Teen Camp 2023 Info Page

Spanish Camp Updates
Summer 2023

¡Felicidades!

You did it! You got all your documents submitted and are fully registered for camp! We can’t wait to welcome you to Heredia, help you advance your Spanish speaking skills, and have the adventure of a lifetime together!

To introduce myself, My name is Chris and I’m the Program Director here at Tico Lingo. I’ll be playing a key role in the 2023 Teen Spanish Camp and will be launching the Whatsapp group chats where you’ll have my direct phone number to ask me anything at all. 

We designed this webpage to be your go-to place to see what your next steps, view important program dates and documents, and get as many of your questions answered before you arrive for camp.

You’ll see a lot of useful information below, but if you still can’t find the answer to your question feel free to fill out the easy form and someone from camp staff will respond as soon as possible (most likely me! 🙂 )

We’re excited for this adventure and couldn’t be happier to welcome campers back to Tico Lingo! Look forward to meeting you! 

¡Pura vida! 

-Chris
Program Director | Tico Lingo

Your Next Steps:

No need to wait, no need to hesitate! Book your flights early and save! Check out sites like StudentUniverse or SkyScanner for good deals on flights. 

  • Remember: Book flights to SJO

One last form! We’ll use this one to collect a bit more information about you, your diet, your allergies, as well as your flight details! 

  • When to fill it out: As soon as you have your flights booked. Remember, you’re flying to SJO

Exam time! But don’t worry, we conduct these exams so that we place you in the Spanish class that best fits your level. Each camper should select a date a time that works best for them. Exams will be conducted via Google Meet.  

  • Note: We’ll conduct these exams starting the end of April 2023

This is a short online Spanish exam used to help us place you in the class that fits you best. Because we want to get the most accurate level assessment, we won’t open the exam until a month or two before the start of camp. 

  • Note: This won’t be available until May 1st, 2023. 

We’ll be using Whatsapp for all our communication before and during the camp. Make sure to turn notifications on! 🙂 

  • Note: Whatsapp is 100% free to use!

Important Dates for Each Camp

See below for all the important dates to keep in mind for camp. Simply select the camp you’ve signed up for and see the dates to the right. 

Frequently Asked Questions

See below for an extensive list of FAQ’s we know you’ll be asking before your trip. If you don’t see your question here, feel free to fill out the short form below and someone from Camp Staff will reach out to you with answer

Yes, campers can absolutely drink the water at their homestay as well as at the school and any other establishment in Costa Rica

Amongst the highest in Latin America, the standard of living in Costa Rica fares well compared to those in highly developed countries. All Tico Lingo homestays have hot water, lots of ventilation and natural light, wifi internet, televisions in the living room, stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, and private bedrooms for students. For more details, check out our dedicated Homestay page. 

Yes, all of the Tico Lingo homestays are required to show proof of vaccination to be granted permission to host Tico Lingo students; adults and teens.

We strongly recommend not sending items via mail to Costa Rica. Customs has a tendency to charge exbordant fees and block packages for weeks. If students forget to pack something, we can most likely find it here in Heredia.

Each family must first apply to be apart of our homestay family community. 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, reliable wifi internet, 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. 

To be approved to host teen students, families must be in our homestay network for at least a year and have the capability of hosting at least 2 students at time.

Yes, we recommend students leave their passports securely in their luggage at their homestay. They will not need their passports during the camp.

Absolutely! Please just be sure to note any special dietary restrictions in your homestay preferences form so that we can notify the family and provide adequate lunch options for you. 

Please provide the airline with the name and details of our Transportation Director. She will be there in the event the airport needs a chaperone to physically pick up the camper at the airline gate. 
– Name: Lizbeth Ramírez Oviedo
– Cédula Física (ID Number): 1-0833-0881
– Teléfono: +(506) 8369-2207
– Correo (email): [email protected]
– Address: Mercedes Norte, Heredia

All you need are the following three items: 

1.) A valid passport from USA, UK, EU, Canada, Australia, or one of the many other countries allowed into Costa Rica. 

2.) Your departing flight details (date, time, and flight number). 

3.) Tico Lingo’s address: 
50m sur del gimnasio de la escuela barrio fátima, Heredia Centro

Because everything is included in the program fee, students’ only real expenditures will be souvenirs or afternoon snacks. We recommend no more than $200 for the whole 2 weeks. 

Options
1.) Bring US dollars or Euros and exchange it here at Tico Lingo for local currency
2.) Use a debit/credit card to pay directly to vendors. Most vendors in Costa Rica will take Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. If you don’t have a card, we recommend looking into a visa travel card
3.) Use a debit card at a local ATM to withdraw local currency (that day’s exchange rate will be used and the exact amount will be reflected on your bank statement plus a $3 transaction fee).
4.) Get a Visa Travel Card that can be used the withdraw local currency or at local vendors that accept Visa. 

Liz and her supporting staff will be outside the airport waiting for you. They will have a sign with the Tico Lingo logo on it. We strongly advise students to add her on Whatsapp and text her with free airport wifi upon their arrival to the airport. DO NOT enter a vehicle that does not affiliate itself with Tico Lingo. If you have problems finding a Tico Lingo representative, please follow these directions:
1.) Call Liz directly using Whatsapp (+506 8919 2561),
2.) Call the Tico Lingo number (+506-6204-3718),
3.) Call your homestay family (phone numbers are provided on the family profile document)

In the mornings we usually see beautiful blue sunny skies at temperatures between 22°C and 28°C (72°F-82°F). Afternoons we tend to see rain with cooler temperatures. Nights can sometimes be a bit chilly and can drop to 18°C (64°F).

