What is the benefit of a semester program like CIRENAS?
Students who attend CIRENAS have made a decision to leave their traditional educational path temporarily to take on new challenges in a different country. They stretch themselves to become more self-confident, better community members, and thoughtful leaders by engaging in Cirenas’ unique place-based curriculum and activities.
How will student performance be reviewed during the CIRENAS semester?
Students will be assessed by their participation, teamwork, assignments and projects. Every student will leave with an official CIRENAS transcript outlining all the courses and hours spent. Students can submit this transcript along with their regular high school transcript in their college applications.
Will my school accept CIRENAS credits for classes taken during the semester?
This is a case by case basis with each school. Some schools will give credit in traditional subjects and others will treat CIRENAS courses as electives. Please meet with your academic advisor or guidance counselor to discuss this before you enroll in Cirenas to be sure that everyone has a clear understanding and expectation.
If my child goes to an independent school, will I have to pay tuition to CIRENAS and his/her school?
This is a case by case basis and parents are encouraged to discuss this with school administration as soon as possible.
What kind of accomodations do you have for students and what kind of supervision is there?
Students are separated by gender and live in two separate buildings. There is faculty on duty every night and students must adhere to the guidelines set forth in the student handbook at all times.
How difficult is it for a student to return to his/her sending school
Semester programs are becoming more popular and schools are becoing more accomodating to students who decide to temporarily leave for a new experience. Every student re-enters the sending school and their community differently. It can be very challenging for some students because they have changed so much during the semester. Others will not find it difficult. CIRENAS prepares students for their return home during the last week of the semester. It is also helpful for students to stay in touch with each other to offer re-entry support.
Each student upon their return will present their experience to their sending school and ideally create a project that they can complete with their classmates, in order to help showcase what they have learned and how their time at CIRENAS has impacted their life.
Will students be able to take the PSATs, SATs, or other tests while at CIRENAS?
We do not have a nearby testing facility, therefor students should make arrangements to take all necessary tests before their arrival in Costa Rica.
What is the closest airport to CIRENAS?
The closest regional airport is Tambor, which is an hour and a half from the CIRENAS campus and is operated by SANSA and Nature Air. San Jose International Airport (SJO) is 5 hours away and Liberia (LIR) is 3 hours away during the dry season (December – April).
Is airfare included in tuition?
Airfare is not included in the cost of the tuition, however if this is a deciding factor for a student’s enrollment we are willing to work with them and their families.
Are there scholarship funds available?
Yes. We have a great scholarship program for eligible candidates. Once a student is accepted we will conduct an interview with them and their parents to assess need and do our best to meet that target.
Do you need to speak Spanish to be a part of the program?
No, but it is recommended as it greatly adds to a student’s experience. All applicants are encouraged to begin to learn basic vocabulary before their arrival.
What should I bring?
There is a student packing list that will be e-mailed to students upon their acceptance to the program.
Will I be able to call my parents or will my son/daughter be able to call me?
Yes. There will be time set aside for students to call their families via Skype once a week.
How will I stay on track with my math?
Math tutors will be provided to help students stay on track with their math courses from their sending schools. As much work as possible should be completed before student’s arrive to Costa Rica and arrangements should be made with professors to ensure that each student understands their assignments and responsibilities while away.
What is the closest large town?
Santa Teresa and Cobano are the two closest larger towns.
Where is the closest medical facility?
Cobano and Santa Teresa both have medical clinics and are approximately 20-25 mins from the CIRENAS campus. For larger emergencies, students would either be taken to Nicoya Hospital (2 hours), Puntarenas (2 hours 30 minutes) or San Jose (5 hours). In the event of a life threatening injury we would use the medevac helicopter transport system to take the injured party to San Jose.
Is there a medical facility onsite?
We have a sick room that is fully stocked with First Aid supplies. All faculty holds Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder certifications.