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Comments On: IPEE Spanish Language School, Costa Rica

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I couldn't ask for more

I really enjoyed my experience in Curridabat. I found your staff to be very helpful and friendly. I felt that they really tried
to tailor their approach to my particular needs. They were quick to correct my mistakes and to offer useful input. All three of the instructors I was involved were quite friendly and appeared to be really concerned with my improvement - I couldn't ask for more than that.

I was glad that I had chosen a school that was not in the heart of San Jose. Not that there was anything wrong with San Jose - I actually found it to be quite charming - but the it was too hectic for me to have
enjoyed spending my whole time there. I also enjoyed the commuting back and forth from Curridabat and the sites in the city; it gave me a chance to interact with the locals, both taxi drivers and passengers on the buses. I got lost one day (it seems that I got on the wrong bus) trying to get back to Curridabat. When the bus driver announced the ultima
parada, I realized that I, of course, had to get off the bus and I had no idea where I was. Pops was nowhere in sight. But, it gave me a chance to (forced me to?) interact with folks on the street to be able to
find my way back. I found them to be most helpful and it turned out to be a great adventure, except for the fact that it was raining like crazy and I was soaked by the time I got back in the vacinity of Plaza del Sol.

I really enjoyed the homestay experience also. I must say that it was a little unnerving at first to be in a strange country where I knew no one,(for all intents and purposes) didn't speak the language, and was in the home of a complete strange who spoke no English. Another adventure.Nonetheless, my hostess, Catalina Carazo, was most gracious. She was very talkative and, in a very charming way, forced me to converse with her, which was quite helpful to me. It helped to alleviate my anxiety about speaking to strangers in the city and on the buses, etc. She had a wonderful sense of humor and taught me a lot about Costa Rican culture,in particular, and the Hispanic culture in general.

I took a couple of gifts to Catalina from my native New Mexico, and bought another for her while I was in San Jose. However, after learning more about her tastes in music, I would like to pass along some music we
mutually enjoy.

Nuria and Roberto were very friendly and very, very helpful in terms of scheduling excursions and activities. All I had to do was let them know what I wanted to do and they set it up practically right on the spot.
Wow, I was impressed. Additionally, the tour operators/companies were very professional. They were prompt and friendly, and the activities were well worth the expense. It was nice to be able to count on Nuria and
Roberto to direct me to good tour operators, rather than having to search them out on my own.

I appreciated the Latin dance class, also, but I must say, that, after watching the locals dancing at El Tobogan, I realized I have a long way to go!!! I have since enrolled in Latin dance classes here in Alabama.

To summarize, my experience was well worth the time and money. So much so thatI am planning to make another trip in May of next year.

H.J. Gragg - Educator, Ph.D.
Tuscaloosa - US

I Thoroughly Enjoyed my T

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at IPEE. Guiselle is a jewel. I learned more from her
during my month there than I ever could have hoped. She anticipated exactly what I needed to work on. Alba is also a keeper. Such a sweet personality. And a perfect bridge between conversation class and grammar. She can do it all. Literally everyone was exceptional.

I picked IPEE strictly from your internet site. And that is very
atypical for me. My friends and coworkers were shocked I would make such an
important decision based solely upon a website! Your almost immediate
responses to my increasingly paranoid e-mails was also a comforting factor.
The slide show is a class act, and indeed made my arrival much more
comfortable. Andreas, the driver who picked me up at the airport, was
delightful. And stuck around even though my flight was 3 hours late!

My host family, Guillermo and Rita Guzman, were priceless!! They apparently don't need the money from hosting students. I suspect they just love meeting people from around the world, and want to be ambassadors for Costa Rica. And that they are. I think they probably LOST money with me staying there!! The food was exceptional -- their maid Lucia has to be one of the best cooks in the country!! And I ate a lot! Both Sundays I was in town, we went to the San Jose Indoor Tennis Club for brunch. At their expense. Very nice. The night I was originally scheduled to leave (I stayed an extra week) their extended family had a going-away party for me at their son's club -- a private club for agricultural professionals, the name of which I have forgotten. There were about 25 of us!!

