  

 

I can’t recommend the school, Liberia or Costa Rica highly enough! The opportunity to improve your Spanish during the day before unwinding in the lovely warm ocean (piña colada in hand) has been one I hope many more can experience. The tastes, smells and beautiful views, coupled with the pace of life, can only leave you with a smile on your face and a feeling of Pura Vida!

Stefan originates from Scotland and is a Spanish student, as well as an English teacher, at Instituto Estelar Bilingüe.