Santa Ana, Costa Rica
The following is a short list of testimonials and reviews that former and current students have shared with us. If you would like to contact a student of ours directly, please let us know. Our students are more than happy to help answer questions and chat with potential future Conversa alumni!
"Conversa is (simply put), the best educational and cultural experience that can be obtained with regard to Spanish language grammar and fluency. All teachers are proficient, not only in areas of Spanish fluency and grammar, but also they are gifted at imparting knowledge (i.e. the science of teaching). My experience at Conversa is beyond words. I spoke some Spanish before coming here, but after a month of intense and ongoing instruction, along with full immersion with regard to the language and culture, I consider myself fluent and fully confident in my Spanish language abilities. I am very grateful to Conversa, and recommend this program to anyone wishing to learn Spanish. I've acquired a skill I can utilize across professional and social milieu. I've also made some very good friends!!!"
"Conversa is an amazing place to immerse yourself in Spanish as well as the culture of Costa Rica. The support is outstanding and every person who works with you wants to see you learn and succeed. I felt very much at home here, and I don't want to leave! I am extremely blessed to have learned as much as I have in the past 6 weeks, and I am grateful for all the support Conversa has given me!"
"Conversa is my first study abroad but I feel it's certainly a unique program. The class size is excellent and really sets up an active learning environment. The focus on conversation helps students feel they could actually go out and speak to anyone in Costa Rica rather than only be able to fill in a grammatical blank (though this certainly has its place). The immersion in the culture becomes full swing when you return to your host family and converse like a true tica!"
"I am so thankful for my experience at Conversa and would recommend it to anyone looking to truly learn Spanish in a beautiful, supportive, immersive environment. The teachers are incredible people and educators, and the entire staff is invested in making your experience a successful one. The campus is beautiful and friendly, just like the people! I've loved my time here and am very sorry to leave."
"Conversa will give you more than the language you seek. They will provide you a lifetime experience. Keep practicing Spanish every day is their motto and being immersed gives you that advantage.
The family welcomed us with open arms and treated us like family. They showed us around and took us up the mountain for a spectacular view of the city. My son enjoyed their two sons and by the end of the week they were playing nonstop. Words cannot express the gratitude and love I feel for them. Such wonderful people. We will return! I have been blessed getting to know them."
"Overall, this is the best language learning experience I have had. The combination of Conversa online followed by the intensive immersion program worked very well to improve my language skills.
It's an excellent program. I enjoyed the intensive nature but without high pressure. Loved the small class size."
"Our family has been to other Spanish language schools and Conversa by far is the best, most organized and welcoming environment for learning. They are great with children and families and accommodate each one of us with the right curriculum!
The teacher for our kids was wonderful with the boys and very patient with them. The boys loved all the different interactive activities she did with them. She was very professional!"
"I spent 8 amazing weeks in Conversa. I came in knowing a basic level of Spanish. After 8 weeks it feels natural to speak in Spanish to native speakers! I recommend to anyone wanting to learn Spanish to come to Conversa. The staff is so supportive and they love to watch as each of their students improve daily. I would love to come back and continue improving my Spanish someday. The staff is great and I can't think of a better language immersion program."
"I have attended Conversa for two years in the Retirees Program. I was a bit apprehensive my first year since my college Spanish was extremely rusty but my fears were soon allayed. From the first moment I met Gata at the airport, everyone went out of his or her way to make my experience completely positive and enjoyable. One of the first things I noticed was how everyone, from the gardeners, kitchen staff, and guards at the gate, to the teachers and administrative staff, was obviously there to help me learn in a fun and constructive way. Classes are so small that there is ample opportunity for plenty of interaction and practice, and since you are placed with other students at the same level, there is no embarrassment. Outside of the classroom, the staff made a concerted effort to have activities that continued our language practice, interaction with everyone on campus, and learning about Costa Rican culture. Visits to a family-run coffee farm, downtown Santa Ana, and San Jose rounded out our schedule. I especially appreciated that my second year was not just a repeat of the first year's activities, but included new events. Conversa has a great campus so it feels like a school, not a building in a city. I stayed in La Casona, which was perfect for me. The accommodations are basic but clean and comfortable. Some of my friends stayed with families in town which provides a different experience. I am excitedly planning my third trip to Conversa for next year."
