The Spanish Language Institute here in Costa Rica. We have been so blessed to be apart of such a great language school. Since its founding in 1942, the Spanish Language Institute has been equipping Christian workers to serve the Spanish-speaking world. During its 70-year history, over 14,000 students—most of them career missionaries--have passed through the Institute’s classrooms. Some were church planters, others seminary professors, doctors, nurses, teachers, college students, relief workers, pilots, or administrators. Many are still on the field today. A few were martyred.
Both the spiritual and academic aspects of the school are far better than we hoped. When each student leaves the school they have to take the international ECO test and an optional 3 hour grammar test to find out what level of Spanish you are at. If you score an advanced-low on the ECO and a certain grade on the written grammar test you will receive a diploma from the school which is a great accomplishment. To receive a masters degree in Spanish from a university in the United States you will have 500 hours of class time but here at our language school at the end of the year you will have over 700 hours of class time. To spend a year here will get you more than an equivalent of a masters degree in Spanish. The school also teaches far more detailed and advanced grammer than most language schools, which is why people from all over the world come here to Costa Rica just to learn the language.
It is amazing to see new students come in not knowing any Spanish at all and at the end of the year they walk out of here being able to converse for hours in the streets.
The spiritual aspect has been outstanding as well. Language school is a purging of all the added junk that you bring in from the States and God uses it to expose so much weakness and sin but then builds people back up to be more like Christ. The counseling department is ran by Joel and Krista McCutcheon, who are finishing up their masters degrees in counseling from The Masters College (John MacArthur) in California. They are in charge of the spiritual health of the campus and not only have they proven to be essential with so many changes that new missionaries go through, but they have made huge impacts in the lives of so many missionaries in the year they are here. With chapel twice a week, the students are feed the Word of God in English to help rejuvinate them spiritually as their brains overload with Spanish.
Our experience here has far exceeded our expectations and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn Spanish.