Though it is possible to live with host families, if you speak no Spanish try and find out if they speak a little English or it may be very awkward originally.
Important Questions to Ask:
For more information about some of the families that host students, check out this project by students of the 2013 Media program:
“I highly recommend living with a host family for at least a semester. I was very happy that I did it. Because I lived with a host family the first semester, I was able to have a connection with Costa Rican culture that a lot of students felt was missing. I learned a lot about Ciudad Colon and knew quite a few people in town by the time I moved out. If you live on your own, there are not a lot of opportunities to practice Spanish. I know that sounds strange, but you are always in school and speaking English, so you really don’t use it much if you don’t stay with a host family. Staying with a family helped me to improve mine quite a bit.”
“One thing I found with my host family (and it seems to be a trend with others that have lived with host families here) is that Costa Rican culture is very conservative and family oriented. Culturally, people don’t go out very much at all. When they get together, they usually have parties or gatherings at their own houses, with family and friends. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea were all very important to my host family (and I found it to be similar for most Tikos that I met). Because they are so family oriented, they often except people very quickly as a part of family life and expect them to behave in that way. Because family is so tight-knit, often privacy and personal space are limited. With my host family, I learned that I had to be very clear about my boundaries and make sure I had the space and privacy I needed to study as well as feel comfortable. I was able to achieve that without a lot of trouble, but it was important to express it because it was not clear up front.”