Frequently Asked Questions
Questions About Heredia
How big is Heredia?
Everything is walkable in Heredia. You can walk the diameter of the city in about 25 minutes. The tallest building in Heredia is only seven stories. It’s also all on a square grid making it easy to navigate! 🙂
Is Heredia safe?
During the day, absolutely. Students are encouraged to spend the afternoon exploring the many nooks and crannies that Heredia has to offer. From local coffee shops and boutique clothes stores to historic churches and the local soccer stadium, the city boasts many activities that are very safe to do. At night, there are many bars and restaurants that open and are easy to get to. Just like any other city though, it become a little more dangerous at night and we encourage students to go out with a buddy.
Key takeaway: the city is safe, walkable, and the central park is a 10 minute walk from Tico Lingo.
How much does lunch cost in Heredia?
A typical lunch in Heredia will cost students around 3000 colones ($5.25 USD). There are fancier options for the food lovers in Heredia, but the regular cost of a meal doesn’t range more than 5000 colones ($8.75 USD).
*Note that tipping is not customary in Costa Rica.
How far is Heredia from the beach?
Heredia is about an hour and a half from the nearest tourist beach called Jacó beach. Students can take a bus from Heredia to San José and then to Jacó for a total cost of about 4000 colones ($7.00 USD). If a taxi is preferred, Tico Lingo offers direct transportation to Jacó – simply inquire at the front desk!
Is it safe for a solo female traveler?
Yes. We’ve not had any issues with single female travelers here in Heredia and in the surrounding community. Likewise traveling via bus is rarely an issue when following some basic guidelines we’ll provide you once you are here.
Questions About Homestays
Can I stay longer?
Often times, students find they want to stay longer than the initially arranged time. At Tico Lingo, we pay families on a weekly basis from Sunday to Sunday but are happy to arrange additional day rates for students looking travel or further explore the area.
If your extended stay goes beyond an additional week, we ask that you speak with a staff leader directly about your travel and housing plans. Normally though, nightly rates are $35/pp.
How are families chosen?
Each family must first apply for the program. The application consists of a written portion that confirms their citizenship, legal status, and local address. Additionally, the written exam tests for basic English language understanding (greetings, names, basic verbs, etc.). We also conduct an evaluation of their home and confirm they have working hot/cold water, laundry services, functioning electricity, and a warm environment for students.
Once allowed in the program, we provide families with written guidelines so everything runs smoothly with our students. Once a student departs, we receive written and verbal feedback from students on the quality of their experience. Yearly, we conduct a re-evaluation to confirm home upkeep and satisfactory facilities.
What are the houses like?
Amongst the highest in Latin America, the standard of living in Costa Rica fares well compared to those in highly developed countries. Although high, an open mind and pura vida attitude is needed though when moving into a family’s home. Homes may not have cable TV, a microwave, or a dishwasher – but don’t forget guys, a true cultural experience may require certain sacrifices. These sacrifices will broaden your horizons and make you appreciate what you have back home!
What if we don't get along?
If for any reason you feel uncomfortable with your homestay family please do not hesitate to let us know and we will be glad to help. We aim to place students with suitable families however, because each student is different in personality, tastes, and habits, things might not work out as planned. In rare cases, families can face tough situations like sickness in the family or issues at work which might affect their ability to host you sufficiently.
Keeping all this in mind, if for any reason you do not feel completely welcome or content with your family, please inform a staff leader so we can make the necessary changes or arrangements.
Can I request a private bathroom?
Some families do offer a private bathroom to students, but unless it is specifically requested, we will place students where we feel they fit best. We’ll take into regard their Spanish level, their age, their prior experience in Costa Rica, their diet, their preferences for children, among other things. But yes, a private bathroom can be provided upon request.
Do most students stay with a homestay family?
Absolutely yes! 🙂 More than 95% of the students that take Spanish classes at Tico Lingo choose to live with a local family. Students as old as 91 have stayed with homestays! You’ll learn the culture, way of life, food, and… most importantly… the language!
Questions About Spanish Classes
How will you assess my Spanish level?
So that we place each student in the best class, we’ll conduct a thorough written and oral examination of each student’s Spanish level before they arrive. Each exam will be carried out roughly 14-21 days before the student arrives. The written is exam is done online (on mobile or on desktop/laptop), and the oral exam is conducted via Whatsapp with our Head of Student services.
What is the average age of the students?
We see many different types of students come through the school throughout the year, from teenagers to traveling retirees. Remember, our Adult Spanish program is open to all students ages 18 – 95. Depending on the time of year, the average student age at the school can fluctuate significantly. During June, July, and August, average ages tend to be younger, but usually ranges between 22-30 years old.
During the rest of the year (September – May), the average age tends to be a bit older, usually between 31-45.
What do I do after class?
Upon each student’s arrival they’ll be given a weekly calendar of tours and activities that we will be organizing here at the school. We’ll be offering activities like dance and cooking class and tours like volcano hiking and white water rafting. Likewise, we’ll have information on where students can go on their own time after class in the afternoons and weekends.
You can get a really good idea of what we offer outside of Spanish class on our activities and tours page.
What level are most students at with their language skills?
This can vary week to week as we receive students at all levels of Spanish competency. We take in students who are just beginning their Spanish language learning journey. Likewise, we take in students who are near fluent in Spanish and need to master some high level grammar.
On average though, especially during June and July, Spanish levels lean more basic and students tend to start with a basic foundation in the language and a lack of good conversational skills.
Questions About Payment
How much is it to secure my position?
For our Adult Spanish Immersion Program, we ask for a 35% payment to register for the program. So, a $1000 program will require a $350 deposit. The deposit payment will allow us to secure your position at the school for your desired dates as well as move you on to the next steps of registration where we book your homestay and conduce your Spanish exams.
Your outstanding balance is collected upon your arrival.
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