Cardinal Gibbons Class 2023: Spanish Immersion Program!!!

Cardinal Gibbons class of 2023: Welcome to your Spanish Immersion Program!!!

We are so excited for your once-in-a-lifetime journey. This is your program hub and where you can find all the important documents. This page will be updated frequently as we get closer to departure.

Follow these steps to get ready to launch into immersion. Bookmark this page & check back frequently!

1. Complete Your Program Registration
Due: 1 week after your program deposit
2. Download, sign & submit your Pre-departure Paperwork which includes:
-Travel Contract
-Travel Liability
-Behavior Contract
-Smart Phone Contract
-Medial Release
-Notarized Consent to Travel with a Minor
-Payment Schedule
DUE: 1 month after you register
Send these in 1 of 3 ways:
– Sign, scan and email to
– Snail mail to: Common Ground International. PO box 174, Lafayette, CO. 80026
-Digitally sign it and send it to (you can use the free app Adobe Fill & Sign or any online tool of your choice).
3. Passports:
Apply for a passport if you don’t have one.
– Check your current passport, make sure it’s not expired or does not expire 90 days after your return date to the US.
– Submit a copy of your passport
Give yourself at least 3 months if you need a new passport or need to renew it.
4. Travelers Health & Safety is súper importante!
– Submit your Covid-19 vaccination card (mandatory)
-Check out what the Center for Disease Control says about traveling to Costa Rica . Pay special attention to mosquitos!
-Make an appointment with your primary care physician

SUBMIT your COVID-19 Vaccination Card. Take a picture of it and send it in!
IMPORTANT! Your program includes basic travel medical insurance with trip interruption, delays, lost bags, etc.
If you have any uncertainties about your upcoming adventure, it’s a good idea to consider additional travel insurance coverage .

If you’re looking for a Cancel for Any Reason policy, we suggest you shop for it here and act quickly as it is often has to be purchased within two weeks of your initial deposit.
6. Flights:
We will make group flight reservations in December. Stay tuned.
7. Pre-Departure Preparation Course:
This is a required, online course for all participants. This will set you up for success on your immersion program.

Start this course today and go at your own pace.
Costa Rica Pre-Departure Course (opens in Jan.)
DUE: Must be completed 1 month before departure

**Parents get this information in your Parent Manual
Costa Rica Parent Manual
8. Attend 3 required online meetings with your trip leaders

November 28:  Parent and Participant Kick Off Meeting (via Zoom)

Meetings with students take place in the spring.
Costa Rica Meetings with students:

9. Payment schedule: You must be paid in full 45 days before program departure

1. September 20 – October 26, 2022  – Consent form and initial deposit of $75 returned to Mrs. Damare.
2. September 20 – November 15, 2022: Electronic registration with Common Ground International completed and program deposit of $500 paid. Link to pay
3. January 20  – Transportation(flight) Payment due to CGHS (amount dependent on flight cost).
4. February 17 – Payment #2 to CGI.
5. April 20 – Payment #3 to CGI.
Due: Must be paid in full 45 days before departure
Link to pay

10. Get your travel paperwork in order and get packed. Make sure you have a copy of your passport, travel insurance, flight itinerary.

Review the “Before you depart” list ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️
Start 2 weeks before your departure date

Before You Depart:

Bank: Inform your bank about the card you will be using out of the country to avoid a “card freeze”
Passport: Make 2 copies of your passport. Keep 1 in your backpack and 1 in your main baggage
Flight Itinerary: Print out a paper copy of your flight itinerary, some immigration officials ask to see the paper proof of your return back to the USA
Travel Insurance: Carry a copy of your travel insurance policy with you.
Cell phone: inquire about an international data and calling plan from your wireless provider
COVID-19 Test: A CGI program requirement: 72 hrs. before departure, Submit your negative test to
(It can be an at home test with a witness, a PCR, etc.)
Join the WhatsApp Groups for all Trip communication (you will get the link via email 1 week before departure)
Pack your bags:
Download Costa Rica Packing List

Super Importante Links

High School Spanish Immersion Programs
Program Registration
Pre-departure paperwork
Make Payments Online
Pre-Departure Course: OPENS in January
Costa Rica Pre-Departure Course
Volunteer Sign-up
Coming soon
Program Itineraries:
-Coming soon
Packing Lists:
-Costa Rica Packing List
Parent Manual:
Costa Rica Parent Manual for Cardinal Gibbons Students

Program FAQs

What are the vaccine requirements for Costa Rica?

