Spanish Immersion for Adults in Costa Rica & Ecuador
Everyone knows that immersion is the best way to learn medical Spanish. So, you are left with two questions:
1. What is the most effective way to do Spanish immersion for adults?
2. And who is a partner I can trust?
I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with our Spanish immersion for adults’ course abroad!
Ecuador Spanish Immersion
Based in Otavalo, Ecuador
1 – 2 weeks in length
Spanish Immersion in Ecuador & Costa Rica
Based in Otavalo & Santo Domingo de Heredia
2 – 6 weeks in length
Costa Rica Spanish Immersion
Based in Santo Domingo de Heredia
1 – 6 weeks in length
Safe travel policies reduce COVID-19 risks to Common Ground travelers and to the communities that host us.
Reserve your seat for 30 days
There’s no obligation, just give yourself some pressure-free time to make a decision!
*If you are a teacher or a healthcare worker, you may want to consider our specialized Spanish immersion programs:
Learn Medical Spanish in small group classes.
Volunteer in the community health setting
Earn CME / CE credits
Learn Spanish for the classroom and communication with parents
Volunteer in community schools and organizations leading educational camps
Earn Continuing Education & PDU credits
This Spanish Immersion for Adults program in Ecuador and Costa Rica is perfect for the adult learner who wants to improve their Spanish skills for personal and/or professional purposes. What are the primary components of our program?
Small Group Conversational Spanish classes
Daily Spanish immersion classes with native Spanish speakers. Classes are 4hrs/day in the afternoons. You’re placed in a class at your level.
Lodging with a local host family
(one student per family) So that you’re immersed in speaking Spanish 24/7 and acquiring Spanish as you relate to your host family and experience daily culture in Central America.
Participating in volunteer projects
There are several target communities we have long-standing relationships with. We support them with identified needs. Usually these are educational / workshop projects that give knowledge and skills to improve quality of life.
Saturday through Monday mornings we have time off to explore the countries we visit! You can do this on your own or with the CGI group. We speak Spanish on these excursions and help you capture teachable moments as they pop up.
Join the Adult & Family Spanish Immersion Info Meeting:
- When: Wednesday, November 16, 2022 @ 7pm Mountain Time (6p Pacific, 8p Central, 9p Eastern)
- Where: Zoom Online Meeting – Register below for login details
Everything that I thought it would be, it was. And things I never thought I would see or experience, I did!
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Objective and unique aspects of this Spanish immersion for adults’ program:
Program goal: This Immersion program is specifically designed to improve your Spanish communication skills for professional and personal purposes. This opportunity is for the active learner with the goals of gaining Spanish proficiency and cultural knowledge. All levels of learners are welcome from beginning to advanced. Whether you are a business professional that could learn Spanish as a tool to better serve your clients, a stay-at-home parent that has always had this goal, or work in a community with a high percentage of Spanish speakers, this program is for you!
Why should you choose the Common Ground Adult Spanish Immersion Program?
Earn College Credit while you travel!
Get up to 5 undergraduate university credits for all of the fun and challenging immersion work you’ll do abroad.
Our trips are accredited for 200-level (2nd year) college credits as follows:
- 3 College Spanish credits for 2-week programs
- 4 College Spanish credits for 3-week programs
- 5 College Spanish credits for 4 week programs
Additional fees apply. Email Leslie for more information
At first I was so apprehensive, I was so scared because this is the first time I’ve ever traveled to a foreign country alone but the experience was amazing. It’s fantastic I would highly recommend it!
This adult Spanish immersion and experiential learning opportunity provides adults with intensive Spanish language and cultural learning in its natural context. Experience tangible results in your Spanish speaking skills and cultural understanding while:
- Attending small and intensive Spanish classes differentiated by ability, so that you’re guaranteed to learn at your level
- Gaining cultural understanding through living with a local family
- Participating in relevant, sustainable and language-rich community engagement projects so that you learn while you feel good about the help you give
- Exploring the beauty of Costa Rica and Ecuador while visiting national parks and beaches in your free time
In both countries, you have the option of staying with a host family for the duration of the program or staying at a local hostel or hotel.
We recommend host families so that you have that 24/7 immersion experience. Your host family will take care of all of your basic needs: provide you with a private bedroom, share breakfast and dinner with you, and be your cultural guides during your trip.
Spanish Immersion Classes
Our intensive Spanish classes are just that, intense and super-relevant!