"Wow! From my first contact with Conversa to my last day of class, they have been 200% responsive to all questions and needs. Every part of the day is very intentionally and thoughtfully planned. There are so many nice touches that enhance living and learning here. The staff seems to work incredibly well as a team and they convey that. It is a happy peaceful environment in which to learn."
"I have known about Conversa for many years. I had in on my â€œto doâ€ list but never found time for it. Instead tried to improve my Spanish via books. However, in the five weeks that I have spent here at Conversa my Spanish ability has increased greatly. At this point I can engage in conversation with no fears and am able to have normal conversations with people on the street. I wish I would have come to Conversa 10 years ago!"
"Conversa is everything I wished for and more. Frankly speaking, I wish I had more time to spend here. As a result, I will be coming back. Anyone who is serious about learning Spanish in a short amount of time needs to visit this facility. From sign-up to airport pickup, to the food, the fresh environment, ugh!!! So much to talk about in so little space. Love you all!!!!"
"It had been 14 years since I studied Spanish in college & I thought I had forgotten [just about] everything. I enrolled in a four week Spanish course at Conversa after returning from a long Middle-East deployment with the Marine Corps. The staff at Conversa assessed my strengths and weaknesses, and paired me with students at the same level. After four weeks, most of the knowledge had returned & my conversational ability was BETTER than it was in college.
Classes were intense and challenging, but enjoyable. I had four different instructors--all exceptionalâ€”and I can't say enough about them. They all have good senses of humor & are light hearted, BUT they know how to challenge and get the most out of you. Three of them are still there (I remember now that one was a guest instructor). Classes are very small so it's "your turn" all the time. It's the only way to go.
If you want to learn as much Spanish as you can in the shortest time possible, I would recommend going to Conversa; living with a host family; and maybe brushing up before you go."
"While I attended Conversa, the beautiful country and the people of Costa Rica weren't the only great thing that I got from the month that I was there. I was able to make friends with my classmates from all around the U.S. and of course, better my Spanish. Everyday was a lesson either inside or outside of the classroom. The teachers and the staff were amazingly kind people who you can tell, really enjoyed their job. I hope one day I will be able to return even if its just to say, hi.
Thank you Conversa for the experience and congratulations on 35 years and I hope there are many more years to come."
"I have known and respected the professional team at Conversa for over twenty years. For the last four I have taken New York University social work students (over 20 each year) to study there. My goal is to create Spanish-speaking and Latino-sensitive social workers. By the end of the first week at Conversa, students are amazed that they are making sentences. By the end of the third week, they are speaking with fluidity and have a good grasp of the culture. I'm not surprised. Conversa's immersion program is based on sound pedagogical theory and is headed up by a scholar in linguistics. The teachers are not folks who just happen to be bilingual. No! They are trained educators who are able to individualize the course content for each student's level and my groups' particular subject needs. I can't wait to go back with my next group in August 2010!"
"We have attended Conversa five or 6 times since 2001 for either four or eight weeks each time with about half at each of the two locations. While there are differences between the two, we found the instruction to be excellent and the supporting activities first rate at both. What was probably our most relaxing and vacation like experience was at the school in Santa Ana where we stayed in the Casona. Our fellow students were congenial and interesting companions. We still recall with great fondness sitting on the balcony of the Casona â€œbringing inâ€ the air traffic at the airport which was easily seen from the balcony. One of our companions had a radio that received the appropriate conversations with the tower so we were â€œactiveâ€ participants in operation of the airport. It was a delight living within a two minute walk of our classes and having someone else doing all of the cooking and cleaning. On top of the good food, excellent instruction, and proximity to classes, the weather is about as good as you can ask for when you want to escape the freezing temperatures and snow in the north. Give it a try! You won't regret it."
"Conversa was an amazing experience, albeit hard at first as I, a plucky Brit pitched up in low and rainy season. This was however my fault as I had wasted too much time in more commercialized Locations (Madrid & Marbella) where my Spanish did not progress as fast as I wanted. Therefore, my timing in Santa Ana was a blessing in disguise as there was a 1 on 1 teacher/student ratio. Saying this, I am sure if these ratios were more diluted, the teaching and learning at Conversa still would have been the best. Reason being is that it was simply pure raw local Spanish. Saying this and most importantly the teachers still knew what the equivalent English Literature "situations" (I call it the "Maths" of a language!) were which made understanding quicker.
