Academia Tica Spanish School - Bringing Students Closer to Culture and Language

Education is a powerful tool which provides people with knowledge, skill, technique, and information that enables them to know their rights and duties toward their family, society as well as the nation.  It is an essential knowledge which expands our vision and outlook to see the world and develops capabilities to fight against the bad elements in society.

We are an Instituto Cervantes accredited Spanish language school with two beautiful campuses in distinctive, interesting locations in Costa Rica. Founded in 1986 is one of the first schools in Central America.  Our aim is to make the Spanish language a bridge between people from all over the world, Costa Rica and Latin America. Learning has to be a fun process and it has to be truly authentic to be effective.

Our aim is to bring students closer to the culture and living experience of ticos through language learning and cover the full range of language travel needs.

The two school campuses work as true oasis for studying with big ample gardens and classrooms with plenty of natural light, close to the attractions, amenities and necessities our locations offer.

The Visionary

Manuel Al-Ghassani is the Director of Academia Tica and is in charge of the main strategy and vision for the school as well as most marketing. But the relationship with the school is very personal. Manuel is the son of Ana Mercedes Rodríguez, school founder. She started as a Spanish teacher and translator in a small office in their home and is now on an advisory role. Years later, this continues as a 100% local and family business with a second generation equally passionate about the meeting of education, culture and tourism that is represented in language schools.

Courses Offered 

Our offer includes the staple intensive course with 20-30 language lessons per week in group or individual class setting. Regardless, service and tuition is highly personalized and groups do not exceed more than 6 students.

The school also teaches special courses which include DELE Exam Preparation (from which the school is also Exam Center), Surf & Spanish in our Jacó Beach campus, one of the best destinations worldwide for starting or advancing surf. Also offered is a unique Traveling Classroom program which visits several locations around Costa Rica and includes many activities and a full intensive language course.

Finally, Academia Tica offers a range of Specific Purposes courses aimed at going far deeper into the topics of Medicine, Law, Business and a special course designed for teachers of Spanish. These courses not only allow students to improve their language skills needed to work in these areas, but also focus on important cultural topics with different activities including visits and keynote presentations.

Ideal Address for Education 

There are two main reasons why students choose Academia Tica. The first is the belief that language learning has to be fun, friendly and exciting in order to work. Students must be engaged in different creative ways and this is where our teacher’s experience comes into play.

A second very important reason is our activity program which takes students to the places not found in guidebooks. We believe is part of our mission to show the real Costa Rica and not only participate in a marketing presentation of the country. The school will organize the staple student favorites from language schools like cooking and dance class but also excursions, visits, meetings and other meaningful experiences we’ve come up with from our own experience and contacts.

Academia Tica understands that a language course is an experience and not only a transfer of knowledge. Students are exposed to real-life situations. Our courses rely heavily on the practical side of language learning and Costa Rican and Latin American culture is embedded in the daily structure of courses.

The school ensures quality by carefully curating a teaching staff of native, professional teachers that have already taught for several years. One of the main activities of our Academic Director is to execute a yearly plan of teacher training.

Achievements, Rankings, Awards & Accolades 

Founded in 1986 the school is the longest-standing private language school in Costa Rica.

Academia Tica is an Instituto Cervantes Accredited Center since 2002 (the first in Costa Rica). This is the most important quality certification a language school can obtain and is given to private institutes like us to major university language schools as well. The certification is given by Instituto Cervantes and involves periodic evaluations of all areas of service.

The school is also a DELE Exam Center since 2013. Other recognitions (relevant for language schools) that the school has are Bildungsurlaub approval from Germany and the Swedish CSN grant approval.

Currently, the school collaborates periodically with two important conservation projects in our locations: Locos por el Bosque Cloudforest Reserve and Toucan Rescue Center. Apart from this, we work with a network of volunteering projects to whom we provide students that will lend a helping hand.

The school has collaborated with many universities, colleges and other educational institutions in North America and Europe notably the Johns Hopkins University Spanish Program in Costa Rica and Ocean College, a sailing education year for German Students.

Thanks to a wide network of partner agencies across the globe, Academia Tica is visited by students from many parts of the world. These agents include world-leader ESL from Switzerland.

Finally, the school is also part of “Spanish in Costa Rica”, a new initiative with other language schools in Costa Rica that seeks to promote the country as a destination to study the language as well as ensuring the quality of their member schools.

An Environment Empowering Holistic Growth 

Language studies are of course paths into traveling and culture. But obtaining a certain degree of language competence will allow students to further their studies in a different country in Latin America or Spain where many of our students will go on and start their careers in fields from Ecology to Technology.

Students of Spanish language will find that their skills become useful in a wide variety of careers, mainly in services of areas like the medical sciences or international business, diplomatic career, teaching and language related areas such as writing and translation. However, a second language is a door that opens opportunities in most areas.

Amidst the Covid crisis which has hardly hit the education sector in Costa Rica, Academia Tica is working towards new partnerships with agents and also educational institutions from across the world that are interested in expanding their students’ experience with a study abroad program.

With a future outlook that is now full of uncertainty, it is the personal and human side  which takes importance. We pride of caring for our relationships with our current partners, former students and even our contacts from Instituto Cervantes.

The school has not stopped working during the pandemic but currently the program has shifted to mostly online and receiving new students towards the latter part of the year as restrictions are lifted. Although income has reduced drastically, Academia Tica is one of the few businesses related to tourism in Costa Rica that has not furloughed or fired their staff, using this as an opportunity to make improvements.