Common Ground International Impacts Communities Through Language - Learn Spanish - Learn English - Spanish Immersion Trips - Translation

High & Middle School Immersion Trip

Rated 4.98 out of 5 based on 42 customer ratings
(42 customer reviews)

Reserve your spot (register) and make immersion trip payments here!

Summer ’19 High School Immersion:  2-week trip: 6/27 – 7/11, 3-week trip: 6/27 – 7/18, 4-week trip: 6/27 – 7/24

Summer ’19 8th grade Trip: 6/6/19 – 6/16/19

Summer ’19 Cardinal Gibbons Spanish Immersion: 6/5/19 – 6/19/19 (+/- 1 or 2 days on start or end)

Register for your program here!

Registration process is as follows:

  1. Pay your deposit to reserve your place!
  2. Once you make your deposit, you will receive a welcome email with links to the full registration form.
  3. Fill out the full registration form where we collect your passport information, emergency contact information, medical / dietary information and more!
  4. Send in your pre-departure paperwork
  5. Have questions, call us today!  Or email Leslie Foster

Bookmark this page for remaining payments. After your initial deposit, please select the Remaining Balance Payment* option and enter a specified amount for your remaining payments.



*As detailed in the terms and conditions, program payments are non-refundable. A portion of your payment may be transferable to a future program. Please contact CGI program leaders ASAP if you anticipate a change in your travel plans to discuss your options.


SKU: HSImmersion

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42 reviews for High & Middle School Immersion Trip

Annika Jackson
Rated 5 out of 5

I was a part of the four week high school immersion trip, and it was amazing! I went on the trip to improve my Spanish, and it truly helped me to become more comfortable speaking, although I still make errors. The classes we took also helped me to learn about verbs. With the four-week program, I felt there was a good balance between excursions and living in Santo Domingo, but if I had left after only two weeks, I would not have felt this way. My two favorite parts of the trip were staying with my host family, and La Iguana Chocolate farm. The farm was an awesome immersion into rural life, although I did appreciate the return to technology afterwards. My family was really welcoming, and I was clearly not the first student they had housed. Overall, I loved the experience, and would highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to improve their Spanish, as long as they have a starting knowledge for basic communication.

Nora Batko
Rated 5 out of 5

CGI is amazing! I would highly recommend this trip for anyone who either has a passion for Spanish, languages, Latin American culture, or just travel! No matter your Spanish ability, this trip will immerse you in the language and improve your everything about your Spanish. After only a week I was beginning to think in Spanish first and second in English! I learned so much in Spanish classes and had so much fun on excursions. The host families are incredibly kind and welcoming and they really help you feel at home. Leslie was great the whole time, answering questions prior to the trip, laying out all the travel logistics and details, and caring about every individual participant. This was an unforgettable experience and made my summer the best ever! To savor the memories I made a short music video to the trip, if anyone is curious and wants to see exactly what kinds of things we did!

Ann Batko
Rated 5 out of 5

My 17-year-old daughter participated in the 4-week Spanish immersion trip with Common Ground this summer (2018) and had a terrific experience. I was a bit nervous about it at first, because CGI was not among the organizations our school had worked with to send students on trips, and I basically found it through an online search. But every step of the way, from when we first made inquiries through the return travel communications, Leslie Foster and her team showed they are so organized, thoughtful, and dedicated to the students' success that it was very reassuring. The pre-departure information, the communications to parents and students, the attention to detail--everything was just awesome.

I also think the program elements themselves were really well thought out and balanced. It was such a great blend of academics, service work, adventure, and cultural immersion. My daughter made great new friends, came home with a big increase in Spanish fluency and a lasting appreciation of Costa Rican culture. Kudos to CGI for such a fabulous program! I would definitely recommend it to others.

Ken Laughlin
Rated 5 out of 5

Our daughter did the 3 week Spanish Immersion trip. It was an extraordinary experience for her on all counts, including the culture, the adventures, the new friends she met, and the improvement in her Spanish. The host family was extremely welcoming, and the neighborhood friends she met were wonderful. Kudos to the trip organizers Leslie and Rory for their extraordinary vision about making this kind of an experience possible, and to the trip leaders Kelsey, Meghan and Lindsay who made it all happen in a delightful way. Their commitment to making it a true immersion program made it as rewarding as it was fun. I would highly recommend this program to anybody looking forward to a challenging, amazing experience.

