Teacher Spanish Immersion Trip Payment

Teacher Immersion Trip

(49 customer reviews)

Secure your spot!

Make your program deposit and subsequent payments for the upcoming Spanish Immersion. The $500 deposit* is the minimum to reserve your spot on an immersion trip. If you would like to pay more than the minimum $500 with this payment, please just adjust the quantity to add more to the payment. After you make a deposit, you may use this same page to enter specific payment amounts by selecting the Remaining Balance Payment*.

Summer ’24 Ecuador (EC) Trip Dates:

  • 1wk programs: 6/15/24 – 6/22/24 | 6/22/24 – 6/29/24
  • 2wk program: 6/15/24 – 6/29/24

Summer ’24 Combo Ecuador & Costa Rica (EC & CR) Programs:

  • 2wk program: 6/22/24 – 7/6/24
  • 3wk program: 6/15/24 – 7/6/24 | 6/22/24 – 7/13/24
  • 4wk programs: 6/15/24 – 7/13/24 | 6/22/24 – 7/20/24
  • 5wk programs: 6/15/24 – 7/20/24 | 6/22/24 – 7/27/24
  • 6wk programs: 6/15/24 – 7/27/24 | 6/22/24 – 8/3/24

Summer ’24 Costa Rica (CR) Trip Dates:

  • 1wk programs: 6/29/24 – 7/6/24 | 7/6/24 – 7/13/24
  • 2wk programs: 6/29/24 – 7/13/24 | 7/6/24 – 7/20/24
  • 3wk programs: 6/29/24 – 7/20/24 | 7/6/24 – 7/27/24
  • 4wk programs: 6/29/24 – 7/27/24 | 7/6/24 – 8/3/24
  • 5wk programs: 6/29/24 – 8/3/24 | 7/6/24 – 8/10/24
  • 6wk program: 6/29/24 – 8/10/24

What is the registration & trip preparation process like? There are a handful of steps that start with payment today to reserve your spot on the upcoming trip:

Step 1: Reserve your spot by making payment here on this page

Step 2: Fill out your travel registration (Contact information, passport details, emergency contact, program goals, etc). We’ll send you the link.

Step 3: Find flights into CUE (Cuenca, Ecuador) OR SJO (Airport in San José, Costa Rica).

Step 4: Start your pre-departure course to get ready for your trip! Opens in March

Step 5: Work with your travel team to prepare your outreach projects

Need to review details of the Spanish for Teachers Immersion Trip, click here to go back to the Spanish for Teachers Immersion Trip information.

SKU: EduImmersion Category:

49 reviews for Teacher Immersion Trip

  1. Sequoia Lee

    Words cannot express my gratitude for this program but I will try my best. From the beginning Rory and Leslie met every single one of my needs. I had a lot of questions and concerns being an African American female in foreign country but it was all put to an ease. Not only did they take my precautions seriously but for the duration of the trip I felt seen, heard, and protected! They became my home away from home. In addition they are a GREAT TIME!!! Lol so much laughter support and encouragement. If you’re on the fence go ahead and hop off. THIS IS THE PROGRAM FOR YOU!!!!!

  2. Jennifer Pote

    If I had known how much I would love the Common Ground Immersion program in Costa Rica I would have signed up for every week available. I feel extremely grateful to have met the incredible teachers, nurses, doctors, students, and families that participated in (and lead) the program. The CGI leadership team fosters such a feeling of support, inclusion, flexibility, and encouragement that within a day or so you feel like a giant family. They also do a great job finding awesome families to host us. The couple I stayed with was so kind and welcoming. I also love that they are on board with speaking only in Spanish and being open to helping me understand grammar or new vocabulary. Your Spanish skills will grow no matter what your level is because you are around it the whole time and using it in different types of settings: restaurants, school, with families, school, socially, etc. Although of course I didn’t become fluent in two weeks, I feel so much more ready to go back to the elementary school I teach at and try to use what I do know so far. This program will tear down any walls of awkwardness or lack of confidence and get you to embrace making mistakes and love the process. Everything was a highlight but definitely sign up for the excursions! The sustainable volunteer work CGI is a part of is also an incredible aspect of the program.