- INTENSIVE because they are with native Spanish speaking teachers trained in second language acquisition and the class sizes are small (max. 6 students per class).
- RELEVANT because they are designed with your goals in mind and allow for many communicative opportunities to practice the Spanish that you need to know! Four hours of Spanish classes a day will strengthen and support the foundation of a rich immersion experience. You will take a Spanish placement test upon arrival to ensure that you’re working on exactly the grammar and vocabulary items at your level.
Community Service Opportunities
Community service is a vital component in the Spanish Immersion for Adults program. Our “collaborative community engagement projects” allow for a deeper level of Spanish and cultural learning that most travelers do not get while visiting other countries.
In addition to filling a real need in the local community, our service-learning projects are designed to greatly improve your Spanish! Helping others has the potential to take your Spanish to the next level!
Work hard Monday through Friday on your Spanish and take a break on the weekends! We put together group travel options for you on the weekends that you can join, or you can venture off on your own.
When we explore with the group, we commit to speaking Spanish on the weekend as well to keep the immersion alive.
I feel that the best kind of immersion is to be completely immersed in the culture and to develop relationships that make connections and to have fun, and that’s exactly what this program has been like!
All of our programs include basic travel medical insurance with trip interruption, delays, lost bags, etc. Here is the standard description of coverage for your included travel insurance plan.
If you have any uncertainties about your upcoming adventure, it might be a good idea to consider a Cancel for Any Reason insurance policy. We suggest you shop for it here:
Brief Intro & Types of Adult Spanish Immersion Travelers:
Diversity and Inclusivity on Spanish Immersion
Our mission of Impacting Communities Through Language extends to ALL travelers and learners regardless of age, gender identity, physical ability, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status.
Thoughts from recent Adult Spanish Immersion Travelers
This was exactly what I was looking for! I wanted a program where I could use my large base of Spanish knowledge to practice and reinforce my skills. I wanted the opportunity to use the language as much as possible and relate it directly to professional development. It was flexible and exactly what I wanted!
My Common Ground International immersion trip was challenging, inspiring and satisfying in all the right ways. I grew personally and linguistically in leaps and bounds. The people I met and the experiences I had will live forever in my heart and will inform every aspect of my professional life as well as my personal life. I will definitely be back!
I found the Spanish immersion to be a wonderful experience. The benefit of a full immersion is not an opportunity that should be overlooked when learning another language. I feel that being immersed in a native country and having to be pushed to speak the language, hearing it all around you encourages you to reach deep and pull out what you already know as well as learn more. Experiencing the culture and people also help you to appreciate the history of the language you are learning and the people.
The pre-departure Spanish material was excellent. Wish I knew more when I got there, but that’s why we went. The leadership could not do a better job. Anything we wanted to do any time. Hard to beat. You can’t dip your toe in the pool. This is the cannonball version of getting in the pool. Don’t miss it. They’re waiting for you!
It’s been a really great experience! The excursions have been great, my teacher was awesome and very patient.
What can you expect on this Spanish immersion for adults trip?
Out of class learning
Interesting cultural & historical sites
Meaningful and sustainable community service work
Amazing 3-day weekend getaways to the beach
…and to the rainforests
You meet the coolest people ever
This whole trip has been amazing! It’s been beautiful, the people are so nice, I’ve learned so much Spanish… it’s been great!
1-2 Week Spanish Immersion in Ecuador
1 Week Programs in June ’23: 6/17/23-6/24/23, 6/24/23 – 7/1/23
2 Week Program in June ’23: 6/17/23 – 7/1/23
3-6 Week Combo Spanish Immersion Programs in Ecuador and Costa Rica
3-week Ecuador & Costa Rica Immersion Program: 6/17/23 – 7/8/23, 6/24/23 – 7/15/23
4-week Ecuador & Costa Rica Immersion Programs: 6/17/23 – 7/15/23, 6/24/23 – 7/22/23
5-week Ecuador & Costa Rica Immersion Programs: 6/17/23 – 7/22/23, 6/24/23 – 7/29/23
6-week Ecuador & Costa Rica Immersion Programs: 6/17/23 – 7/29/23
1-6 Week Spanish Immersion Programs in Costa Rica:
1-Week Costa Rica Programs: 1/28/23 – 2/4/23 | 7/1/23 – 7/8/23 | 7/8/23 – 7/15/23
2-Week Costa Rica Programs: 1/28/23 – 2/11/23 | 7/1/23 – 7/15/23 | 7/8/23 – 7/22/23
3-Week Costa Rica Programs: 1/28/23 – 2/18/23 | 7/1/23 – 7/22/23 | 7/8/23 – 7/29/23
4-Week Costa Rica Programs: 1/28/23 – 2/25/23 | 7/1/23 – 7/29/23 | 7/8/23 – 8/5/23
5-Week Costa Rica Programs: 1/28/23 – 3/4/23 | 7/1/23 – 8/5/23
6-Week Costa Rica Programs: 1/28/23 – 3/11/23 | 7/1/23 – 8/12/23
It has really taken my Spanish to the next level. Not only am I more comfortable speaking Spanish, but I learned a ton of vocabulary and at the same time I got to have a lot of fun and have a lot of really great experiences!
