The Spanish Language Institute

Email: admissions@thespanishinstitute.com

Costa Rica Phone: 011-506-4036-4555

US Phone: 1-800-642-1375

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

Why should I study abroad at The Spanish Language Institute?

A:

If you are hoping to use the Spanish language in cross-cultural ministry, The Spanish Language Institute is the ideal place to pursue your interests. Since 1942, The Spanish Language Institute has helped over 16,000 missionaries achieve the language skills needed to serve the Lord in the Spanish-speaking world. The best way to learn a language is through full cultural immersion. There are many opportunities for students to get involved in the community by living with host families, volunteering with local organizations, attending local church services, and exploring the country! In addition, our team offers help with housing, a school for children on campus, recreational facilities, pastoral counseling, and community.

Q:

Who studies at The Spanish Language Institute?

A:

If you were thinking The Spanish Language Institute is just for missionaries, you would be mistaken. Although originally founded with the intent of equipping missionaries, the Institute has opened its doors to serve people in all walks of life.

We linguistically prepare our students to work in their chosen field with a greater capacity to communicate with clients and coworkers in their respective fields.

The Institute also specifically offers its services to Christian colleges and universities who are looking for a program that is strong in both academics and hands-on ministry. At the Spanish Language Institute, college students receive outstanding instruction from native speakers who are experienced in helping their students achieve the language proficiency they need to be effective in ministry. At the same time, students have the opportunity to live with a Costa Rican family and volunteer with a variety of local organization.

Q:

What are the entry requirements?

A:

If you’re a non-missionary, a letter of recommendation from the pastor of your local church is required.

If you’re a missionary, a letter from your sending agency is required.

Q:

Where is the Institute located?

A:

The Spanish Language Institute is located in a neighborhood of San José, Costa Rica, 23.5 kilometers (about 45 min.) from the Juan Santamaria International Airport.

For a more specific address when arriving by taxi or Uber use: San Francisco de Dos Rios, de la Delta, 200 este, 100 sur, 25 este.

Q:

I don’t know any Spanish. Will this be a problem?

A:

Absolutely not. Our programs are designed for all levels and most of our teachers and other staff speak English very well.

We have a placement test during orientation to make sure everyone is studying at a comfortable level.

Q:

Are scholarships available?

A:

Missionaries receive $20 off pre-registration and a discounted tuition price.

Q:

Should I remain on my current cell phone plan while in Costa Rica? Or is it better to pay for some sort of local carrier while in Costa Rica? Any other recommendations?

A:

Checking with your cellphone provider is the best way to know. However, many of our short-term students don’t disable their cellphones before coming. Those staying longer usually buy a local plan or SIM card to use during their stay. If you plan to do this, make sure that your phone is not carrier-locked. If it is locked, you will need to unlock it or purchase an unlocked phone before you can use your new SIM. Many companies allow you to do this through their website.

Most Costa Ricans communicate using WhatsApp and therefore only need WIFI to communicate. If you prefer not buying a local SIM card or an international plan many of our students have had no issues just using their phone from home and on our campus wide WIFI.   

Cell phones are a good idea to have, but you should be using them on a local basis, not for calling back to the U.S. For international calls, Skype is the most convenient, common, and free option.

Q:

Do I need to apply for a student visa?

A:

The short answer is no, however, it is a good option!

You have three options. You can come as a tourist, you can bring your documents and apply for a student visa after arrival, or, finally, you can apply for a provisional student visa at the closest Costa Rican embassy before leaving home.

Each of the three options has its advantages and disadvantages. A document will be sent to you when you apply to explain in depth the process.

 

It is important to note that you will either need to purchase a return ticket or a bus ticket to another country before flying into the country if you choose not to apply for a student visa.

Q:

What documents do I need to study abroad?

A:

If you choose not to apply for your student visa, only your passport!

If you decide to apply for a student visa you will need the following:

1. A birth certificate for each person applying

2. Police records check for ALL ADULTS 18 years or older from the states in which you have lived for the last two years, with an apostille.

3. IF ONLY ONE SPOUSE IS STUDYING, a Marriage Certificate.

Q:

What documentation should I submit with my application?

A:

Along with your application form, you will need to send proof of insurance, a photo of yourself, and a small down payment.

Q:

What is the Big Brother Program?

A:

The Big Brother program is available to new students entering the Regular Course to help them transition to Costa Rica as smoothly as possible.

Students volunteer to serve as Big Brothers and Sisters for incoming students and their families before their arrival to assist in secure housing, provide general information about their coming, make arrival arrangements for pick-up at the airport, and help the new student get oriented to life in Costa Rica. However, it is up to the new student to work closely with the Big Brother or Sister in providing pertinent information about arrivals and needs. It is important that the new student use one e-mail address and check their e-mail at least every two days.

Q:

Can I work during my studies abroad?

A:

If you are not a resident of Costa Rica or do not have a work visa you will not be able to work for pay. However, there are many opportunities to volunteer here at The Spanish Language Institute or with the many ministry connections we have in the area.

If you plan to stay a long time you can always acquire residency and or a work visa when the time comes. Once you have a job the work visa is relatively simple to get.

Q:

Do I need to test my Spanish level before coming?

A:

No, we will take of that process here! During orientation week we will conduct a placement test and divide the students according to their skill level and needs.

Q:

How do I get money from my bank while in Costa Rica?

A:

You can take out the local currency, Colones, or US Dollars using your own bank card at almost any ATM in Costa Rica. Some banks require you take out smaller sums but many, such as Banco BAC Credomatic, allow individuals to take out as much as $800 US Dollars at a time.

Q:

Can I use my credit or debit cards in Costa Rica?

A:

Fortunately, Costa Rica is very travel friendly and most credit & debit cards are accepted at any well-established business. Costa Rica is very accustomed to visitors from North America and, thus, is credit card ready.

If you have something other than Mastercard or Visa, you may want to double check with your company for any international fee information.

Q:

Where can my children go to school while I am studying at the institute?

A:

The Spanish Language Institute shares its campus with The Sojourn Academy and Rayitos, both bilingual Christian schools which, together, offer K-12 education and a summer camp program June-August.

Most of the families choosing to study with us send their children to one of the two schools, depending on age, and enjoy having the proximity to their children.

Q:

Who can I contact with my other questions?

A:

Please direct your various questions to admissions@thespanishinstitute.com for the fastest response.