  3. Monica Hynds

    Wow! It could not have been better!
    Amazing people, experiences, family placement, Spanish classes, local excursions, weekend trips, daily structure and activities during my 3 weeks in Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica.

    CGI has it all! You decide how much or little you participate. I tried to do it all!

    Leslie & Rory have figured it all out, adding their care, flexibility and individual support to make our time in Santo Domingo a powerful and meaningful learning and travel experience.

    Daily activities and groupings allowed us to build meaningful relationships with interesting and varied people of all ages with our common goal of learning Spanish.

    Leslie & Rory took great care and communication to set us up for a successful family stay. As a vegetarian of 40 years, I was concerned that I could not have a family stay. I emailed and spoke with Leslie & Rory and they assured me that they would find a family that will meet my needs. And they did! I love my Costa Rican family!

    Sure, at first it was awkward living with a family when I did not speak Spanish. Now, I am so grateful for the time and space to build my relationships (in Spanish) with my Santo Domingo family. My desire to communicate with my host family really challenged me and accelerated my learning.

    Everything was organized around building relationships and speaking Spanish (and having fun!). I am shocked how much Spanish I learned in 3 weeks. I originally planned to stay just 2 weeks in Costa Rica and am so glad I stayed for 3 weeks.

    Walking to and from school everyday with others in my neighborhood.
    Evenings working on my homework at the dinner table with my Mama Tica.
    Watching a family of monkeys swing through the trees with a baby on the mother’s back while riding in a boat along the water roads of Tortuguero.
    Sloths! Watching sloths move, climb and eat in nature and at Toucan Rescue.
    Morning gatherings in the park.
    Walking along the Manuel Antonio park path that opened up to a glorious beach! The beauty of the rainforest, water, sand and rocks was breathtaking.
    Weekly dance class where I actually learned to dance and had fun.
    The intensity, camaraderie and fun of our small group Spanish classes.
    Friday afternoon graduations where language growth and the student/teacher relationships are celebrated.

    So grateful for the amazing people that I met and will always carry with me. I wish I had done it sooner. Don’t wait!

    Embrace it all – Participate in all of the activities, experiences and excursions offered. It really could not have been any better!
    Pura Vida!

  4. Hann Doherty

    If you are looking for a program to improve your Spanish, expand your cultural experiences and grow as a person, you have found the right trip! Common Ground has curated a trip that is focused on you and your goals. Meaningful volunteer opportunities, host family connections, leveled Spanish classes, and fun excursions are what you can expect if you decide to journey with Common Ground! I highly recommend it!

  5. Linda Fletcher

    My trip with CGI exceeded my expectations! The daily lessons were exactly what I needed and were fully engaging and fun! Each excursion that I attended was a unique experience with lots of pictures, memories, and souvenirs to cherish! All of the people that I attended my trip with had the same goal of submersing themselves in the language and culture and embracing both! Rory and Leslie’s organization prior to and during the trip were phenomenal! I was never uncomfortable or lacking anything for the entire trip. This was my first time to travel to Latin America alone, and I’ll do it again with CGI as soon as time and funds allow!

  6. Samantha Greenleaf

    This was my second time traveling with Common Ground International. For years I looked back on my first immersion experience with CGI fondly, and I had built up high expectations as I anticipated my return. My second immersion trip exceeded all of my expectations! The staff at Common Ground is incredible, and they support all participants in their language development, personal goals, logistics coordination, and fun pursuits so well. They make every participant feel welcomed and supported every step of the way. Every aspect of the trip – the welcoming host family, small sized Spanish classes, cultural experiences, volunteer and community work, and excursions were exceptional. I can’t wait to return. Pura Vida!

