FAQ: Host Families
is a typical Costa Rican breakfast?
A typical Costa Rican breakfast includes fruit, gallo pinto (which
is rice and beans and spices), and coffee or tea. Of course your
family can also provide you with cereal, toast, bacon and eggs if
is a typical Costa Rican dinner? Is it always a hot meal?
Instead of having a large dinner, Costa Ricans often have coffee
with bread, pastries, cheese and jam, also known as cafecito around
3:00 p.m. and have a light, hot dinner around 6:00 or 7:00 p.m.
The dinner usually consists of rice, black beans, meat and salad.
In Costa Rica lunch is the main meal.
drinks will my family offer me?
Your family will usually serve you fruit juice or a soda. They may
serve beer or wine as well.
does the family normally dress?
Though Costa Rica is not a rich country, people always take care
to be well dressed when they go out in public. All clothes are ironed,
sometimes even underwear! It would be a good idea to leave your
torn clothes at home even if they are your favorites. Bring comfortable
clothes and shoes for school and travel and something nice for a
night on the town or a business meeting.
we choose the homestay option, will we be able to stay together
as a couple?
Yes. Let us know when you register that you are a couple that would
like to stay together and ILISA will find a family willing to accommodate
you. Of course, if you feel it will be better for your Spanish,
ILISA can put you with separate families within walking distance
from each other.
many students will be staying with my family?
It's ILISA's policy to put no more than one student per family unless
students request otherwise.
I change my family if I am not happy?
ILISA does their best to find a family that meets your specifications,
but if for some reason, you think that your family is not suitable,
ILISA will look for an alternative family. Normally, changing families
is no problem. In some cases, ILISA may have to wait a few days
before they can make the change.
far is the school from my family's house?
Some families are within walking distance but the majority are within
a short bus ride from ILISA. Students never have to cross San Jose
nor take more than one bus. Many times students decide to walk to
school (25-30 minutes) in order to enjoy the morning air and get
to know the areas around them.
do we get from our homestay to the school?
This depends on where your family lives. Most students walk to the
school or take a bus or taxi. Costa Rica has a well-maintained and
inexpensive bus system in San José and the nearest bus stop
is always within a few blocks. Taxis are also inexpensive and easy
to hail except during rush-hour in the rainy season.
we get our own key?
You will get your own key to the house.
what time do we need to be home?
You can stay out as late as you like as you have your own key, but
please be courteous and notify your family if you decide to go out
so they do not plan on you for dinner, etc.
Can I do my laundry at my host family's
Yes. Laundry service is included in your homestay. Your bed sheets
will be changed every week by your host. Your family will also wash
your clothing although they may not wash underwear.
After my courses are finished, can I stay longer with my host family?
Normally this isn't a problem but you will have to check with the
homestay coordinator first to make sure there are no scheduling
conflicts. If not, you can make the necessary arrangements with
the homestay coordinator. No arrangements should be made directly
with the family as this may cause conflicts in the homestay planning
and it also violates the agreement ILISA has with theirhost families.
does ILISA select the families?
Costa Ricans have a very high sense of hospitality and like to have
guests in their homes. ILISA looks for families that have a nice
and clean house, a well ventilated room with enough light, and family
members that like to make a student feel part of the family. All
houses are inspected personally by the homestay coordinator and
families are interviewed before being accepted as a host family.
In addition, all students fill out evaluations of their families
to ensure that ILISA maintains their high standards.
you describe the average room?
The average room contains a bed, a closet, a desk, a desk lamp and
chair. Many students end up doing their homework in the living room
or dining room, aided by their family members.
the host families have hot water?
All the host families have hot water in the shower. Water is usually
heated by a electric heating device incorporated in the shower head.
A few houses have a central hot water tank.
are the alternatives if I don't want to stay with a family?
There are several so-called 'apartotels' which is a combination
of a hotel and an apartment, in the San Pedro area, two of them
are within walking distance. Apartotels are serviced apartments
that can be rented by the day, week or month. They include a fully
equipped kitchen and laundry service. In addition, there are several
nearby hotels. Please request our alternative accommodation information
if you are interested in staying at a hotel.
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