35 and back to School

For years I wanted to learn Spanish, but my audio lessons and some Duolingo sessions didn’t get me that far. That’s why I decided to go back to school! I took Spanish lessons in Costa Rica and Argentina and I didn’t regret it at all!

School of the World, Jaco, Costa Rica

I booked a week at the School of the World in Jaco. My first impression of Jaco caused somewhat of a culture shock. I arrived from sleepy Drake Bay and Jaco is the complete opposite. High buildings and the main street is full with touristy restaurants and shops.

The School of the World is located a couple of blogs from the main street and it felt like a relief getting there. It instantly felt relaxed and friendly, just a great ambience.

At the School of the World, it’s possible take Spanish-, yoga-, photography-, video editing and/or surf lessons. I chose Spanish and video editing and I joined one surf lesson.

Spanish lessons

The Spanish lessons were in small groups. Easy going and very clear. Our teacher didn’t just teach us Spanish, but also took us to fruit stalls, to tell us about the typical Costa Rican fruits and vegetables and to teach us the Spanish words of these foods of course. We also went out for dinner with our class one evening to enjoy some typical Tico (Costa Rican) food.

Video editing and surfing lessons

For the video editing lessons, we went on field trips with the photography students to shoot some clips. We visited a beautiful beach, a view point (with crazy graffiti) and a surf workshop. In the video editing lessons, I created a small movie. Something I highly enjoyed!

The surfing lesson I attended was cool! I was able to catch some waves and I wished I had more time to include surfing lessons in my program. The lesson was filmed and back at school everyone received valuable feedback.

Accommodation at the School of the World

The school has great accommodation for students (see their site for a good impression). Unfortunately, I booked my lessons last minute and the accommodation was already fully booked. Still, I could use all general facilities, like the swimming pool. So, I hung out with the other students at school and at night we joined together for dinner, live music and bars. Everyone bonded pretty well and I even started to like Jaco.

After a week, I had a hard time leaving. I continued my trip with an edited video on my USB stick, improved Spanish vocabulary and great memories.

Photo by Emilie Ethier

Spanish Courses in Mendoza, Argentina

Even though I loved the School of the World and the dynamics of group lessons, I felt I also had to take some private lessons to bring my Spanish to the next level. I contacted SP Spanish Courses and booked 20 hours of private lessons in Mendoza. In fact, the lessons were ‘group lessons’ but since I was the only student at the moment I had private lessons for group lessons rates. Not bad at all.

My lessons were from 8:30-10:30 AM and from 11:00 AM-1.00 PM for 5 days in a row. I had two different teachers and the main ‘rule’ was to only speak in Spanish. Something that frustrated me at some moments because I wasn’t able to put any nuances in my sentences, but I also realized that this is a highly effective way of learning a language.

Because I only went to school in the morning I spent my afternoons enjoying amazing lunches, and I visited some wineries. I also practiced my Spanish in the afternoons. Except on the days of my visits of the bodegas of course.

Lessons in Mendoza vs lessons in Jaco

My experience in Mendoza was way different than my lessons at the School of the World in Jaco. On the one hand, I missed the fun of being with a big group of other students but on the other hand I think this way of learning a language was more effective for me. So, I’m glad I visited both schools.

Going back to school is a great way to learn a language or other skills. It’s also an easy way to meet other travelers. I know for sure that this wasn’t my last time in school!


For hotels in Jaco book here!