On an experience point of view, I'll always remember my host family and how everything was done to make me feel welcome. In my last week at the school I thought long and hard about a gift I could get for my host family as a thank you to them. I wanted to get something that would be truly useful and after seeing my host Mum start the day by hand pressing over 50 oranges for fresh juice for the day I thought that an electric powered orange squeezer would be the perfect gift and cut down the arduous job by at least 30 mins a day... Oh... what a mistake... it did do the job, but for my last 5 days I was woken up at 5.30am by the constant grinding of my mechanical gift. I sincerely apologize to the student who was to stay with this family after me!!!
"I attended Conversa's program in Costa Rica in 2007, and have been a student with the on-line program since its inception in 2008. I highly recommend both programs, and can say without reservation that Conversa's value proposition is extraordinary. As to the on-line program in particular, I can't imagine a better, easier or cost effective way to learn. I am able to maintain the routine of having a private lesson with a teacher in Costa Rica on a daily/weekly basis. The personal attention is exceptional, the staff is terrific and the schedule is completely flexible. In addition, Conversa's on-line resources and additional benefits (e.g., weekly lectures) are extremely helpful, and the technology could not be easier to use. I have three advanced degrees and am a firm believer in education. Conversa has been an invaluable learning experience for me, and I look forward to working with them going forward.
"First of all I would like to wish Conversa a happy 35th anniversary and say keep up the good work. The time I spent at Conversa as a student ranks as one of the most pleasurable experiences in my life to date. Not only did I find the course enjoyable but academically sound and it provided me with a strong enough foundation to return to the University of Toronto (Canada) and obtain a Degree in Spanish which, by the way, earned me a Citation for Languages of which I am very proud. I also salute the teachers and staff who I found to be very patient, professional and always open and willing to assist in matters both in and out of school. On a more personal level, as a single woman coming to Costa Rica not knowing anybody, I have to commend Conversa for looking after my well being and arranging for me to live with a very warm and welcoming family not to mention also making me feel as an important part of the Conversa family. I could not have made a better choice of school or country to improve my Spanish!!"
"I recommend studying at Conversa. I stayed on campus and had the most beautiful view from my room of the entire valley below us. The â€˜dorms' also had a fabulous kitchen, dining area and study area and upstairs there was another study area with a wonderful balcony. The meals were delicious and the on campus stay included breakfast and dinner. The school also gave us a snack and lunch during the day. The teachers and instruction were first class and instructors are rotated each week so you do not get used to any one accent. There are also special â€˜help' classes in the afternoon if you wish to review grammatical constructs or verb conjugations. Each weekend, we had a special trip planned that was the highlight on the stay for me. One weekend we went to the volcano at Arenal, another to the beaches at Tamarindo and another to Manual Antonio national park. Each trip was unique and fabulous. I loved my month in Costa Rica!"
My name is Brent Young and I attended Conversa in July and August of 2008, and I have to say it was an experience of a lifetime. Studying and learning about the Costa Rican culture was an awesome experience. When I got to Conversa my Spanish was not so great but by the end of my 4 and a half week stay, I was surprisingly speaking good Spanish. I was able to get directions and find my way around town, find the local grocery and go on weekend excursions with much ease. The people there are extremely kind. If I could do it again I would stay for at least 2 months. I will return one day to visit the friends I made and to relive the surreal serenity of the beautiful Costa Rica. Hola Pechuga!!"
"My experience with Conversa began with three weeks at the Santa Ana campus in December 2008 where I was impressed with the beauty of the campus, the delicious food, the weekend adventures â€“ but, most of all and most importantly, I was impressed with the quality and dedication of the Conversa instructors and the conversational approach to learning the language, combined with rigorous instruction in verb tenses, grammar, usage and much more. At the end of the three weeks, I certainly was not fluent, but I had made significant progress, far more than my earlier attempts to learn Spanish. Upon my return from Costa Rica, I immediately enrolled in Conversa's on-line, one-on-one Spanish classes and have attended these classes at least weekly for more than a year, along with the lectures, on-line exercises and other on-line tools offered to Conversa's on-line students. Conversa has worked for me â€“ small group and one-on-one instruction; feedback from and interaction with qualified instructors; a proven method for teaching Spanish that incorporates a variety of teaching and learning tools and that is tailored to the level, needs and interests of the individual student."