  7. Sophie Fiorovante

    My time with Common Ground International could not have gone any better. As a Spanish teacher who was unable to study abroad due to covid, I was looking for a program that would really maximize the time I could spend abroad (sacando el jugo!). CGI’s teacher immersion program is specifically designed for teachers who need Spanish within their classrooms AND Spanish teachers looking to improve their language skills, while also adding cultural experiences and linguistic nuances you can’t get through a textbook or college seminar. Our Spanish classes were EXTREMELY effective as our teachers were receptive to our needs, flexible with questions & suggestions, and got to know each of us as teachers, as students, and as people. The excursions we went on were EXTREMELY well-planned (and worth the extra couple bucks upon registration for the weekend trips) and really connected what we were learning in the classroom to the lives we were living in our new cities. Our host family experiences were EXTREMELY impactful on us as students of the language and they made us feel welcome and gave us a strong sense of belonging in our new homes.

    The best part of my CGI experience was the sense of community that was built during our time together. Rory & Leslie (and the rest of the CGI team!) thought of every last detail that allowed our focus as participants to put on our “why”; they were incredibly receptive and responsive to any and all needs we had, and met all of us where we were at with open minds and open arms. Rory & Leslie treated all of us like family, and their way of conducting and organizing the trip and our homestays allowed all of us to build friendships that will last beyond the scope of our trip and will follow us, hopefully, to our next adventures around the world. I hope to go on another CGI trip and cannot recommend it enough.

  8. Katie Sorensen

    I have thought a lot about what I want to say that would be useful. I agree with all the positive feedback by others. I loved my immersion trip to Costa Rica, what a unique wonderfully useful program Rory and Leslie provide with the support of the Lapa Verde faculty and their behind the scenes support staff as well. I participated in the 2 weeks program for teachers with some added days to both the beginning and end for excursions. I left behind a household including busy kids and husband so I decided the 3 week program would have been too long, in retrospect, I wish I would have stayed another week. Sure, I missed my family but once you return, life just gets back to normal so quickly that it left me wishing for more Pura Vida. And I was so comfortable with my host family, the school, the Santo Domingo de Heredia community, and our Common Ground Group that I was not nearly as homesick as I had anticipated. A couple tips: don’t hesitate taking this trip, it is amazing, if you want to see Panama too, fly with COPA and use their extended stopover option, pack less clothes than you think you’ll need and definitely bring your Teva like sandals cuz your feet will get wet about everyday, also pack a jacket, it was pleasantly cooler than I expected, and we were able to walk or Uber anywhere we wanted. We visited 2 modern malls while there, and traveled back to San Jose with ease. I was SO impressed with the energy that Rory and Leslie always had and the warmness of all the people we met both in Costa Rica and our short stay in Panama. You are reading this because you are already considering a trip with CGI, decide to go and take a friend if you can, if not that’s ok too cuz you’ll make a ton of new amigos. 🙂

  9. Pauline Katz

    so, I read these before I came and thought, no way could these reviews be real. So, um, they are. This program was incredible. I stayed for 5 weeks with an incredible host family, had 3 passionate spanish teachers who ABSOLUTLY LOVE their jobs, and got to travel the country on weekends with an extraordinary group of folks. Si, me encanta este program. Do I speak AMAZING Spanish? Claro, no, pero hablo espanol MAS mejor de cuando llege. I highly recommend this program. I can speak with my student’s families with a whole lot more confidence and ability, and the journey to speak Spanish will continue.

  10. Jennifer Blaske

    This trip was a wonderfully rich experience for many reasons. I met interesting people, saw beautiful sights, learned a lot about different cultures, ate some great food … and oh yeah, learned a lot of Spanish!
    You will definitely get pushed out of your comfort zone, which may sound like a bad thing, but it is NOT. After all, how else will you grow and improve as a person? And who wants a boring life?

    And don’t worry, Leslie and Rory are both there for you in every way. They tell you what to expect and are there for you in an instant if you have any concerns, worries or issues.

