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Old 01-18-2013, 03:21 PM   #13
pdedse OP
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We leave next week for CR. I say "we"...this is a working road report for me. I'm the program leader for 12 community college students who will be taking 6 weeks of Spanish in San Isidro, at least 4 hours a day, sometimes afternoon activities as well. Students receive 15 credits of college Spanish during 8 weeks of classes--two in Oregon that I teach and six weeks of classes in CR taught by Tico instructors at SEPA, the language school we plug into. It's a pretty good deal for them, our college keeps student expense down by doing all the leg work ourselves. SEPA:

We had a great program running for about 15 years in San Miguel de Allende, MX, but we had to cancel a couple of trips due to the real or perceived dangers of Mexico. Personally, I think SMA is one of the safest towns either side of Spain, but our students were no longer signing up. Click "Is Mexico Safe" if you somehow missed that discussion...not sure if they've fully answered the question after 852 pages, 12,771 replies and over 1,010,000 views as of this post.

Anyway, I was charged with finding a new study abroad school and we decided to go with a country that had a "safe" reputation. I chose the area of San Isidro del General (aka "Pérez-Zeledón") because it had what appeared to be a good language school, wasn't in over-crowded San José, wasn't a tourist town...but was close to some beautiful beaches and great mountain hiking. Set up a visit with SEPA, visited the school and town for a week, and found it to be suitable for our purposes. This being the first year our students will study there...time will tell.

But I was comfortable with the decision because I've visited the area about a half dozen times over the last 15 years, visiting family and going to the beaches south of Domincal. It seemed to me to provide a good balance of small town with decent facilities, good access to other destinations and is...."safe", I guess. So now the students and I have about a week to finish packing and begin the adventure. I was in their shoes some 27,28 year ago when I left the U.S. the first time...went to Spain to learn me some Spanish...good golly I was young. I can see a bit of myself in the students going on this trip. Full circle type thing...ok, maybe 3/4 circle.

Anyway, I'm sure students and I'll be heading west on the's less than an hour from S. Isidro to Domincal, via that red line labeled 243, or 22...or whatever, doesn't matter. Nobody I know uses hiway numbers there...let's just call it "la carretera para Dominical". A very twisty, hilly, oft-cloud enshrouded road that's never boring to ride or drive. I really like this area of CR. On the east you have the peaks of Chirripó and the west the beaches. Good place to be. They will learn lots of Spanish, hopefully, even more about themselves. It never seems to be enough.

The students will get to spend a weekend at La Cusinga, a nice eco-lodge some 30 kilometers south of Dominical. I'll tag along on the bike.

pdedse screwed with this post 01-18-2013 at 03:28 PM
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