SIELE Exam & Prep. Course (Accredited)

Intercultura Costa Rica

Program Description

SIELE Exam & Prep. Course (Accredited)

Intercultura Costa Rica

Our Heredia city campus has recently become an official SIELE examination center where students can take their SIELE exam and take classes beforehand to prepare themselves accordingly. Our accredited Spanish courses are in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

What is SIELE?

SIELE stands for Servicio International de Evaluación de la Lengua Española and is the most recognized Spanish proficiency certificate in the world, and is endorsed by the Instituto Cervantes, Universidad Autónoma de México, Universidad de Salamanca, and Universidad de Buenos Aires.

It is used to certify Spanish levels according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and to improve the employability of students.

The exam certifies the degree of proficiency for the Spanish language divided into four tests:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Comprehension
  • Written expression and interaction, and spoken expression and interaction

There Are Five Exam Modalities

SIELE is modular which means that you can either take the complete exam (all four tests, called SIELE GLOBAL) or take one section/ test at a time. The exam duration is three hours. At the end of all the tests, you will receive an internationally recognized certification, valid for two years and which includes the base score corresponding to the CEFR.


This modality offers four possible combinations of the above-mentioned tests which make up the GLOBAL SIELE exam:

  • S1: Reading and listening comprehension
  • S2: Reading comprehension and written expression and interaction
  • S3: Listening comprehension and spoken expression and interaction
  • S4: Spoken expression and interaction

The duration varies depending on the test combination. At the end of the independent modality or test combination, you will receive an internationally recognized report/ statement, valid for two years and which includes the base score corresponding to the CEFR.

What Are My Options? How And When Can I Sign Up?

The SIELE exam is offered on Fridays (at 9 am, 1:30 pm and at 6 pm) at our Heredia city campus only. For your exam preparation, you can take Spanish classes year-round at either or both campuses, Heredia or Samara. There will be no exams or classes if a Friday falls within our school closing dates.

Option 1 - Ready to take the exam?

If you just want to take the SIELE exam you need to register through the SIELE website and choose Intercultura Heredia as your examination center. Payment has to be done through the SIELE platform upon inscription. You will receive a code in order to activate the exam for the date you have signed up for.

Option 2 - SIELE preparation and exam

How to best prepare for your SIELE exam?

Take classes at our Spanish school in Heredia and/ or in Samara, and choose the course level that is right for you. You can enroll in Spanish group classes only or combine them with personalized private lessons. You can also just take private classes only in order to focus on your problem areas. This option is ideal if your pre-exam preparation time is limited. Go to our Spanish class enrollment form!

Can I take the preparation course in Sámara and the exam afterward in Heredia?

Yes, you can, except for your last week, which you will need to complete in Heredia, as the exam will be on Friday for your last week of classes. During your last wee,k it's also important that you receive an introduction to the technology which is required for the exam and which we only offer in Heredia.

Combine both locations

Intercultura Costa Rica is one Spanish school with two unique and very distinctive locations - vibrant, historic Heredia and tranquil, tropical Samara Beach. Combine both locations in order to experience the country from two different perspectives and get the most out of your Spanish studies. Spanish classes are offered year-round at both campuses.

With Intercultura you have the opportunity to discover a country of contrasts, embracing the different cultures Costa Rica offers, and experience our varied activities at each campus. The lifestyle and culture of Heredia are very different from life in Guanacaste, where Playa Sámara is located. When you register, simply choose the dates you would like to be on each campus.

Split your time and start at either campus. After a week or several weeks, you can move easily to the other campus without any disruption in your learning process, thanks to our consistent teaching methodology, material, and philosophy. Additionally, in both schools, we have smart boards (interactive computer boards) in every classroom. The only difference is the location and some of the cultural activities offered daily at the school.

Some activities are the same among both campuses, such as Latin dance or cooking class, while others are unique within each region. In Heredia you can take advantage of going out to local Salsa dance bars or do short day trips to nearby volcanoes, waterfalls or hot springs, while in Sámara you can enjoy the privileges of being located right on the beach, where taking surf lessons is as convenient as an early morning yoga classes in our beachside rancho with fresh ocean breezes.