Rated 5 out of 5

I researched three language immersion programs in Costa Rica and interviewed reps from each. I felt that CGI had designed each of the components of the program most carefully and thoughtfully, including language instruction, host family stays, meaningful community service, activities and adventure travel. My 17 year old son found the four-week trip offered just the right mix of independence and support, language learning and travel, time with locals and time with other students. My wife and I especially appreciated how Leslie and her trip leaders kept us informed about the group's activities through almost daily social media messaging. And we were grateful that they picked up our son's bag when his airline re-routed his flight and loaned him a cell phone when his died -- things that made his first major trip without us go smoothly. He came back confident in his ability to navigate new places and cultures, speaking much-improved Spanish, and full of appreciation for the opportunity to experience Costa Rica. Many, many thanks to Leslie and her trip leaders.

Shirley McWilliams
Rated 5 out of 5

Full immersion into a foreign culture and language is the best way to experience and learn it. This is something I have always wanted for my children and Common Ground International (CGI) delivered above and beyond. I am bilingual and I would love for my children to become as well. I see the importance of it and to be honest, it is not easy to get my children to practice with me and that is why I searched for this.

My 15 year old daughter went with the Summer 2018 High School Immersion Program from CGI for 3 weeks. As any parent should be, I was hesitant to send my child abroad. Leslie from CGI has been amazing even from the first inquiries. I felt completely comfortable with having my daughter travel with the adult leaders and other high schoolers. I honestly didn’t worry because the communication via, texts, WhatsApp, emails and calls was more than I could have imagined. I loved that everyone was keeping all of the parents informed nearly daily with updates and pictures of the kids having fun and learning. If we needed to get ahold of anyone, they responded almost immediately. The leaders keep close tabs on the students at all times.

CGI does a lot to prepare the students and parents. There are several things to learn, review, and do to prepare for the trip. CGI will remind you of what to do and which videos to watch and there are video conferences with the leaders and students so they can all meet a couple of times via the computer before meeting in person.

My daughter gained valuable knowledge and experience while with the group and host family. My daughter had her 16th birthday while in Costa Rica and said she enjoyed her special day and has great memories of her trip. My daughter who is generally reserved and quiet. loved the time spent with her host family as well as the excursions, dance and cooking classes, volunteer time, interacting with Costa Rican high schoolers and elementary school students as well as the time spent with her new friends. She returned with a valuable new perspective on life. She said the time learning was difficult but it forced her to understand and speak Spanish to a greater level than before and appreciate it.

I think Leslie and CGI are doing a great job preparing parents and students for this program Their support and guidance as very much appreciated. I didn’t know where to start when I began looking for a Spanish Immersion program for my daughter, but I found a truly great one! I am hoping to send my son in a couple of years. Thank you!

Joy Fitch
Rated 5 out of 5

My 18 year old nephew recently returned from the High School Spanish immersion trip to Costa Rica (Summer 2018) with Common Ground International. He had an amazing experience despite his apprehension about living with a host family and concerns about communicating primarily in Spanish. The preparation videos, materials, and meetings were really great, and gave both my nephew and I valuable information about the trip and the culture. The pre-departure guidelines really prepare you for what to do and what to expect from the trip. The trip leaders gave regular and fun updates including pictures and videos from the trip. Common Group International is a very professional organization, with leadership that are obviously very passionate about their program. The program is structured to give the kids safe exposure to a new culture, and language learning opportunities they won't find in the States. I would highly recommend this program to anyone considering a Spanish immersion trip.

Natalie Studer
Rated 5 out of 5

My 14 (almost 15) year old son just returned from the 2 week immersion program with CGI (summer 2018), and I couldn't be any more pleased with this program, from initial inquiry through final flight boarding back to the States. The preparation is THOROUGH, and requires the student to go through some self-reflection while learning about what they might expect during their experience. My own son (who will enter 9th grade this coming school year) had a taste of working with older students in small groups to plan their teaching experiences for the summer camp, and enjoyed meeting high school students from across the US as a peer for the first time. Leslie, Megan, and Kelsey were superb communicators for parents back home, and I was completely confident in their management of the group, and care for my son, who came back to us wishing to "habla solamente en Espanol" with us so he could keep up his new trajectory of confidence with spoken Spanish. Signing my son up for this program makes it onto my personal Top 10 List of Good Parenting Moves I've made (and that's in his lifetime, folks!).

