Are you thinking about relocating to Costa Rica? Whether you want to move permanently or temporarily, it’s important to understand that education doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t!) stop just because you move to a new place. There are actually many wonderful educational opportunities in Costa Rica for children, teens, and even adults. So, brush off your thinking cap and start exploring your options. There’s absolutely no need to put a hold on your education or to start home-schooling your children, not with so many great choices for education in beautiful Costa Rica.
Learning the Language
If you’re going to be living in Costa Rica for a while, it’s a very good idea to learn some Spanish! After all, that’s the main language in the area, and not being able to speak it will severely limit what you can do. Wouldn’t it be nice to go into a store and tell the clerk, in clear Spanish, what you want? Strong Spanish-speaking skills could even open the doors of opportunity to employment, new friendships, and so much more. Fortunately, no matter your age or your level of Spanish speaking ability, there are schools in Costa Rica that are designed to help you learn Spanish as quickly as possible. Many of these schools, such as the CPI Spanish Immersion School, can cater to people of all ages and from all walks of life—there are even classes that families can take together! Most immersion schools are unique in that they start speaking Spanish, and nothing but, to you from the very beginning. When you hear nothing but Spanish at school, you’re bound to start learning it and, more importantly, learning it well in no time at all. Best of all, you’ll get a feel for the Spanish that people actually speak in your part of Costa Rica, not the outdated Spanish you’ll find in most textbooks.
Schools for Expat Children
If your children are going to be making the journey to Costa Rica with you, don’t think for a minute that they have to miss out on a quality education. In fact, in Costa Rica, there are even opportunities for children who wish to gain an American-style education. There are many schools that are designed specifically for expat children and teens; almost all of these are private schools, and most are designed to cater to children of a specific cultural background. There are schools for American children, French children, English children, German children, and more. Most of these schools are bilingual, meaning they use both the child’s native language and Costa Rican Spanish in instruction; your child might just gain knowledge of a new language by attending such a school! If you don’t want to shell out the extra cash for a “cultural” or “expat” school, however, rest assured that the public education system in Costa Rica is up to par.
If you’re moving your children to Costa Rica from America or another part of the world, you might be concerned about the quality of education in Costa Rica’s public schools. You might also be concerned about how your child will fit in and about how such an education will impact him or her later in life. You might be surprised to learn, however, that Costa Rica actually has an excellent public education system, one that rivals (and some would say surpasses) the educational system in America.
Costa Rican children are required to attend primary school from the time they are six to the time they are thirteen, at a minimum, and most children in the country attend school. Secondary education is also an option, with students having the ability to choose between two different educational tracks. Some children choose an academic track, which amounts to five years of schooling, while others attend a technical track, which amounts to six years of schooling. In either case, students who successfully complete their programs of choice will qualify for a high school diploma. Most Costa Rican public schools are filled with students from a variety of different cultural backgrounds, so your child should never feel out of place.
Furthermore, you don’t need to worry about your child’s success if and when he or she returns back to America or another country of origin.
Most employers and college admissions boards look favorably upon students who have had diverse cultural and educational experiences and attending public school in Costa Rica is often viewed as a positive, rather than a negative, aspect of the student’s education. Furthermore, attending public school alongside natives offers a host of cultural benefits. Your child will be able to experience an entirely different kind of educational system and interact with locals and will be made all the more culturally aware and well-rounded because of it. In the end, only you can choose the right educational option for yourself and/or your child, but know that Costa Rica offers you plenty of choices.