I have been teaching high school Spanish for over thirty years, and I believe strongly in authentic learning experiences for my students. A decade ago, I began to take them to Conversa, and I have never regretted the decision. Not only do students have the time of their life immersing themselves in the manifold natural wonders of Costa Rica; they also have the advantage of attending an excellent language school with trained teachers, living with families and practicing their Spanish "at home" as well as in class. The administrative staff at Conversa is the best I have seen in my travels to Costa Rica and other Central American countries. At some schools, you pay your money and are left to your devices if things don't work out with a family. At Conversa, this is never the case. The "TLC" is so responsible and reliable, that I have, on a couple of occasions, sent more mature students down on their own to study.
It is with great pleasure that my Samford students, colleagues and I send this word of congratulations to our dear friends at Centro LinguÃstico Conversa on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of its founding. For the past 20 of these years, we have been privileged to study Spanish there with you on your beautiful mountainside campus - that magnificent setting we all fall in love with at first sight. Our home stays with families in Santa Ana have been our home away from home, and our daily classes -- intensive, interactive, and entertaining - have taught us well and inspired us to deepen our understanding of both language and culture. Thanks to the skill, insight and professionalism of all the Conversa staff, we are nurtured throughout the learning process, with grammar instruction blended with conversation and students in constant contact with the language through a wide range of personal contacts with local people in the course of each day.
"I first discovered Conversa while a graduate student in social work. I wanted to learn Spanish via immersion and travel in a foreign country. Costa Rica proved to be accessible and beautiful. Conversa proved to be the best choice in terms of learning. The teachers were friendly, warm, and supportive. I was shocked to realize each day I'd spent HOURS speaking Spanish...even as a beginner. My host family was generous, kind, and patient. I found myself speaking Spanish after school and into the night with my Mama Tica. My successes boosted my self-esteem and I began to believe that becoming bilingual was within reach! 12 years after my first experience at Conversa I was fortunate to return as a social work educator. I was excited to accompany a group of graduate students and walk with them through the same experience I'd had years before.
"I have attended one other Spanish immersion program (in Mexico) and Ann has attended three others (two different schools in Mexico and one in Guatemala). Those experiences were great and each of us would return to the schools we attended without reservation. We have both concluded, however, that Conversa offers the best complete package (teachers, method, materials, and facilities).
Ann and I were able to observe four different teachers in the course of two weeks. In addition, I have had experience with two more of your teachers through my online classes. I think one of Conversa's strongest selling points is the "bench strength" of its teaching staff. It's not just that they are native speakers, have many years of experience teaching Spanish, and are well-grounded in rules of grammar and construction. Just as important, they have many years of experience teaching together at your school and implementing your approach to language learning. That offers an element of quality that neither Ann nor I have seen in other schools.
"I came to Conversa for the first time in 2006, hoping to spend two weeks brushing up my rusty high school Spanish. I'm a practical guy and I figured this would be a very practical thing to do. There's lots of occasions where Spanish can come in handy and I wanted that tool in my tool belt!
What I didn't expect was that at Conversa, Spanish would change from being an academic subject to being a second language. While I was there we studied lots of grammar and vocabulary, to be sure. But it was also where I learned for the first time to really communicate in a language that wasn't my own. Somehow, with no English involved, I had real exchanges with people in their native language and I ended up leaving with close friendships that will last a lifetime.
"Seeking an efficient way to improve my very basic Spanish, I looked for an immersion program in a safe and friendly Latin American country. Choosing Costa Rica as my destination was easy, but finding an excellent school to meet my needs, was not a simple task. After a thorough and very careful search, I came upon the Conversa website. I was impressed by the school's approach to their immersion program and the friendly way with which they responded to my questions. I decided to take a chance.
It takes some courage to travel to the â€œunknownâ€, but Conversa made it easy. A staff member waited for me at the airport, ready to deliver me to the host family in Santa Ana, thus removing the first concern I had. As my two week stay was unfolding, it became evident, that the care and attention to the student's comfort and needs were a priority for the school.