No more requirements to enter Costa Rica but you might need to show your vaccination card when we enter establishments.
CGI COVID requirements: CGI does require everyone to be fully vaccinated and to get tested before their flight (any type of test works fine).

Do we need the actual vaccination card or just a picture to enter establishments?

You can show just a picture.

Are host families vaccinated?

Most families are vaccinated, you can ask to be placed in a vaccinated household.

Does fully vaccinated mean boosted?


For Costa Rica can anyone be a witness to our required COVID test?


What happens if I test positive for COVID prior to my trip?

You can reschedule / transfer your trip to a future date

Is there extra cost for COVID testing to come home?

Yes, it’s typically anywhere from $40 – $60

Are we required to use any specific type of mask?

No, you can use whatever you like.

Can you sign up for optional excursions before the program begins?

Yes, in fact if it’s an overnight excursion we actually need you to be registered within 30 days of the trip so that we can properly reserve your hotel space.

Where can I find the pre-departure course?

All of the important program links are found here on the welcome page (the page you’re on now).

For weekday optional excursions, do those interfere with our classes?

No, we will be back in time for your afternoon classes.

Do we submit all paperwork via the pre-departure course or can we email it to someone?

You can email your information to Samanta at:

Do we need cash before the trip or is it ok with just our credit card?

You don’t need to take a bunch of local currency with you as you travel. Our suggestion is to have some USD on you and to have both a debit card (for ATM use) and a credit card for everyday expenses.
Be sure to check with your banks about international transaction fees so that you’re aware of your costs to use your cards abroad.

Are we going to have WiFi?

Yes, you’ll have regular access to the internet at language school and in most host homes.

When will I know who my host family is?

We usually send out host family info 1-2 weeks before your trip

When is the best day to buy flights?

There may or may not be a “best day” to buy flights but when you search for flights, try using an incognito browser and/or clearing your browser cache. Some airlines have cookies that adjust pricing based on your activity searching.
Use google flights to track pricing and get historical pricing trends.

What happens / can I come in a day early or a day late?

Yes absolutely you can come in early or late. We just need to know your flight details so that we can plan accordingly with your host family.

What type of clothes should I pack?

We cover clothing pretty well in the packing list info of your pre-departure course but here is a brief summary:
Costa Rica: prepare for rain in the afternoon, not that many layers, something to keep you dry.
You’ll also want business casual clothing for our volunteer work projects.

Can we bring school supplies as donations?

Yes, absolutely! Local schools and families benefit greatly from school supplies.

What is the laundry situation?

Host families will do laundry for you. You only need around a week worth of clothes cause you’ll be able to wash them.

How buggy is it where we’ll be traveling?

The general rule is that the higher the elevation, the fewer bugs you’ll encounter.
Costa Rica: we’re at around 4,000 feet and the bugs aren’t bad either.
Your biggest concern is mosquitos, be sure to have bug repellent and proper long sleeves and long pants for dawn and dusk hours in lower elevations (beach, etc).

Has the date for the Isla tortuga day trip been decided? It says TBD.

Isla Tortuga is a one day trip that can easily be scheduled for any day during your visit. 

Is it possible to get a street map of the area where we’ll be in Costa Rica?

You can google “Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica” in your browser and click on maps and it’ll give you a rough idea of where we will be. 

Where do I sign up for excursions and what is the deadline?

We need you to be registered within 30 days of the trip so that we can properly reserve your hotel space. You can find them here:

Are rooms shared during excursions?

Yes, usually rooms are either double or triple (each person has their own bed). 

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