  11. Stacey Ani

    I spent six weeks in the teacher immersion program … 2 weeks in Ecuador and four weeks in Costa Rica. The Spanish schools in both locations were incredible and the professors were very high quality. The homestay hosts were well vetted and truly professional hosts focused on our comfort, but also on assisting in our language progression. I will definitely participate in future programs with GCI

  12. Jonah Rosenblum

    Common Ground is an incredible program. A true immersion program where you are forced to use and learn Spanish- a true immersion. Leslie and Rory will take of everything you need. As a teacher who teaches a lot of Latino students- I need a degree of fluency to communicate with the care takers of my students. After this trip I feel capable of doing that.

  13. Sheryl Reto

    My daughter and I had an amazing experience in Costa Rica. Leslee and Rory were very responsive and available and the tours were excellent. My daily Spanish classes were very interesting and we spent a lot of time conversing in Spanish. The host family was very welcoming and the program as a whole was educational and fun.

  14. Rachael

    Having to speak Spanish for two weeks was exactly the push my confidence needed. Lapa Verde is in such a great location and everyone is so kind. They do a wonderful job of introducing you to the community and the host families are amazing! I loved being able to walk to and from school everyday, and getting to know the neighborhood. The two days we worked with students were definitely my favorite!

  15. Elizabeth Peterson

    CGI Costa Rica was a perfect match for my personal and professional growth goals. Leslie and Rory are a dynamic, supportive and energetic team. The combination of homestay, intensive language classes and volunteer experiences pushed me to grow my interpersonal and cultural communication skills. I stayed two weeks. I made lasting friendships. Every aspect of this program far exceeded my expectations. I cannot express in words how truly special this program is!

  16. Julie Boon

    All around fantastic experience. Common Ground International is a wonderful program and would highly recommend.

  17. Melissa Páramo

    The Ecuador immersion program was my second trip with Common Ground. Although we were not able to participate in the volunteer activities due to issues behind our control, I still feel like the program was a valuable experience. I had a wonderful Spanish teacher and the other participants couldn’t have been more wonderful. I feel like I really was immersed in the culture and was able to practice my Spanish.

  18. Lisa McClintock

    The Common Ground teacher immersion program was just what I needed to give me the confidence to teach in a Spanish Immersion school in California. The directors, Leslie and Rory, and their family are such wonderful people and their love of Costa Rica was contagious. The staff and teachers in Santo Domingo were professional and friendly and my host family was a great fit. I loved the diversity of the weekend excursion trips to experience what Costa Rica has to offer. #puravida

  19. Melissa Paramo

    I had an amazing time on the Costa Rica teacher immersion program. I was a little nervous to sign up since it was during Covid and I didn’t know anyone, but this trip was amazing. I couldn’t have attended this trip with a better group of people. I got to experience so many amazing experiences with the side trips and excursions we went on. I enjoyed the small group Spanish classes I took. I would definitely recommend this trip for anyone looking to improve their Spanish and learn more about different cultures.

  20. Jacqueline Liesch

    Simply put, this was one of the best programs I have been a part of in my entire life. From start to finish, the Fosters encouraged and supported us to ensure we were all having the best experience. I am so excited to start this new school year with the knowledge of having been completely immersed in another culture and the confidence to communicate in Spanish with students and families.

  21. Carly

    This was my second trip with Common Ground International and once again it did not disappoint! This program stands out because of the great leadership and thoughtful design. It is organized in such a way that you will be challenged, but Leslie and Rory and the other group leaders are there to support and guide participants through the process. Both years I have experienced significant improvement in my Spanish as well as valuable professional development. I would recommend this program to any educator.

  22. Kristina Mickle

    I really enjoyed my experience on my immersion trip to Costa Rica. Everything was very well organized from excursions, classes and the host family experience. Rory and Leslie are wonderful and are very welcoming. They treat everyone like family. I am very satisfied with my experience and I feel like I really improved my Spanish. I hope that I am able to return next summer.

  23. Emily Atwood

    I had been thinking about doing this program for 2 summers and I don’t know why I waited so long. It was such a great experience! My host mom was great, everyone in the program was incredibly helpful and supportive, and I gained a lot more confidence in my Spanish. I would absolutely return next summer!

