8th Grade Costa Rica Capstone Trip  

Since 1998 Andeo International Homestays (Portland, OR) and their partner in Costa Rica, Centro Panamericano de Idiomas (CPI), have coordinated the homestay study program for West Sylvan Middle School. The homestay study program provides students with opportunities to develop cross-cultural understanding and use their language skills in and out of the classroom.  For many students, this is the culmination of their 9 years in the Spanish Immersion program.

Students explore Costa Rica's amazing biodiversity by visiting Manuel Antonio National Park and Arenal National Park, volunteer in the community, cook traditional specialities and learn Hispanic dances. Homestays provide students opportunities to share meals with their host Tico families, practice Spanish and gain greater insight into everyday life and culture of Costa Rica. 

Many students develop strong connections and form lifelong friendships with their host families.  Some even return to Costa Rica in subsequent years. This experience is often a turning point for students and a catalyst for pursuing higher education in Spanish, other foreign languages, International Studies, International Business or Education. 

Annual Fundraiser 

Traditionally, every year in May Spanish Immersion families, alumni, program teachers and friends come together to celebrate and take part in the program's most important fundraising event of the year.  Funds raised pay for partial scholarships, shared expenses and community service in connection with the trip. A portion of funds raised are also set aside as grants to support the three SI schools: Ainsworth Elementary, East/West Sylvan Middle School and Lincoln High School.  Read more about grants in About Us


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What one student had to say about her Costa Rica experience...

From Kayla Tsongas:

My three weeks abroad in Costa Rica was one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had. After many years in the Spanish Immersion program, going to Costa Rica really solidified my Spanish and love for the culture and language. I enjoyed becoming part of a Tico family and experiencing their day to day lives. We had the opportunity to visit many beautiful places in Costa Rica and truly delve into the culture. To have an opportunity like that when I had just graduated 8th grade lit a fiery love for travel, cultures, and living as the host culture does. Since that time I have returned to Costa Rica to live with two different host families and now I am hoping to spend a semester in Nepal learning the language, living with a family, and experiencing a completely new culture. I am also planning on majoring in Anthropology, the study of cultures. Spanish Immersion and the Costa Rica trip sparked a life long passion for languages, cultures and traveling.