I cherish the time I spent at IPEE, and the friendships I made there. IPEE is more than a language school. It is a life-altering experience. My memories are vivid. I kept a detailed journal the entire time I was there,
and relive the experience when I read it.

Sorry to take up so much of your time with this e-mail. But my time there was so special, once I get started talking about it, I can't stop!

Craig Bailey - Attorney
Tulsa - US
Email: PHILWIN -- at -- aol.com

I am quite impressed by the relaxed but yet professional manner by which each teacher taught. Both of them (Milagro and Nuria) indeed filled my expectations. I learned a tremendous amount in the short time I was here. There is definitely a sense of friendship amongst the students and everyone seems to find a few people to socialize with outside of the school. IPEE is a very friendly and professional place to learn Spanish.

?My house is very clean and in a nice area. I have no complaints whatsoever. Everything was much to my liking. A great family to live with.

Clarence Robichaud
New Brunswick, Canada - Canada

Since I am a Spanish instructor myself and did not undergo formal instruction, this evaluation is mostly based on my observation of classroom instruction by the lady professors Nuria, Milagro, and Lizzette. Above all I observed in all three of them that they are very good at eliminating the fear of speaking the target language (Spanish) and in generally lowering the level of pressure in the classroom. Additionally, the use of English is kept to an absolute minimum, it is restricted to a word here and there, so that it is actually justified to speak of a total immersion approach. Highly commendable is the integration of the various blocks of instruction and that a lot of emphasis is actually placed on speaking the language although structure is not neglected. There seems to be a good balance between both. Furthermore, there is excellent coordination among the faculty members and material introduced previously is constantly reinforced. It is noteworthy that practically all the classroom materials were created and/or written by the faculty, including the text. Thus they follow the same methodology which is conducive to achieving the best results in the shortest possible time. I am firmly convinced that a student at IPEE who applies himself, will achieve a great deal more in a much shorter period of time when compared to a typical university or college environment, particularly when it comes to speaking. It is simply astonishing what is accomplished with respect to speaking at IPEE.

Michael Garbe
Monterey, CA - USA

This School more than surpassed my expectation. Now I will have a very high standard for language schools in the future and hope also to return to San Jos?o study at IPEE. I like the friendliness of all the people working at IPEE, access to Email and extra activities inside and outside of the school. But more importantly I think the teachers do an effective job teaching that can be quite fun as well.

Mark Collins
San Diego, CA - USA

The instructors fulfilled much more than my expectations. The instruction was very professionally done, it was very knowledgeable and helpful in every way possible. Being a professional business person - the entire staff is superb!

Emilio Desideri
Marco Island, FL - USA

The school is terrific! I learned more in two weeks than I did in 2 years of high school Spanish. The instructors are excellent and provided many opportunities to have fun while learning difficult (for me!) material. My only complaint is that I can't stay here for two more weeks.

Mary Anne Havriluk
Tallahassee, FL - USA

This report is being submitted in lieu of the standard exit questionnaire in order to describe better my experience at IPEE. For starters, my experience was excellent. My three instructors excelled in all of the points covered in the questionnaire: punctuality, sense of humor, patience, self-assuredness, order, ability to explain items needing explanation, personal comportment, body language, use of the white-board, etc., etc. In truth, I don't think I could have asked for more. As an advanced student, I had a good idea of what I needed from my professors. And they delivered. But had my demands been out of the ordinary, I have no doubt that they would have made the necessary adjustment and delivered equally well. Considering the long-dormant nature of my existing Spanish, I feel I made great progress at IPEE. That progress was made so much easier by the friendliness and professionalism of my professors. Their detailed knowledge of Spanish was matched by their ability to explain it. If I failed to advance in any area, the fault was mine. The classes were fun and stimulating. The professors were top-notch. I would not hesitate to recommend the IPEE experience to anyone wishing to improve his or her Spanish.