I have had a long standing relationship with Conversa, as a professional and a student. As an Assistant Director of a Study Abroad Office, I thought that I should study abroad and actually experience what I was trying to encourage students to do. I had the total experience â€“ staying with a family, white water rafting, riding a horse to the volcano, breaking my foot, going to the hospital, going on as many trips to the beach and to see the country as possible, and in spite of all this, I even learned Spanish! The teachers were very patient with me and because of their methodology, I knew that this would be an excellent program to send students. I loved the Santa Ana campus, the mountaintop is glorious, all the Ticos, and the devotion of the staff and faculty was amazing. Conversa is my choice of a Spanish language learning center and I have recruited numerous students who have had an awesome cultural and academic experience."
"If you are seriously interested in learning Spanish I highly recommend that you enroll in the program that Conversa offers. I can confidently make this recommendation as I was enrolled with Conversa in the summer of 2006, went back the summer of 2007 and again returned to Conversa in the summer of 2008! On every visit I enhanced my Spanish learning and also my knowledge of Costa Rica (which happens to now be one of my favorite places to visit). The Teachers are knowledgeable, patient and show a genuine love for what they are doing. The Administrators do a great job of choosing the host families and every host family that I have stayed with have been nothing short of treating me as if I was a part of their family. If you allow yourself to take advantage of everything that Conversa and Costa Rica has to offer, I promise you, that you will soak up the Spanish language and culture and enjoy them both..."
"Like most students studying in Texas, I was required to take Spanish courses at my university. After a friend pointed out to me that I could probably study Spanish abroad at Centro LingÃ¼Ãstico Conversa less expensively than paying tuition at my own school, I couldn't resist the temptation to have a travel and study abroad experience. Little did I know at the time how life changing that experience would becomeâ€¦I stayed in Costa Rica for about 5 years.
Conversa was the foundation for my experience in Costa Rica where I grew and matured, and which led me directly to my career and passions of today. Spanish opened a gateway into many new cultures; which broadened my perspective on life and all its different dynamics.
Conversa staff and teachers not only provided exceptional language training in an informal and comfortable environment, but also encouraged students to be active in Tico culture and society. Whether it was dancing at Rancho de Macho, a trip to Arenal, or an adventure to the beach in Guanacaste, staff always encouraged and helped put students into environments where they would need to use their Spanish in practical situations (Thank you Gata!). Conversa also enriches and influences its local community of Santa Ana by fostering a cultural bridge between its residents and individuals from around the world.
"On behalf of my colleagues in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Elmhurst College, I send our very best wishes to Dave and Andy Kaufman, and the faculty and staff of Centro LingÃ¼Ãstico Conversa as they celebrate their thirty-fifth anniversary.
Elmhurst College students have studied Spanish at Conversa since 1998 and have benefitted from excellent instruction in a beautiful setting in the mountains near Santa Ana, Costa Rica. The small classes, the responsive, cooperative staff, and the continuity of leadership have resulted in consistently high quality during that time period. We look forward to a continuation of this positive relationship between Elmhurst College and Centro LingÃ¼Ãstico Conversa for many years to come.
"I think it was in the summer of 2003 that I was fortunate enough to attend a 6 week Spanish learning session at Conversa. Conversa was my choice of schools as it had been highly recommended to me as the best Spanish learning institution in Costa Rica. My experience at Conversa was all that I hoped for and more.
The school has a strong student focus and a great deal of effort is invested in designing the best Spanish learning program. The school atmosphere is intimate and friendly. The instructors are first class and really concentrate on their students learning. I had always liked Spanish so my learning experience was very positive. The strong start I received at Conversa encouraged me to pursue a Spanish degree at the University of North Florida. Now, I need 3 more courses to complete my masters in Spanish.
My positive experience at Conversa encouraged me to send my son to a session at Conversa. My son (attorney by degree) just became a Federal Agent and as part of his training was given a 3 month concentrated course in Spanish. Needless to say, his work at Conversa gave him a head start with the government Spanish program and he completed the program in record time with good grades.