  24. Rachel Martin

    CGI gave me a wonderful opportunity to improve my Spanish. As a Spanish teacher, I was also looking for ideas to help my students in the classroom and I came away with some great ideas. I was also able to improve my Spanish and my confidence in speaking with native speakers. The Fosters were always there if I needed help and they made sure that I felt comfortable. I really enjoyed the opportunity to help out in the community through the camps we held and the work that we did. I also got to experience the Costa Rican educational system. I can now show my students how the educational systems are alike and different. I really enjoyed the trips that we could take on the weekends. They were always well planned and the information was communicated in a timely manner. I really enjoyed this program and I hope that I can return to continue my education.

  25. Kelsey Ouellette

    Best immersion experience by far! The support from the leaders, community service opportunities, Spanish classes, living with a wonderful host family, and dedication of the other immersion participants to speak Spanish was all amazing. My Spanish has never improved so much so fast. There is also plenty of time on the weekends to plan trips to experience Costa Rica’s beauty!

  26. pschlaff

    Common Ground International’s Spanish Immersion Program for Teachers was exactly what I was looking for. As a Spanish teacher, I wanted a program that would help me to practice and improve my Spanish but also meet my needs of someone with significant experience in the language. The language school was tailored to my needs, and my class surpassed my expectations. My class was discussion-based and our professor was top-notch. It was one of the best classroom language learning experiences I’ve had.

    The other unique aspect of this program that set it apart from other immersion programs was the opportunity to participate in community projects as a volunteer. I was impressed the respect and humility with which Rory and Leslie worked with local organizations and institutions. As volunteers, we led a day camp at a facility for adults with disabilities and worked as teacher aids in a local school. We were there not only as volunteers but also—and perhaps more importantly—as open-minded observers and learners, learning from the Costa Rican teachers, leaders and students that we had the privilege to meet.

    Arriving in Costa Rica, I was most nervous about my homestay. I should not have worried. My host was amazing—going out of her way to meet my needs, including me in her daily life, taking me to the gym with her, helping me with small problems (like finding a replacement charger for the one I left in the airport), traveling with me on days off… I feel like I’ve made a new friend and expect that we will continue to stay in contact.

    Lastly, Costa Rica is amazingly wild and beautiful and for a tiny country there is so much to explore.

    The most I can say about this program is that I would love to return and be a Common Ground International student in the future. I feel like I’ve grown as a person and as a Spanish speaker, and I’d like to continue the experience.

  27. Shannon Nail

    Great program! Learned some Spanish, met some cool people, and got to travel and see many beautiful places in Costa Rica!

  28. Erin Allman

    This program deserves 5 stars from start to finish! This is truly a family-run operation, beginning with the lovely Foster family of 5 and extending to all of their partnering organizations in Costa Rica. I was impressed by the quality of the preparation leading up to the trip and knew exactly what to expect when I landed in Costa Rica. The language school definitely challenged me and helped me gain some much needed confidence in my speaking ability. Last but not least, I appreciated CGI’s thoughtful and responsible approach to sustainable volunteer work. I would not hesitate to recommend this experience!!!

  29. Tammy Luce

    Wow! CGI was everything I hoped for in a program and more. Granada was amazing, my host family was very welcoming, and the classes were exactly what I needed. Rory and Leslie were wonderful and made sure that everything ran smoothly the entire time. The volunteer programs were a great way to learn more about the area and make a difference while working on Spanish skills. I only did the Nicaragua Budget Traveler program, but I have so much more confidence in my Spanish after just that short amount of time. I would highly recommend the program to anyone!

  30. Rachelle Boujoulian

    I highly recommend the teacher immersion program. The longer you can attend the better! I went to Costa Rica with very little Spanish. I had no class experience prior to attending. I could only stay for 2 weeks but within that time I leaned a lot more than I expected. My professor was great and highly qualified. He was not only patient and engaging but had the experience to teach Spanish as a second language. The cultural experience alone makes it worth going. I was a little nervous about staying with a host family but it was amazing! They were very hospitable and the accommodations were nice.

