1) What time are classes held during the day?
Intensive Spanish classes are held Monday - Friday from 8am - 12pm. If you are taking electives they will be held in the afternoons Monday - Thursday.
2) Where do I send mail?
You will send mail and able to purchase stamps from the Tico Viajero Expresso Office at Veritas.
3) How will I call my family from Costa Rica without it costing too much?
The easiest and cost-effective way is through Skype online calling. Phone cards are available for purchase at VERITAS or nearby stores. Calling collect is possible by dialing the U.S. Canada country code of 001. Students and families with iPhones and Androids are able to contact one another where WiFi is available through various applications.
4) Can I use US dollars and travelers checks in Costa Rica?
Many places accept US dollars and some accept travelers checks. The exchange rate between US dollars and Costa Rican colones is about 500 colones to 1 US dollar and will fluctuate. Please don't forget your ATM/debit card and a credit card just incase.
5) What is the climate like in San Jose?
Costa Rica is a tropical country and thus gets a lot of rain. You can expect to get rained on every afternoon if you come during the rainy season between May and November, so bring an umbrella. The weather is quite moderate at around 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit in the capital and slightly hotter near the coasts.
6) Will I need warm clothes?
Yes, it is better to bring one or two sweaters because the climate can change from one day to another.
7) Do I do my own laundry at my house?
No, this is provided by your tico family once a week.
8) Am I expected to clean house/do dishes, etc?
No, your tico family takes care of the housework; however, common courtesy is expected of you as a guest of the family.
9) I have never taken Spanish before or I can barely speak Spanish. How am I going to communicate with my family?
Since you are surrounded by Spanish speakers every day you will improve very rapidly. Some suggestions for speeding up the process and being able to communicate more easily in less time are: - Talk to your tico family as much as you can. They understand that you are not a native speaker and will love to spend time with you even with your limited Spanish. - Watch Spanish TV. It will improve your listening and understanding skills. - Get movies from the large collection of DVD's that Veritas offers at the library. There are many in Spanish and in English and the majority are subtitled in both languages.
10) Can I drink the water?
Drinking water is safe in the majority of the country including San Jose. Just be more careful when you are out in the country where the water might not be quite as safe.
11) What if I get sick?
The bilingual clinic Hospital Clínica Biblica is close and a good place to go. You can also purchase health insurance from the school.
12) Should I carry my passport with me while I'm in Costa Rica?
No, you should only carry a copy of your passport with you because you don't want the original to be stolen.
13) If I have an emergency, whom do I call?
Director Alejandra Barahona 8912-8554
Executive Assistant Esteban Adams 8848-1947
Housing Coordinator Marielos Rodríguez 8931-4244
Logistics Coordinator Luis González 88510660
14) Will I get robbed?
As you would in any city, place or country it is important to be smart and aware of your surroundings. Keep yourself out of situations that would increase the chance of causing you harm. With that said, if you are smart you will probably be okay because there is always a risk of being robbed anywhere not only in Costa Rica. It is advised not to walk around with your ipod, laptop, expensive cell phone, and large jewelry exposed. When walking around town stay in groups and try not to talk too loudly in English or act too much like a gringo -- just as you would anywhere you travel!