Gabriel Studer-Randall
Rated 5 out of 5

I just came back from the 2 week immersion trip with Common Ground. I had an amazing time and wish that I had decided to stay for for 3 weeks or 4 weeks. My host family was great, they were super nice and made sure that I was comfortable the entire time I was staying with them. I would love to see them again sometime. I improved on my Spanish, and I was inspired to become a better more fluent speaker. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who wants to not only learn more Spanish, but also experience another culture. And make sure to sign up for the surfing class, it was really fun:)

Annabelle Laughlin
Rated 5 out of 5

I just returned from the 3 week program with CGI. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I made so many amazing connections with the people I met there: my amazing host family, my Spanish teacher, the trip leaders, my “neighbors”, other students on the trip, and the kids of Lapa Verde and Kamuk. Having the host family experience in a less touristy area was so instrumental to my goal of learning and practicing Spanish. My time in Costa Rica has really inspired me to continue speaking and learning Spanish when I go to college. This trip was amazing and I learned so much and I would recommend it to everyone.

Drew Putt
Rated 5 out of 5

My son returned from a 2 week immersion trip to Costa Rica. He had a blast and is completely fluent. He fell in love with his host family and we plan to host them in our home in Atlanta. I was 100% confident about his safety and well-being - Leslie has covered all of the bases, even trip insurance.

Susan Pierson
Rated 5 out of 5

My daughter just returned from a 3 week high school immersion trip and she had the most wonderful experience. She loved her host family, her teachers, the excursions, the service learning, the other kids, and Costa Rican food. She said she was teary saying goodbye to the group yesterday. I can’t thank Leslie and her staff enough.

Rated 5 out of 5

My 8th grade son, who was somewhat reluctant to go on the Spanish Immersion trip, just returned yesterday from his most amazing adventure! He walked off the plane with a smile on his face and wonderful stories to tell. Leslie far surpassed my expectations with her professionalism and ability to manage kids of different ages, backgrounds, and language abilities. Her team also did a great job communicating with the parents, giving us updates on travel logistics as well as how they were doing once they arrived in Costa Rica. The high point of the trip for my son was the zip lining excursion so be sure to take advantage of the optional outings. Staying the the host family was my biggest concern but he said that was when he really had to "crunch his brain" and communicate in Spanish. He says he actually started thinking in the language which is my definition of a successful language immersion experience. I feel like he can start high school Spanish in the fall with a lot more confidence than if he hadn't gone on this trip. Thank you to Leslie and all who made the experience a really enriching one for my son.

Myndi Rohweder
Rated 5 out of 5

Our son just returned from a 10 day trip to Costa Rica with CGI. It was his second trip to Costs Rica, but his first experience without parents and in an immersion program. It was an amazing experience! The program is incredibly thought out and organized! It was a great balance between adventure and exploration with language learning and cultural awareness. We would love to have him go again and will definitely send our other children with CGI in the future! Thank you to Leslie and CGI for all the preparation and experience that goes into these trips. Your passion for both your students and the people of Costa Rica shines through and provides an incredible experience!

Mary L Broughton
Rated 5 out of 5

My 14-year-old son participated in the 10-day Spanish immersion program to Costa Rica through Common Ground. It was his second time in Central America but first time with a host family. He came back with wonderful experiences to share. He met new friends in the school they attended while living with a host family. They surfed, zip lined, cooked, danced, hiked, saw volcanoes, waterfalls and made new friends on this trip. This was a lifetime experience and would love for my son to do it again. I feel extremely confident in his experience and know that he would do it again in a skinny minute. Thank you Leslie Foster for giving Owen the opportunity to think outside the box and become part of another culture. He wants to do another trip!!!