A few video testimonials from recent travelers:
General Program Itinerary:
|Return from Optional Excursion||Volunteer orientation||Volunteer prep||Volunteer work||Volunteer work |
1/2 day excursion
|Optional Excursion||Optional Excursion|
|Spanish classes 1-5p||Spanish classes 1-5p||Spanish classes 1-5p||Spanish classes 1-5p||Spanish classes 1-5p|
Saturday is generally the day we ask you to arrive in country so that you can get settled in with your host family and have Sunday to get to know the town before your program starts on Monday.
Mon – Fri afternoons
Small group Spanish classes from 1-5pm
Tue – Fri mornings
These are the days we dedicate to community outreach work
Take time to explore the country! We put together a weekend trip every weekend. You are free to join us, stay with your host family, or DIY a weekend excursion!
Thinking about traveling with your family? Check out our Family Spanish Immersion Programs in Costa Rica!
Spanish Immersion for Adults Program FAQs
Our trip leaders will seek the attention of a health care worker and make decisions along with parent/guardians/emergency contacts back in the US. We will be in touch with parent/guardians/emergency contacts as soon as possible. We will also help the participant initiate the process for claims on the travel/medical insurance policy that was purchased.
SWhat if I have a food allergy or Usually this is not an issue. We have several host families that can accommodate food allergies and dietary restrictions. Please let your trip coordinator know ahead of time so we can prepare for this accommodation.
If there is an issue with your host family, trip leaders will be very involved and be able to make a quick switch to find a family that is a better match for you.
Yes, while most families do NOT have Wi-Fi in their homes, you will be able to connect to Wi-Fi at the language school. There are also 2 Internet cafes in the center of town that you can use for a minimal price.
You will take an online pre-departure course that covers all the logistics, expectations and important details for traveling. And we will usually have 1 or 2 video meetings online so that you can meet the other participants, learn specific trip details and itineraries, start working in groups on your volunteer projects, and a number of other things.
From about May/June through October/November it is rainy season. The sun may shine in the morning (and it will be humid), but it will certainly rain in the afternoon (but it’s usually not a cold rain). December through April is dry season. It will be sunny, humid, and may rain here and there.
October – March Costa Rica is on Central Time, and Ecuador is on Eastern Time. April – September Costa Rica is on Mountain Time and Ecuador is on Central Time.
This is actually the #1 reason we chose to have our Spanish Immersion Programs based in these two countries. While Costa Rica has a long history of peacefulness and political stability, Ecuador has been exceeding the international community’s expectations for friendliness and safety. Tourism is a very large portion of both countries’ economies, which means that in general tourists are treated very well.
The time you spend in Ecuador will be in the Cuenca and Quito areas. Quito is the bustling and modern capital city, while Cuenca is colonial and quaint. In Costa Rica we are in a town called Santo Domingo de Heredia. This town is about 20 minutes N of the capital city San Jose. The language school where you will walk to every morning is about 600m S of the downtown area on the main road.
You will be staying in a middle-class home setting. You can expect the home and your bedroom to be small. Your bed probably won’t be as comfortable as your bed is here in the US. Most homes have tile floors, no carpet. Most families do not have dish washers nor clothes driers. You may be given a couple different keys for the home: one for the exterior gate off the street, and another for the actual doors to the house.
Your host families may speak a little English, particularly if they have school aged children. However, we encourage them to not speak English with you. The best way for you to continue learning Spanish is to have to use it!
In Ecuador, probably. In Costa Rica, no – that’s not likely. We specifically limit the number of students in the host family. This increases your opportunities to speak Spanish. If you’re traveling with your spouse for some or all of the time, we will place you in the same family.