Pack clothes and items that you would need for three weeks at home. Consider modest lounge clothes to wear at the homestay, sun protection for weekly excursions, and daily weather conditions mentioned above. For a detailed list, you can check out our dedicated blog page.

Campers will have access to wifi at the school as well as the homestay. Regarding cell phone service and a data plan, we recommend contacting your service provider and inquiring about an international cell phone plan. If that option is too expense or unavailable, campers can purchase a Costa Rican SIM card at Tico Lingo and install it in their phone (be sure your phone is unlocked).

Costa Rica uses 110 volt, 60 cycle electricity, which is the same as in the USA. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type so US travelers will not need a converter or adapter.

Absolutely! When filling out the Homestay & Flight Details form, simply note that your child will not be arriving/departing via airplane and will be being picked up or dropped off by a parent

If dropping campers off, we will still meet at the airport. Simply note the day and time you plan on dropping them off. 

If picking campers up, Camp Staff can coordinate with you to pick them up at their homestay family. 

So that we place each student in the best class, we’ll conduct a thorough written and oral examination of each camper’s Spanish level before they arrive. Each exam will be carried out roughly 21-28 days before camp. The written is exam is done online (on mobile or on desktop/laptop), and the oral exam is conducted via Google Meets with our Head of Student services.

We try to avoid lots of boring worksheet homework and prefer to give homework that engages students and encourages them to speak with their homestay family or another native Spanish speaker. Interviewing your homestay mom, writing a story about where you went yesterday, or creating a song to share in class are typical homework assignments at Tico Lingo.

You do not need a laptop for Spanish class. That which is needed will be provided to you; notebooks, writing utensils, homework, worksheets, etc. 

If you’d like to bring at laptop to have at your homestay, you’re welcome to do so. 

Yes! Outside of Spanish class and time with your homestay, campers will have the opportunity to meet face to face with local students in the area that are learning English. We call this activity “Intercambio” and it allows campers to get to know native Spanish speaking locals who share their same age.

Afternoons vary daily and have us on buses visiting animal rescue centers and waterfalls, exploring coffee farms and city architecture, and meeting locals in the community who are learning English. There is the occasional “free” afternoon where you and your classmates are encouraged to do some solo exploring of Heredia, but generally, we are busy learning new skills or exploring new places together as a group. 

If signed up, upon the start of their 3rd week students will start their Super Intensive Spanish Program. This program is typically offered to adults and includes group Spanish classes 4-hours daily and supplemental private classes 2 hours daily. We’re offering this option to teen campers who are looking to really dive into their Spanish learning and have a more independant experience living here in Heredia. We recommend it to responsible young adults who are comfortable navigating school work and free time on their own. Note that these students will be joining group adult Spanish classes and may be taking Spanish with adults between the ages of 18 and 85. (Our average adult age student in June/July/August is in their late 20s)

On the teen camp, students will have an immense amount of chaperone attention and an outing in the afternoons with the entire camp almost every day. On their 3rd week super-intensive program, students will have Spanish in the mornings and in the afternoons, but will then have the complete independence to go where they please and do they please.

Of course Tico Lingo staff will continue to provide any and all necessary support to students where needed, but they won’t be organizing field trips, volunteer activities, or group outings for students during the 3rd week add-on. Likewise the curfew that exists on the teen camp (6pm) will not exist and students will be allowed to arrive as late as 11pm if they so desires.

Launched 4 weeks before the start of camp, Whatsapp groups are used to provide all parents and campers a place to directly ask questions to Camp Staff as well as to introduce themselves amongst the group.

Pre-camp:
Beyond asking questions, the Parent Chat typically has parents coordinating with others to share flight details and help facilitate airport meet ups between campers. In the Camper Chat, we encourage each camper to introduce themselves to the group and share a bit about why they are interested in learning Spanish. 

During Camp: 
We use the Parent Chat to share daily updates of the goings-on at camp. We’ll send videos and photos and provide a brief description of what we did and saw that day. In the Camper Chat we’re sharing photos and video, but we’re also informing campers every day on what to wear, what the next day’s activity is, and what we’re having for lunch. 

The Tico Lingo Staff and your homestay family will do their best to help with basic illnesses like upset stomachs and minor aches and pains. Likewise, pharmacies, clinics and general healthcare is easily accessible here in Heredia. If students are prescribed medicine back home, we advise they bring a sufficient supply for their 2 week stay with us.

If a serious accident occurs, 911 will immediately be called. The local hospital is located within a 10 minute drive of Tico Lingo and they will dispatch an ambulance. Any treatment necessary will need to be paid out-of-pocket here in Costa Rica. Students are advised to hold on to all paperwork and proof of payments so to be reimbursed by their home country’s insurance provider. Most USA, UK, EU, Australian, and Canadian health insurance plans cover Costa Rican health care services and will reimburse out-of-pocket payments. 

There is always a counselor, mentor, host parent or program director to go and speak with if you are having any kind of problem. The sooner you speak up, the sooner your problem can be solved. If you call your parent to tell them about a problem and then they call us to discuss the program, it takes a lot longer to deal with something that could be fixed if you speak directly to an adult at the school.

Yes, sometimes you have to be a bit brave to address a problem directly with Tico Lingo staff, but that’s what will make you a successful international traveler in the future!

Each student will be assigned a homestay buddy. Buddies travel to and from the school together. They will be expected to arrive at the school together as well as leave the school together. Buddies usually live with the same homestay family or very close to one another in the same neighborhood. At least one student of the two buddies should have working cell phone service that can be used in the case of emergency. 

Still have a question?

Fill out the simple form below and our camp director will get back to you as soon as possible