I am an older student (senior citizen) and was fortunate to become good friends with the owner of Conversa, David Kaufman. Fortunately, Mr. Kaufman was an avid tennis player as am I. I was able to play tennis on a regular basis with my new friend. Also, I was honored to be a guest in Mr. Kaufman's home on several occasions.
"Oh boy, how time passes!
Don and I attended Conversa classes when the farm was still just one house and a few out buildings. We had classes outside under shade trees and it was wonderful. Every day we learned our verbs & sentences and then we went home to Dona Yeya (bless her soul) to practice. She wouldn't let us speak English and patiently corrected our errors. Our home stay was great. The Spanish I learned carried me through the next year when I worked for the Costa Rican government as a consultant for USAID. Two years later I returned to Costa Rica on a sabbatical for research with a friend, an ex Peace Corps volunteer who was fluent. Once again, my Spanish from Conversa enabled me to "swim" rather than "sink" as we interviewed research subjects.
We were so impressed with the value and efficiency of your teaching methods that we talked about it long after we returned home. When our son graduated from the University of California at Berkeley he asked that we send him to Conversa as a graduation present. We did, and he has kept up with his language ability in his job in Europe."
"As Language Link, a Spanish language school agency for over 20 years and representing 24 schools, I had long been aware of the stellar reputation of Conversa of Costa Rica. I specifically sought them out when I was looking for a program for teens. From our first meeting I was impressed with the professionalism, the obvious personal interest in each student, and their beautiful facilities. And the Kaufman father and son team were simply very nice people!
Now that we have worked together for several years, our experience has deepened. Especially the campus in Santa Ana has been a perfect place to recommend for executives, high school groups, and entire familiesâ€¦as well as individual students. We have never received an evaluation which was not highly positive.
All our administrative dealings with Conversa have been efficient, responsive, detailed and very professional. They are a valued partner in offering Spanish immersion experiences of exceptional high quality. It is our sincere pleasure to work with them."
"After three years with the help of some wonderful teachers and consistent work, I have become reasonably fluent in Spanish! When I get stuck in a blind ally and can't find la palabra justa I can work my way to a paraphrase without loosing my drift. This is very gratifying, fun and exciting. It has opened the door for me to a vibrant and dynamic culture, and I use my Spanish whenever possible at work and with Spanish speaking friends.
Although I did have a background in French and have always been a lover of language, starting Spanish was a thing in itself. I would say a facility with language helps but I did not find that knowing French particularly helped me to learn Spanish. This is because the Spanish language has its own special rules, particularities and issues.
After one semester of Adult Ed Spanish, I was so energized to learn more and so impatient with the slow pace of the class, that I started to research how I might speed up the learning curve. That is how I came to Conversa, upon the recommendation of a costarricense, the mother of a friend of my son's. My first exposure was intense: I came for three weeks that first time, which is the longest I had ever been away from my husband since getting married 26 years before that. That was probably the most frustrating period of my Spanish learning. I wanted to communicate so much, but simply could not. French words and constructions kept flooding into my mind because I did not yet have a basis in Spanish.
"First of all, let me congratulate Conversa on their 35th anniversary. Secondly, let me introduce myself; my name is Larry Marshall, and I'm a long time student and friend of Conversa. As a matter of fact I am delighted to be on the campus in Santa Ana at this writing. My history with Conversa goes back to August 13, 1996 when I attended my first Spanish class at Conversa. I was so impressed with the effective methods of instruction that I returned many, many times in the subsequent years.
In order to last thirty-five years, Conversa has to be doing something right. Student services are excellent. What a relief for the first time student to be met at the airport and taken directly to the homestay to be personally introduced to the host family who has experience in attending foreign students. Classes are very small with personal attention to each student's needs. Meals are served on the campus. Wednesday lectures with all levels present are helpful. It's a thrill just to be among the beauty of nature on that mountain in Santa Ana.
My experiences were so positive that I trusted Conversa with my own students from home. The last few years of my own career I brought students from Belton High School back in Missouri to study during Semana Santa. One of those students later returned to Costa Rica for his wedding and honeymoon. I can surely recommend and endorse Conversa to persons of any age and any level of Spanish. Their faculty and staff are trained, efficient, and friendly. The campus is beautiful with a panoramic view of the Central Valley. The student services and amenities are all very thoughtful.