Amy Milslagle
Rated 4 out of 5

My 13 year old daughter did an 11 day program with Common Ground, in conjunction with her 8th grade class from middle school. Overall, it was a fantastic experience for her! She was hesitant to leave her parents for that many days, but came back saying "I didn't want to leave Costa Rica"! The trip was run flawlessly. There was a small hiccup with the host family. My daughter was uncomfortable, but Leslie from CG handled the situation the very next day and placed her with a new family that she adored! I was so grateful for the way the situation was handled, it really put me at ease. My only suggestion would be to make sure to visit all host families yearly to ensure similar problems do not occur for others. Other than that, I could not recommend this program highly enough. My daughter will likely do it again!

Ashley Milslagle
Rated 5 out of 5

I participated in the 10 day high school immersion trip, and had the best time! This trip made my summer. I used my spanish a lot when staying with my host family, and I can tell how much it has improved. Spending time at Manuel Antonio and Volcano Arenal was amazing! I got to spend time with my old friends and made some new friends as well. This trip not only helped me learn spanish, but it made me understand the different cultures, and I’m so glad I got to experience that at such an early age (13). When it was time to go back home, I never wanted to leave.

Emily G
Rated 5 out of 5

Our 14 year old son spent an amazing 10 days under the care and supervision of CGI. The trip was executed flawlessly from my perspective. Our son came back with so many stories to share about the interesting things he saw and did. I know he appreciated the chance to practice his Spanish and build the confidence he needed to continue learning the language. Living with his host family was the highlight of the trip.

Rita Littrell
Rated 5 out of 5

As a former educator, I would like to say that I was extremely impressed with the 4 week Spanish Immersion program in Costa Rica. The staff were awesome! They kept us updated and made sure we had critical information about flights and happenings in the country. They were professional and well organized. The host families were very nice and welcoming to the students. The experiences varied so there was something everyone really enjoyed. Upon completion of the program and after three years of Spanish in high school (8th, 9th and 10th grades) our son scored high enough to take the third level of Spanish in college. This meant he skips two levels and gets credit for them. He had completed his senior year in high school. We would have liked for him to do this a year or two earlier, but he had conflicting summer opportunities he did not want to forego. I think four weeks is necessary to have a big impact on learning a language. The program was great for him! It was much more economical than other programs but offered terrific variety in a safe environment. I highly recommend. A neice and nephew may attend next year

Stephen Van Evera
Rated 5 out of 5

My daughter Lydia had a great experience with the 4-week Common Ground Costa Rica immersion trip in 2017. Lydia learned lots of Spanish and lots about the lives and beliefs of ordinary Costa Ricans . The Common Ground service activities (helping teach elementary school students in Heredia, and doing farm work on a family-run chocolate farm in Mastatal) were very valuable and well-designed. The group adventures--to the Arenal volcano and the Parque Nacional Antonio, ocean snorkeling, etc.--were excellent.

Lydia greatly benefited from the general wonderfulness of Common Ground group leaders Saphire Stockman and Parker Benedict, who ran a tight ship with kindness and understanding and made all rough places plain.

Leslie and Rory Foster have created an outstanding immersion program. Fabulous!

Eveline Grady
Rated 5 out of 5

My son Patrick participated in the 2 week full immersion program this summer (2017). It was his first ever stay abroad and it could not have been more successful. The preparations for the trip were really useful - Leslie Foster & Sapphire answered all questions we had with much detail and professionalism. As a parent I also really loved the fact the my son had the opportunity to give back and participate in community service on the ground. He loved his home stay families and really enjoyed all the families and students he met during his stay. He told me that he always felt very safe and that his Spanish really took off and improved by leaps and bounds. He really did not want to come back home which speaks volumes on how well the students are taken care of. I highly and warmly recommend CommonGround International.

Patrick Grady
Rated 5 out of 5

I participated in the 2 week full immersion program with CGI and I LOVED it. I met awesome people, both Costa Rican and American, and I had a really fun time in general. If you plan on going, I highly recommend going on the excursions and going for 4 weeks. The excursions were a blast as was the entire trip. I also learned a lot more Spanish in a safe and fun environment/classroom.

Shannon Case
Rated 5 out of 5

My 14-year-old daughter did the 4 week Spanish immersion trip in Costa Rica in the summer of 2017. She had a wonderful experience. Her Spanish fluency increased, she made great friends, she gained maturity and confidence, she benefited from helping others through community service, and she enjoyed living with her host families. The program was well organized, and the pre-departure course gave my daughter good preparation for encountering a foreign culture, living with a host family, traveling in Costa Rica, and everything else. We could not have been happier with the program.

