Your family provides laundry service and a weekly change
of bedclothes. You need to bring your own towels for the homestay.
(If you do not have a towel the Academy can lend you one).
Coming & Going
Your host family will give you a front door key to your
home and are free to come and go as you wish. (However, please make
sure to inform your host mother if you will be coming home late
at night or if you are going away for the weekend so she will not
Free Airport transportation is included withour homestay
program. When you arrive in Costa Rica our driver will meet you
at the airport (he will have a sign with your name on it). He will
take you to your homestay and introduce you to your host family.
There is no need for you to contact your host family before you
arrive. We will inform them of your arrival time so that they will
be expecting you.
YOUR NEW HOME
CRLA is located in a quiet, residential / commercial neighborhood
area very close to downtown San José and our homestays are located
in nearby residential neighborhoods. Most of the host families live
a short 15-20 minute bus ride from the Academy.
Our host families have clean, secure, comfortable homes. While you
may not find all the luxury of a hotel room, a homestay will give
you warmth and love that you will not find anywhere else. It will
also provide you with the opportunity to practice your Spanish as
much as you want!
HOST FAMILY SELECTION
Our homestay families are carefully
selected for their hospitality, friendliness and warmth. They all
offer clean lodging in safe neighborhoods.
The CRLA's homestay coordinators
visit each family and get to know them personally. We also ask students
to evaluate their homestay experience before they leave so we can
ensure that families are constantly providing students with a good
There are many different types of families (with or without children, married couples, single parents, young or older, etc.) We assign the homestay families according to the preferences the students select in their registration form.
Just let us know what type of family you would like and any
preferences you may have (pets, diet, smoking, etc.) and we
will make every effort to place you with the best family for
The most important quality we consider when choosing a host
family is that they are genuinely interested and excited about
hosting a foreign student. Even though the families receive
a fee for their service, it is important that the family is
not doing it just for the money but for the experience of
sharing their home and culture.
We look for opened-minded, friendly and outgoing families. Talkative,
warm and protective "mothers", friendly but respectful "fathers"
and friendly, well behaved children.
It is also important that the whole family be willing and open to
having a student in their home so that the student feels totally
welcome and at home.
First we have the families fill out an application form with all
their information: names, ages, pets, other family members who live
in the home, schedules, who spends more time at home, etc. We choose
the families that seem the most suitable, considering the family
composition, neighborhood, and access to public transportation.
Then we visit each one personally. We spend some time with the family,
try to meet each member, talk about their interests, their family
activities and their concerns about hosting a foreign student, and
explain about cultural differences and special situations that have
occurred in the past.
We also try to have as much information available as possible about
the student (age, interests, diet, personality, expectations about
living with a family, etc.) so we can tell the family in advance
and prepare them as much as possible for the student's arrival.
When the family is really looking forward to hosting a student, and the student is also friendly and considerate, things always work out and cultural differences are not a problem.
DURATION OF HOMESTAY
The Homestay extends until the end of the week (7 nights).
You can stay with a family for a minimum of one week or as long
as you would like. Many students begin their homestay on the Sunday
before they start classes and leave on a Saturday. But you may arrive
in Costa Rica and start or end the homestay on any day of the week.
Spanish classes can be taken 4 or 5 days a week but the homestay
is always for 7 nights per week.
Also, like most students, if you wish to extend your homestay and
stay with your family for a few days before or after your classes,
you may book those extra days and we'll arrange it.
Living with a Costa Rican family is a wonderful experience.
Sometimes it may take a little getting used to Costa Rican culture
and customs but, if for any reason you feel uncomfortable with your
homestay family please do not hesitate to let us know and we will
be glad to help.
We personally meet with each family and we also ask each student
about his homestay experience so that the families are evaluated
on a regular basis. However, because each student is different in
personality, tastes, habits, etc., each might have a different experience
with the same family. Also, at times, families can face different
situations (sickness, work issues, etc.) which might affect them.
Keeping all this in mind, if for any reason you do not feel completely
welcome or content with your family, please inform the Academy so
we can make the necessary changes or arrangements.
CLASSES WITHOUT HOMESTAY
If you are not interested in a Homestay program, we offer
you the flexibility of paying for your classes by the hour. You
may take any number of private classes or participate in our group
sessions. Students enrolled in our Spanish classes (without homestay)
also have our Latin Dance classes, Costa Rican Cooking Classes and
Conversation "hour" included in their program.
If you prefer accommodations other than our Homestay, we
can help you make arrangements to stay at a hotel or an apartment.
Prices and more information about alternative accommodations are
available upon request.