Teddy Roe
Alexandria, VA - USA

I have attended one other school in San Jos?nd have visited others. IPEE is the best I've seen in materials, methods and instruction. I found a selection of schools to choose from through publications in libraries in the US. Wanting the best, I contacted the consulate of Costa Rica in Atlanta, which gave me a brief list of eight or so schools with contact information. I hope IPEE will find a way to get on that list for future potential
students. It deserves to be there.

Fred Greer
Mansfield, GA - USA

Nuria is an excellent teacher. I have learned a lot with her. She is very patient and has a lot of ability to explain things. She knows how to mix school and fun. I really enjoyed being in her class. I couldn't expect a better teacher. I have learned a lot of Spanish and also a lot about Costa Rican culture. I enjoyed the School a lot. Everybody is very friendly and the teachers help the students with their Spanish. There is a good environment in the School. I will recommend your school and professors to everybody I know.

Maryse Plante
Montreal, Canada - Canada

Hi Robert, I just returned to my office after three weeks in your outstanding language school in Costa Rica. Frankly, I cannot find words that are strong enough to express my appreciation for IPEE. During my three weeks at IPEE, in the six-hour-a-day intensive program, it was my good fortune to spend some class time with all three of your lead teachers. All of them are excellent. Your materials are excellent. Your facility is excellent. My only regret is that I could not stay three months instead of just three weeks. In particular, I must say a word about Lizette. I hold three advanced degrees from world-class universities. I have been through management training at IBM, and through leadership development training at what the Wall Street Journal calls the best training institution in the USA, if not the world (the Center for Creative Leadership). In all of my education and training, I have never experienced a better teacher than Lizette! Indeed, I can only think of two professors in my experience who even come close to being her equal. Lizette not only knows her material, she has what can only be described as a divine gift of communication. She is always alert to the unique needs of each student, and she can adjust her presentation to meet those needs instantly. If I can be sure of sitting in her classroom again, you can be sure that I will return to IPEE as soon as I can find the time and money. Now, in regard to that, I would like to propose a possible collaboration between IPEE and my institute. As you are no doubt aware, there is a fast growing Latino presence in many small and medium-sized East coast cities. Many of these cities provide no Spanish language services (health care, social services, etc.), and have little or no understanding of Latino culture. .................

Dr. Mark Sills - The Human Services Institute

Dear Robert,
Now we are all back in Texas and at work or in classes. Costa Rica is becoming history. What a wonderful time we had! I just had a student dropping in (Kim Pickens), beaming. She says she dreams in Spanish, she is talking to Hispanics all the time, she can't wait to get back to practice it in a place were it is spoken. She said she can't believe all of this, for she always had hated Spanish and never dared to use it. It changed my whole life, she proclaimed. Well you, Robert, have a lot to do with this, and I just want to express our thanks and appreciation and unconditional support for you and your school. You've got good teachers, well trained, hard-working, totally involved with and knowledgeable in all aspects of instruction, and above all: very pleasant, nice persons. To be in a classroom of only 5 students per teacher is a luxury our students have never had. Your teachers were always available for additional information and help. I have seen the teaching material, texts, tests, and I could see that the whole program was laid out carefully and pedagogically sound. All aspects of grammar were carefully explained and thoroughly practiced in a multitude of exercises, both oral and in writing. It was Spanish only, of course, and there was no end to their resources, it seems. Milagro, Nuria, Lizzette never got tired, either (or at least, did not show it). I know the transcripts are on the way (thank you, Juan Pedro!), and with all that, I have no qualms in transferring your credits to this university. The housing arrangements worked well. Students were placed into families near the school. We appreciate it very much that family members were encouraged to engage and maintain conversations with students over the dinner table and at other times. These sort of encounters are invaluable in coming to appreciate the culture. Thank you, Robert, for taking care of my own housing arrangements. The Valverde family have become very special friends to me. they treat their guest with exquisite attention.

Maria Bohm - Coordinator of Spanish
Tarleton State University




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