“Yes, you will be taking four hours of Spanish daily” wasn’t the craziest thing I have ever heard, but it certainly fell into the top 10.
Back in the U.S., the average time of a class is 50 minutes, unless there is a combined lab and lecture -- which would entail a two-hour class, once a week.
Coming to Costa Rica, I was nervous about the language barrier. In my previous years I have taken one Spanish course in which I hardly made it out of. Because Costa Rica is a predominantly Spanish-speaking country, this made me eager to take courses on the language.
Veritas offers a test that rates your Spanish fluency. I tested into Basic Spanish 1, a course that helps students embrace a new language step by step.
With the professor only speaking Spanish and majority of the courses being “conversation-based,” this allowed much room for improvement to my fluency.
Transferring from a one-hour class to a four-hour one (with a 30-minute break) wasn’t as difficult as I expected. And, with the conversation-based nature of the courses, time does fly.
I enjoy my courses at Veritas because the professors encourage open-ended discussions and welcome students to come to class with an open mind. Back in the States, students sometimes only said a word or two during an hour-long class. Yet at Veritas, it is almost an obligation to take part in everyday class discussions, which is great for learning new perspectives and gaining awareness on different topics.
In addition to these courses being discussion-based, they also involve field trip opportunities.
Each course usually offers a weekend trip in which all the classmates (including the professor) get to take a van out for a hands-on activity for a whole weekend!
This is great for hands-on learners.
Sydney Stocksdale is the Fall 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in San Jose, Costa Rica, and is currently studying at University of Southern Indiana.