Having a student is a significant boost to our host families’ incomes. Because there are more families requesting students in the town than we have need for, we are selective in who we employ to host you. The host families that our students stay with are screened for various things:
– Criminal and/or questionable social activity
– Suitability of the living quarters that you will occupy
– General “likeability” and friendliness
– Availability of a family member at the home during the hours you are scheduled to be there
– Proximity to the language school
Certainly, there aren’t a ton of different faith options in town, but you can always find a nice Catholic church in the middle of town with several service times throughout the week, an evangelical church close to the town center center and several other faith worship options in nearby towns.
Yes, you will be able to shower every day. There is no guarantee that your shower will have warm water, but you’ll certainly have access to a shower.
In Costa Rica, yes. You can drink water from the tap almost anywhere in Costa Rica. In Ecuador, no. You’ll want to drink filtered or bottled water everywhere in Ecuador.
Absolutely. Most of the time the program cost is spread out over 3 payments. If you need other specific arrangements, we can probably be flexible with you. If you’d like to make just one payment, that’s fine too. Acceptable forms of payment are Visa, Master, Discover, Check and Cash.
Yes. Shortly after your register, you will receive access to an in-depth pre-departure preparation course. In this course you’ll find all you need to know about clothes, personal items, donations, and other miscellaneous items to pack.
Typically 60 – 90 days. If you have any questions about how to get a passport for your Spanish immersion for adults program, you can find information online at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports.html.
In general, yes. This depends on your service provider and your specific phone, so check with your service provider first. If your specific phone isn’t capable, most service providers have world phone rental options. You can purchase calling cards when you arrive to Costa Rica. We also recommend Skype, What’sApp, and Facetime for staying in touch back home.
Absolutely. Of course it’s always a good idea to have a little local cash on you (Colones for Costa Rican or Dollars for Ecuador), but honestly you don’t need much right away when traveling with a Common Ground group. After you get settled into your host family, we’ll make sure you have the opportunity to exchange $US right away. We do not recommend exchanging you money at the airport as they generally have unfavorable exchange rates. Credit & Debit cards are accepted throughout both countries, and ATM machines are more and more common every year. The ATM is convenient, and usually provides a good exchange rate. It is important to notify your bank that you will be traveling abroad, and you’ll probably want to inquire about any foreign transaction and/or currency fees.
Unless we’re doing something especially touristy, Common Ground staff will be your “guide” during the bulk of your adult Spanish immersion program. We contract with a few different local transportation companies to get our group around to different sites, so we don’t always have the same driver, but they always know the roads well, take safety seriously, and will greet you with a smile.
A good rule of thumb is $2-$3/day that our driver is shuttling you around, and $3-$5/day that a guide is leading you. They work very hard for you, and we take great pleasure in thanking them generously at the end of our programs.
Many spouses, fiancées, friends and other family members join our groups for a portion of the program. We’re happy to arrange this for you with both your host family, and any private hotel accommodations that you require while on vacation portions of the program. If this is something you’re considering, we just ask that you let us know early on so that we can make appropriate arrangements for you. This is not a last minute decision that you can make, it does require special arrangements, so we ask that you notify us at the time you submit your application.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to not budget enough money for additional expenses. The challenge is that this is a question that depends heavily on your tastes and the specifics of the program you’re applying for. To give you an idea of the typical expenses you may be responsible for: a normal lunch will usually run $5.00-$7.00; dinner runs $7.00 – $15.00. Optional excursions are something you should also plan for, but each program is very different. These excursions really add some amazing experiences to your Spanish Immersion Program. Tips excluded (see tips FAQ question).
If you were to not include any additional excursions, and live as frugally as possible for the time you’re there, you should plan on $150 for a 2 week program and $300 for the 4 week program. The best approach however, is to take a look at the specific itinerary for your program that highlights the expenses you’re responsible for, and begin planning your additional expenses accordingly.
Of course you need to be current on your standard immunizations. Additionally, when traveling anywhere in Central America there is also a risk of Zika, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, and Hepatitis A and B. We suggest you consult both the CDC website and your primary care physician to prepare for your Spanish Immersion Program.
By the way, whether you select our programs or not, if you’re going to go on a Spanish immersion program, you’ll want to make sure you have a copy of the High School Spanish App – it’s the best tool for studying Spanish out there & it doesn’t require an internet connection!