Billy Biscoe
Rated 5 out of 5

When I first got there I was scared to death about not fitting in but as soon as i got there i felt home and i wasnt wrong. Everything was perfect and i couldnt be happier.

Rated 5 out of 5

I went on the four week program in the summer of 2016. The experience was incredible, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Our group was extremely close, and we've all kept in touch since. Before the trip, listening was by far the weakest aspect of my Spanish. By the end of the trip, I could have full family conversations with my host family. I learned so much about Costa Rican culture, and it's impossible to pick out a single aspect of the trip I loved most.

Emi Hoffer
Rated 5 out of 5

I went into this program not knowing what to expect. I attended the two week portion in 2016, and was hoping to improve my speaking Spanish for high school. After learning that I was the youngest member of the group, I was a little nervous. However throughout the trip I grew much more confident and, to my surprise, understand much if not all of what the civilians and instructors said. The host families were also a delightful surprise. Though I was only with them for a short while, we quickly became very close. I would say that those few days helped my conversational Spanish the most. I would suggest that the families try to engage with the children more through activities like grocery shopping or just walking around the city. I know some students had trouble connecting, though this was not the case with me. Between the friends I made, the adventures I embarked on, the new culture I discovered, and the language I learned, this trip definitely improved my Spanish and understanding of Costa Ric-an life.

Sarah Maronick
Rated 5 out of 5

I went on the four week exchange program in 2014. When looking into programs I had a lot in mind for what I wanted out of the experience. My main criteria included safety, location, quality of leadership, hospitable host family, and meaningful volunteer work. All of them scored a ten with this program. It really gave me more than I expected.

After I scored a 5 on the AP Spanish test and got a scholarship to study abroad in Turkey. What I have realized here in Turkey is that even the smallest experience that we take from our daily lives can make a big impact. Don't be afraid to explore and learn. If I had not gone to Costa Rica I would not have understood this concept so well.

Janie Anderson
Rated 5 out of 5

I did the Spanish immersion program in summer of 2013 and I have no doubt that is was one of the best experiences of my life. It is due to this trip that I decided to pursue a major in Spanish at the University of Colorado, which I am now halfway through. I am currently studying abroad in Costa Rica and am soon going to visit my host family from three years ago. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful this program is and how many opportunities it opened my eyes to. I strongly recommend that anyone looking to improve their spanish skills or to get a taste of a different culture to enroll in this program, you will not regret it!

Rated 5 out of 5

I went on the 2-week Spanish Immersion trip in 2010 and I loved it. My familia tica was incredible; I'm still in contact with them to this day! My Spanish improved hugely, and I walked away with a much richer understanding of the world and appreciation for a different culture than our own. The Foster family was also really nurturing and good to me when I was experiencing the expected anxieties of being in a foreign country without my own family for the first time.

Rated 5 out of 5

This experience was amazing for my daughter. Her confidence and independence went through the roof. Her speaking and comprehension ability in Spanish also escalated. Her Spanish teacher was impressed. I would advise going for the month program - it's the experience of a lifetime. We're still in contact with her host family and they're wonderful.

Rated 5 out of 5

My son had a terrific experience during his 4 week Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica. The family he lived with was a very important component of making his stay so memorable. He also enjoyed the excursions and they were well planned and gave a good overview of the country and were also just plain fun.
I spent a lot of time looking for a program for him. My older son had gone on a 4 week trip to Costa Rica two years previously with one of the large student study/travel programs. In general, it was less than optimal experience particularly the home stay experience. I knew I needed to find a for a better program. Once I found the Common Ground program online I could tell it would be a completely different experience for my younger son.

Bailey Bressler
Rated 5 out of 5

It has been almost 5 years since I went on the immersion trip. I participated in the 2 week program. It was a blast. It was probably one of the best expiriences that I have ever had. The family that I stayed with was absolutely amazing. All around it is a wonderful expirience and I would recommend it to anyone.

