How is the exchange supervised?
* The traveling high school is always accompanied by teacher chaperones (number of teacher chaperones depends on group size). They are responsible for the students while on the exchange.
What Does an Exchange Student Do in Costa Rica?
* Upon arrival, students will be met by their host family (and often extended family!) and taken to their “home away from home”.
* Participate in welcome and going away parties.
* Students will visit places such as Tortuga island, Poas and Arenal volcanos, beaches, rainforest, coffee plantation, waterfall gardens and the host school(s). Ample time is also given for host family “family days”.
What Does a Costa Rican Student do in the Host Country?
* Costa Ricans participate in activities that give a good insight into what what your home culture is like, what activities you do for fun, and how school life is.
* Whenever possible we ask that the host students should be allowed to accompany Costa Ricans on local excursions.
* Each matched student pair will live with their host family, meet many new friends and explore new and fascinating places. Not to mention practicing the language that they have studied, but likely have not had a chance to practice with a native speaker.
What a typical exchange includes:
* Airport pickup/drop off
*Group flights from hub airports
* Welcome and Going away party organized by exchange school
* Local and regional excursions
* In country 24hr support
* Certificate of completion
* Pre-trip communication with host family!
What it (typically) doesn’t include:
* International medical insurance.
* Passport fees.
* Spending money
What Is Needed For Travel To Costa Rica?
* The student will need a current passport, valid for at least 6 months beyond travel dates. Travelers with Costa Rican, U. S. or Canadian passports do not require visas.
Who Should Consider Doing the Exchange?
* Students between the ages of 13 and 18 with a basic understanding of the host family’s language.
* Students who will make a good ambassador from their family, school, community and country.
* Students who have the support of their parents/guardians, teachers and school administration.
About Costa Rican Host Schools and Families…
* Families are middle class and are required to provide room, meals, and laundry. They also must have internet access in their home (WIFI or data). In addition they must provide transportation to/from school.
* Each host family has been carefully chosen by their student’s high school and undergo background
* During the student/family matching process you will have the opportunity to meet and talk with your prospective host family virtually.
* If the student has any special needs (medicine, allergies, diet etc.) accommodations will be made to provide them with a proper host family.
Does the traveling student’s family need to host an exchange student?
* No. However the participating school(s) must provide mutually acceptable host families.
When should I apply for the program?
* The sooner the better to insure adequate time for host family – student matching.
* Exchanges are normally as follows (chosen so traveling schools are on vacation):
* To Costa Rica – Normally the last week of June and first week of July or second and third weeks of July, but can be adjusted to accommodate school’s preference
* In Canada & the United States – Holiday Season: Normally in January but can be adjusted to fit school’s preference.
Do I get any school credit for participating in the exchange?
* You do not receive credit, but you will receive a certificate of participation. Wisconsin GEAC students can use this experience to meet certificate requirements.
How will I communicate with my parents/child?
* Host families will have internet access at home (usually wifi). Video and messaging apps allow for daily communication. Cell phone coverage is excellent in the San Ramon area should the student want to activate international calling on their phone. Costa Rica is on central time, accept during daylight savings when it is on mountain time.
What happens in the case of a medical emergency?
* Your host family or coordinator/chaperone will get you to the nearest hospital. Your family will be notified and proper care will be taken to ensure you are being treated in the same manner as you would in your home country. (San Ramón has an excellent hospital and doctors near the center of town). Traveling students must have travel medical insurance to come on the program.