Someone once said that change is the only constant in life. That same someone may also argue that this has been particularly true since March 2020.

Due to the pandemic there has been a total shift from “normal life” to the new normal: a virtual life. The world has changed and is changing. Many lives have been lost. Travel plans have been cancelled and there is uncertainty about even when some may be able to see and hug their loved ones again. 

On top of this, there is a world economy that has been severely impacted. Service and travel industries have been crushed. Unemployment rates are skyrocketing. When will it get better? Can it get better? 

Costa Rica’s answer to these questions: sí se puede!

Apart from being an absolutely stunning country, from its breathtaking landscapes to its warm, diverse citizens to its always freshly prepared cuisine, Costa Rica is a country that has made serious commitments to its values.

Costa Rica is committed to peace. Costa Rica is committed to working hard. Costa Rica is committed to caring for its natural resources, both flora and fauna alike. And holding it close as a national value, Costa Rica is committed to education.

At Idioma Internacional, we are so truly honored to be partnering with Costa Rica and its public and private entities in order to help bring this commitment to education to fruition for residents and citizens of this country, regardless of pandemics or other setbacks that may come.

In May 2020, with the pandemic and uncertainty still quite fresh and ever-unfolding, the Costa Rican government was still dedicated to providing hundreds of scholarships to people in an effort to educate them in English and assist them in gaining the skills to gain employment. Costa Rica was steadfastly focused on growth and so was Idioma Internacional. Together, we joined forces to combat uncertainty, combat a pandemic, and combat unemployment by taking actions to put into practice the commitment to education and language skills aimed at helping people and their families learn, become gainfully employed, and keep moving forward. 

Administrative staff in a planning meeting

Months later in August, and further into more uncertainty and a continued pandemic, the government once again showed its commitment to education and to its citizens and residents, approving hundreds of scholarships that will help them gain language skills that can translate into employment opportunities. With a quality team of teachers from around the globe, from Africa, Europe, and Asia to the Americas, Idioma Internacional was once again proud to partner with the labor ministry in its social and economic efforts to keep Costa Rica growing and moving forward.

Idioma teachers during a professional development workshop

As many of our students are now set to graduate after their intensive, months-long virtual English courses with Idioma Internacional, we are now partnering with the private sector via companies like Amazon, Snap Finance, Equifax and more, in order to host virtual job fairs for our graduating students in a concerted effort to allow companies exposure to our talented groups of graduates, allow our graduates to gain direct access to hiring teams from companies and help to complete the cycle and efforts of Costa Rica and its commitment to education.

And Costa Rica will soon be at it again! Despite a pandemic with still no end in sight, Costa Rica is poised to continue to invest in education and continue to invest in its people with a focus on growth and gaining employment. And Idioma Internacional is proudly poised to commit once again to helping the country advance, and to helping all of its residents and citizens gain the language skills they need in order to keep moving forward with their own personal and professional growth. 

-Brendan Mulhall

  • Mother’s Day is celebrated in many countries throughout the world. In the US it is typically on the first Sunday of May. Although there are many shared holidays between the US and Costa Rica, Mother’s Day is not one of them. Here in Costa Rica, Mother’s Day is celebrated on August 15th. This corresponds with the Roman Catholic feast day of The Assumption of Mary. “The Assumption of Mary is a feast day recognizing the selfless and earthly life of Mary and the divinity associated with her heavenly soul,” according to http://www.prosoftnearshore.com/mothers-day-in-costa-rica-august-15/. Unlike the US, Mother’s Day in Costa Rica is National Holiday. The entire day is dedicated to celebrating our mothers.

Although it is important everywhere, the dual purpose of the holiday here in Costa Rica shows how much respect and honor we have for our mothers. There are many ways that people celebrate this very special day. Some of which include buying all types of gifts, taking mothers out for special meals, and making sure they don’t have to do any work. Mainly, the mothers that I spoke with on this day just wanted to be surrounded by family and loved ones. It is most important to make sure they know how much you love them.

“Ma! You get to celebrate twice a year while I live in Costa Rica,” I told my mother when I called in May. She loved the idea. Even though I wouldn’t be able to fly home and visit, we were able to speak on the phone for a few hours. We digitally cheers-ed each other, and drank some wine. Even though this article is a little after the fact, every day could be Mother’s Day. So please don’t forget to tell your mothers that you love and respect them. Every day would be ideal, but we know that’s not always possible.

On that note, I love you MA!

Act I

“Be sure to bundle up,” they said. “It’s colder than you would think,” they said. “Bring snacks,” they said.

Bundle up? Cold? Okay, snacks. That makes sense. We are talking about Costa Rica, right? Home of the most beautiful beaches, rainforests, and mountains in the world? Same Costa Rica? Yes. THE Costa Rica. We were heading to one of the iconic volcanoes that give the breath-taking views that Costa Rica is known for: Irazú Volcano. I couldn’t imagine anything cold. I don’t think most people would.

We awoke to a partly cloudy sky in the central valley. Birds were singing to celebrate the morning as they always do.  Early mornings on the only collective day off for the staff is always a little sketchy. Not that everyone is opposed to getting up early, just apprehensive. However, all members of the party showed up on time. We were excited to see the dormant volcano.

The drive up was no peach. It rained, the fog was terrible, and there were no signs of it improving. Well, there was one time where we saw a slight opening to the cloud cover. It was a tease. We got to the peak, where the gift shop and parking lot are located, and stepped into a cloud. Literally. You could barely see 10 meters in front of you. It was windy. It was cold. It was atypical to the image of Costa Rica.

We huddled into the gift shop to escape the rain. They offered hot coffee or cocoa at tourism prices. Some of us paid. My fingers were very much going numb standing in the wet, windy cloud. We resisted the walk to the crater observation, hoping the conditions would improve. They didn’t. Eventually, we made the short walk anyway. The landscape screamed of a horror movie. Bleak, desolate, low-visibility. Perfect for mischief. (None occurred.) We peered over the edge, where one would normally find the crater, and saw more of the same mass of cloud we were standing in. Disappointment abounded.

After snapping a few pictures of our other-worldly landscape, we headed back to the warmth and safety of the cars. The volcano will have to be visited another time. Stay tuned.