Christi Jenkins
Rated 5 out of 5

My daughter participated in the 4 week program. Her Spanish improved immensely and her high school Spanish teacher was amazed how confident and comfortable she has become speaking in Spanish. Her love for latino culture grew and she now wants to do her collegiate study abroad in South America. She enjoyed her host family and continues to stay in touch with them. Leslie and her family are amazing leaders. They are caring, communicative, and provide the students with structure and great opportunities to learn and grow. The students grow academically, socially, expand their world view and experience another culture. I would highly recommend Common Ground International to any high school student.

Will Murphy
Rated 5 out of 5

I participated in the 4 week immersion program before my junior year in high school, and absolutely loved it. My confidence in my spanish speaking ability improved enormously, which i attribute to the excellent structure of the trip. It is a perfect opportunity to solidify spanish speaking ability because you think, live, and dream in spanish, while also going on unreal adventures. ELEC, the formal spanish training school in San Isidro is great, with wonderful, native teachers unlike any language teachers I had previously. The guides and leaders throughout the trip were wonderful people and i am still in touch with them today. Before I went, 4 weeks initially seemed like a long time, but it flew by. If you are on the fence at all, and want a life changing experience, i can't recommend any program more highly than this one.

Rated 5 out of 5

This trips was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I will never forget the memories I made. My Spanish improved immensely. I highly recommend Common Ground. Their trips are simply experiences you cannot miss.

Meredith Brown
Rated 5 out of 5

My daughter participated in the 4 week program and she wanted to stay even longer! Her Spanish has improved, and she has a greater appreciation for the world outside of the US, which is extremely important to us these days. She had a wonderful experience with her host family, and I think the supervision was "spot on". The students learned a diverse amount of material--from the academic, to the social to the cultural--and as such, I would highly recommend Common Ground International to other high school students!

Carly McDermott
Rated 5 out of 5

I participated in the 2 week immersion program in 2010, and consider it a life-changing trip. I not only improved my Spanish speaking and writing, but got to participate in the daily life of Ticos. This program changed my perspective and was the foundation for my love of travel and experiencing different cultures. Our guides were knowledgable, helpful, and fun! I would highly recommend this immersion program to anyone looking for to broaden their horizons. :)

Bailey Radek
Rated 5 out of 5

I participated in the 4 week immersion program and loved it. It helped me learn so much spanish and about how big the world truly is. The exposure to a new culture and to new experiences was phenomenal. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone with a thirst for learning and adventure!

Rosie Gershman
Rated 5 out of 5

I did a 2 week immersion program in 2014 and absolutely loved it! I made amazing friends and learned a lot of Spanish. Leslie and her family are amazing people and such good leaders. I wish I had never left and could do this program every year and for longer. It was an amazing experience. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for an immersion program. Common Ground International is the way to go!!

Kate Henjum
Rated 5 out of 5

I did the 4 week Spanish Immersion trip through Common Ground International in the summer of 2011. I am now a junior in college studying abroad in Lima, Peru. Much of the desire and inspiration to continue with my Spanish and cultural immersion study was because of the experience I had in Costa Rica with Common Ground International. My host family was incredibly kind and very welcoming and ELEC Spanish School did an excellent helping me improve my Spanish. The weekend trips were an incredible opportunity to explore the country. Rory and Leslie Foster are extraordinary people and help to make the entire experience one you will never forget.

I would strongly encourage every high school student to immerse themselves in another country, culture, and community. I can't think of a better organization to do that with than Common Ground International.

Kim Carey
Rated 5 out of 5

I participated in the four week immersion program for the summer of 2015. While it may have been my first time to Central America, it was absolutely one of the best experiences I have ever had. I used my Spanish daily and learned some new aspects of Spanish that I apply in class on a regular basis. My host family was amazing, I miss them a lot. Now, the trip leaders are absolutely some of the best people I have ever met. They do an amazing job of helping the participants learn and they are very encouraging when it comes to facing a difficult situation. I hope that one day I will be able to participate in another immersion program with this group of leaders and teacher in Costa Rica. It was absolutely an unforgettable experience.

Thekla Metz
Rated 5 out of 5

My daughter did the 4 week Spanish Immersion trip with Common Ground in the summer of 2015. It was fantastic, a wonderful experience. Her host family was nice, she really used her Spanish and she loved the adventure travel parts. This is a great oufit. I highly recommend them.

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