  31. Carly Woolman

    My experience with Common Ground International was amazing! I truly feel like it was a life changing experience. I was looking for a serious and rigorous program that would allow me to really improve my Spanish. Not only did my Spanish improve in leaps and bounds, but I grew both as an educator and as a person. That was an expected, but appreciated realization. Leslie and Rory are wonderful at what they do. They have managed to put together a program that is organized, thoughtful, challenging and meaningful. As coordinators they worked around the clock to ensure that all participants were comfortable, having fun and most important progressing in their Spanish. I feel grateful for the opportunity to work with them and experience this remarkable immersion trip.

  32. Emily Parkinson

    I had an amazing experience this summer in Nicaragua and Costa Rica with Common Ground International. Months ago when I was browsing international summer programs and came across CGI through a Google search, Leslie took the time to speak with me on the phone and answer all of my questions. I could tell that this program was extremely well organized, personalized to individual needs, and well supported for a range of Spanish learners. My experience in Nicaragua and Costa Rica far exceeded my expectations. Rory and Leslie are a dynamic duo who worked tirelessly to ensure a successful immersion program for their participants, from partnering with incredible community organizations, to ensuring effective Spanish classes, to supporting us as we navigated different cultures. Now that the program has ended, I have ongoing relationships with my host families in Central America, my Spanish is better than it has ever been, and I have cultural experiences under my belt that will help me become a more culturally responsive educator. Every aspect of a successful immersion program was present in this experience and I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to participate!

  33. Merrisa Moccia

    This program is great for building Spanish skills and learning about the educational systems in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I spent one week in Nicaragua and two weeks in Costa Rica. I enjoyed the excursions, the volunteering, and the classes very much. The various outings and volunteer experiences give many excellent opportunities for practice and application of vocabulary and concepts from classes. I’d love to have the opportunity to do it again.

  34. Emily Cohen

    My experience with Common aground International was nothing short of incredible, from the minute I called just to inquire through the program itself. Rory and Leslie do a great job of supporting the participants and encouraging learning and growth. I chose the program that spent one week in Nicaragua and two weeks in Costa Rica. I came home with a new lens to see the world through, as well as a feeling of empowerment being able to speak a new language. The classes were rich and focused and the volunteer experience showed me the culture my students come from. I am so excited to use what I’ve learned to enrich my classroom.

  35. Julia Sudlow

    I can’t speak highly enough about this program! I took part in the educator program with 2 weeks in Nicaragua and 1 week in Costa Rica. Rory and Leslie felt like family and the other trip participants were amazing! Information is clearly communicated in a timely manner and Leslie and Rory were extremely helpful whenever I needed something. The weekend excursions they planned were perfect and they did an excellent job making sure verbal and written information was accessible for all levels of Spanish speakers. In Nicaragua we (teachers) spent time with the medical team and adult program participants. In Costa Rica we were more separated. Service projects in the morning took place with similar program participants and Spanish classes were with similar ability levels and teachers / medical participants remained separated for the most part as well to allow for specific Spanish vocabulary building. Nicaragua was extremely hot and humid, so if that isn’t your cup of tea, Costa Rica was perfectly hospitable with weather more comparable to the U.S. If you are up for an adventure I would recommend spending two weeks in each country to allow for the full experience and time for weekend excursions. Both countries have school vacations during the program, so the only time spent in a school is the last 3 weeks in Costa Rica. This program is well worth the cost! Thank you so much, Rory and Leslie 🙂

  36. Amy Holt

    I am so thankful for the wonderful experience I had through Commonground International this summer. Leslie and Rory covered every detail from wonderful host families, valuable volunteer experiences, fun excursions, and challenging Spanish instruction. I enjoyed every minute of my time in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I highly recommend this program. My only regret is that I could not stay longer. My goal was to improve my Spanish skills so that I can better communicate with my Spanish speaking students and families. I met that goal and more. My Spanish has a long way to go, but I have gained confidence and skills that will help me as I continue my studies. Thank you Leslie and Rory for making my trip so memorable!

