API High School Community Service in San José, Costa Rica
Students seeking adventure and fun, as well as, having a desire to share their time and talents with their host community, are ideally suited for the Costa Rica community service trip. In just a short two-week stay, the program will expose participants to the multifacted beauty of Costa Rica: its hospitable and warm culture, its "pura vida" (pure life) mantra, and its commitment to protecting and exploring biodiversity.Students will learn how Costa Ricans live and think, as well as, some of the country's development challenges. Students will acquire or strengthen Spanish language skills and participate in fun daily cultural, social, and recreational activities. Excursions, including visits to a coffee plantation and a weekend trip to Arenal Volcano, serve as opportunities to experience firsthand the nature the country is known for!Environmental/Sustainable Development
Students may work with a network of urban gardens or ecological farms. Student volunteers generally assist with the garden or farm's daily tasks, learning about permaculture, organic farming and composting in the process. Students may also learn methods to teach children about environmental issues.Social Welfare Services
Students may volunteer in organizations that support vulnerable populations, such as children or senior citizens. Organizations include subsidized daycare centers or senior centers. Students may participate in storytelling sessions, English language classes, or other fun activities.Spanish language classes and community service are arranged through the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) and their affiliate organizations. While in San José, students will stay with carefully selected host families, in walking distance of their classes. Students will volunteer with local community organizations in San José and engage with Costa Rican people through activities such as soccer games, dance lessons, and cooking with their families.One year of high school Spanish or the equivalent is required for admission. Upon completion of this program, students will receive a certificate documenting 30 hours of community service.
API students will discover the wonders of Italy on this two-week art, language and culture program. Starting in Rome, students will visit many of Rome’s major sites, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums. Then, the group will travel to Tuscania to meet welcoming host families ready to prepare home-cooked Italian meals for students while they live in an idyllic medieval town to explore the creative arts of drawing and photography. Tuscania has been admired for centuries for its picturesque setting, fine culture and foods, and cobblestoned streets. Surrounded by medieval walls and guard towers, the town provides endless opportunities for authentic cultural immersion.
Students will spend mornings studying Italian language, photography* and sketching with the wonders and beauty of Italy as the backdrop for inspiration. In the afternoons and on weekends, students participate in experiential activities such as pottery workshops, cooking classes and urban treks, and will explore the pillars of Italian culture and history with visits to Florence and Venice.
Ages: 15-18 year olds only, completing grades 9-11
Language Level: No Italian language experience required
Housing: Local host families/hotels; Some meals and laundry are included; breakfast and dinner daily are included. Students are responsible for buying lunch.
Spanish Language and Culture Program Students will complete 1 of 3 tracks per term in this program (tracks are differentiated based on the student’s language level and academic goals). Students may also choose to add additional hours or combine two quarter terms for additional credit. TRACK 1 – INTENSIVE LANGUAGE This track is open to students at all levels who are interested in improving their Spanish language skills. Students will take 120 contact hours of Spanish language, and may add on additional hours (up to 180 contact hours total) for an additional fee. TRACK 2 – SPANISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE This track is open to intermediate and advanced-level students (levels B1- B2) who are interested in improving their Spanish language skills while taking additional hours of culture and content courses. Students will take 120 hours of Spanish language, as well as an additional 65 hours of cultural electives (for 185 contact hours per term). TRACK 3 – HISPANIC STUDIES This track is open to advanced and superior-level students (level B2 and higher) who are interested in taking more in-depth Spanish cultural courses. Students may choose to take either 3 or 4 culture courses (to earn 135-180 contact hours per term).
Students are not required to take a Spanish language course at this level. Spanish Language, Business, and Humanities Program This program offers classes taught in English in both business and humanities, as well as Spanish language courses at all levels. Students who have completed more advanced Spanish courses can choose from a wide variety of classes focusing on Spanish culture and civilization that are taught in Spanish. A placement exam determines the language level of each student. The fall semester begins with an intensive two-week Spanish language course for 3 semester credits. The spring early start semester begins with an intensive four-week Spanish language course for 6 credits. Students are then required to take at least one Spanish language class during the semester. Depending on the term, students then choose four or five additional classes at 3 credits each for a total of 12-21 semester credits. Spain’s capital since 1561, Madrid is the contemporary capital of Spanish culture, finance, and industry. A large, international and cosmopolitan city, Madrid is a city of possibilities. It boasts incredible monuments and museums, including the Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. Visitors cannot miss the Iglesia de San Isidro, once the cathedral of Madrid, or the Palacio Real. Madrid is also known for its fountains and elaborate parks, including the glorious Parque del Retiro. The energy of Madrid is in its street life and warm people. Taking a gap year in Madrid means experiencing more than a classroom – it means experiencing the history of Spain and its people. Aspire by API gives students the chance to live and learn in this fast-paced capital city.