  37. Matthew Smith

    I had an amazing two weeks in Granada with Common Ground! I wish I could have stayed much longer! Rory and Leslie were super helpful, the host family was awesome and I learned a ton in my classes. I definitely feel like this trip will help me to be a better teacher and communicate more effectively with my students and their parents. I would recommend Common Ground International to anyone.

  38. John Price

    I wanted to learn more and I did: vocabulary, grammar, history, and culture. I wanted to speak more and DID, I’d say at least 90% of the time. I wanted to know where I stood as far as fluency was concerned, and discovered(what I might’ve feared a bit) I’ve got a lot more time to put in haha. I want to come back for Costa Rica!

    I wanted to get outside of my comfort zone. Mission accomplished and it was a highly memorable and intrinsic experience. I just wish I’d been able to stay a little longer

    Leslie’s an angel and Roy’s a machine! They are so good about trying to get everybody involved and helping them to get the most out of the experience. I never once felt pressured, scrutinized, neglected, or discouraged by them.

  39. Emily Wauford

    This experience was so amazing. The Fosters and Saphire were there every step of the way to help us out, from the moment you start thinking about Common Ground, to pre-departure, to the trip, to after the trip. They are just wonderful, supportive, fun, kind individuals, and they’re very good at what they do. I had private Spanish classes every week, great community service opportunities, and an amazing host family. My goal going into the program was to pass the ACTFL test at an Advanced Level. I had never gotten that score before, and thanks to my trip with Common Ground, I passed! Great people, great trip.

  40. Brenda Barnhart

    I had a wonderful two weeks in Santo Domingo de Heredia with the Fosters. I had one-on-one Spanish classes every day at the Lapa Verde language school and volunteered with local students. While it was difficult to communicate with my very basic Spanish skills, I made friends and was able to feel completely at home with my host family. The program is extremely well organized and I felt well prepared and taken care of the entire time I was in Costa Rica. I would recommend the program to any educator who wants to be immersed in the Spanish language and the welcoming Costa Rican culture. Pura Vida!

  41. Nina Gribetz

    My three weeks in Costa Rica with CGI were incredible. I loved everything about my experience; from our volunteer days at Palenque (the school), to my amazing host family to my daily Spanish classes, to the morning group runs, to the weekend trips. It has been a year since I left San Isidro and I still think about the experience all the time.

    Leslie and Rory make everyone feel like they are part of the Foster family. They help you organize weekend trips, check in with you each day, making sure your classes and homestays are going well. We all came with a common goal of learning Spanish in order to become better educators in our own schools and Leslie and Rory continuously supported us in reaching that goal.

    I would recommend Common Ground to anyone! You will meet the most amazing people, learn lots of Spanish and just grow as a person!

  42. Shira Korn

    I cannot even begin to express how wonderful these programs are. Leslie and Rory are the kindest, most supportive, and encouraging family/program en el mundo and could not be better facilitators of a language immersion program. They set me up for success in every way, from my classes to my homestay, helped me problem solve whenever necessary (in Spanish to boot) and truly welcomed me as part of their family (which is surprisingly necessary in an immersion situation). I essentially learned conversational Spanish in only 6 weeks, a feat that would not have been possible without the unique blend of personalities, structure, and general outlook on immersion that encompass the Common Ground International Programs. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to study with them and would/have recommend(ed) them to everybody!

  43. Samantha Greenleaf

    I can’t say enough wonderful things about Common Ground and the Foster familia. CGI was everything I was hoping for in an immersion program and more! The Spanish classes were intimate and the professors were wonderful. CGI is very intentional about being inclusive with all of their excursions and activities, so you always have fun, cultural, and safe adventures around the corner, but there was flexibility and freedom to explore Costa Rica however you please. My host family was incredibly welcoming, thoughtful, and helpful with my Spanish and getting to know the community. I was amazed at how quickly I learned and used Spanish and how quickly I felt at home in beautiful Costa Rica. Further, the Fosters’ intentionality in being a part of the San Isidro community and schools is admirable, and adds to the integrity of the program and the rich cultural experience CGI provides.

    From the classes, to excursions, to home stays, to being in the community, I felt a part of the family immediately. My only complaint is that I couldn’t stay longer!!! Pure vida!

  44. Katie Delvaux

    Common Ground International is an incredible organization run by the most amazing people. Leslie and Rory, and everyone I met while in Costa Rica, were so welcoming, helpful, and encouraging. I went to Costa Rica with the goal of learning more Spanish so that I could communicate with the parents of my second grade students. Spending three weeks there with CGI, fully immersed in Spanish, gave me the skills, vocabulary, and confidence to initiate and hold conversations in Spanish with my students’ parents. Leslie and Rory provided so much guidance and superb coaching. I absolutely recommend CGI for anyone who wants to improve their Spanish and immerse themselves in the Costa Rican culture. I am forever grateful to Leslie and Rory and everyone involved with CGI.

  45. Lesley Sylvester

    CGI is fantastic!! It is a family run program and Rory and Leslie truly adopt each participant as one of their own. I recommend this program for any educators who want to experience an authentic Costa Rican lifestyle: improve (or learn) their Spanish, eat local Costa Rican food, take dance classes, and travel throughout Costa Rica. It was all I expected and more! Thank you Leslie and Rory.

  46. Lisa Kropp

    CommonGround International is a fabulous organization. They are hands-on, professional and extremely supportive in all aspects of the exchange. They made me feel prepared, welcome and supported the whole time I was there. The living arrangements were extraordinary, the language school was amazing and intense and the service opportunities were soooooo rewarding! I am so glad that when I was searching for an immersion program I decided on this one.

  47. Susan Kind

    I had long dreamed of enrolling in a Spanish immersion program. It was only when I took that first step of sending an email to CommonGround International did that dream become a reality. Leslie made sure I had every detail of my trip well before I left. I especially appreciated the online webinars where I was able to meet Leslie and some of the other participants through video chats. My experience was amazing. The family I stayed with was so welcoming, I loved getting to know them. San Isidro de Heredia was beautiful and I quickly became comfortable getting around on foot or bus. ELEC provided Spanish lessons targeted to the needs of teachers and all of the instructors were patient and caring. We were given wonderful opportunities to learn about the culture of Costa Rica and even had a cooking class! When we found out we would be teaching a class in Spanish to students at la escuela Palenque I was so nervous, but it turned out to be one of the most memorable parts of the program! The weekend excursions provided a chance to explore beautiful Costa Rica, practice our Spanish, and build friendships. I would recommend this to anyone who has ever considered a Spanish Immersion program.

  48. Mary Tuchscherer

    What makes an amazing immersion program? Great coaches!
    Common Ground International’s leaders, Leslie and Rory Foster, coached and guided our educators’ teams towards success this summer in San Isidro de Heredia, Costa Rica.
    As we teachers prepared lessons and taught classes at Palenque School, they shared knowledge and expertise and encouraged learning, personal growth and teamwork all at the same time!!
    * Our daily goals were clearly defined
    * We were given opportunities to travel on long weekends and build life-long friendships.
    *We were continually challenged to leave our comfort zones; but always in a supportive environment.
    * The attitudes of our great leaders in country, our teachers and administrators at La Escuela de Lenguas y Experiencias Culturales, our amazing host families…they were all supportive, enthusiastic and positive. These combined marvelous, attitudes were predictors of the attitude and altitude of the “TEAM”. We aimed high and we would all agree, “Common Ground International knocked this summer experience out of the ballpark!” Yay, TEAM!! PURA VIDA

  49. Lisa Lowrance

    The teacher immersion trip was extremely valuable to me. I had the opportunity to sharpen my language skills through immersion, gather knowledge to bring back to the classroom and network with other educators. I hope to return!

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