Divide your time between both locations to get the best possible immersion experience.

Combine both locations - Spanish & Volunteer Program

Our recommendation to "combine both" does not only refer to your Spanish classes. Spanish students who choose to volunteer after their Spanish course with us have the option to split their Spanish studies between both locations, and also their volunteer work. Our Volunteer Coordinators will help you to arrange your desired combination of locations and projects.

Additional Spanish Program Details

Our Student Body Mix

Our school accepts students of all ages and nationalities, offering a unique opportunity to meet and learn with a diverse and dynamic group of people. In the summer months, college-age students and families are more common (although kids under 18 are always in separate classes), while professionals and 50-plus students tend to favor the autumn/winter and spring periods. Feel free to contact us if you wish to plan your trip dates depending on the attendance of particular age-groups or nationalities.

Cultural Activities


Enjoy learning Spanish not only during class but also during our cultural and extra-curricular activities, offered daily at both campuses. If you combine both campuses, you will be able to sample our unique activities at each location, embracing the different cultures Costa Rica has to offer.

We offer a selection of activities every day, conducted in Spanish (the majority involve no extra charge). Students should check the notice boards in reception daily for times, sign-up sheets and specific information. We encourage all students to participate in as many activities as possible, as you will find they greatly enhanced your understanding and connection to the culture.

Weekend excursions and day trips

On weekends we host excursions to many different parts of the country. Possibilities range from relaxing on a white sand beach to studying the complex ecosystems of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, to watching the eruptions of a live volcano!


At our Heredia Campus, you will meet our in-house tour guide Jeri who helps students in planning the perfect trip and offers them excursions all over the country. Jeri also offers trips in the central valley to waterfalls, volcanos, national parks and more.

At our Sámara Campus, Darihana meets with students every Tuesday to explain the tours and assist with your individual tour planning. Every Tuesday you can join our tour meeting where we give students advice about current tours, day and half-day trips (horse-riding, bike or car rental, domestic flights, ultralight gliding, deep-sea fishing, dolphin tours, waterfall visits, etc).

We encourage students from both campuses to also try a trip or two on their own: it is easy and very economical to travel by public bus in Costa Rica, and it is a great opportunity to put your Spanish skills into practice! Whether traveling by yourself or with an organized tour, remember to budget for weekend excursions when planning your trip to Costa Rica. NOTE: Most tours require cash payments or charge a small surcharge for credit card payments; we suggest bringing a debit card to cover these expenses.


Half-day tours

  • POÁS VOLCANO & SARCHÍ woodcrafts
  • LOS CHORROS waterfalls
  • CAFÉ BRITT coffee plantation
  • DOKA coffee plantation
  • SAN JOSE CITY historic tour
  • CANOPY TOUR adventure
  • LA PAZ WATERFALLS, butterfly & tropical bird gardens and serpentarium
  • RAM LUNA Mountain look-out restaurant with folkloric dance presentation
  • INBIO Eco-Park Tour
  • CACAO PLANTATION chocolate tour

One-day tours

  • TORTUGA ISLAND boat snorkel and beach BBQ tour

Weekend tours

  • MANUEL ANTONIO Beaches & National Park
  • RINCÓN DE LA VIEJA Volcano & National Park
  • ARENAL-MONTEVERDE Volcano & Rainforest
  • RIO CELESTE National Park & Hotsprings


Half-day tours

  • HORSEBACK RIDING beach & mountain
  • MOUNTAIN BIKE Buena Vista, Barco Quebrad, and Barrigona beaches
  • NATURE HIKE SÁMARA TRAILS, Wildlife Refuge Warner Sauter
  • STAND UP PADDLE BOARD tour & lessons
  • CAFÉ DIRIÁ Coffee Plantation

One-day tours

  • RINCÓN DE LA VIEJA, Canopy, horseback ride, rafting, rappel & hot springs
  • PALO VERDE NATIONAL PARK boat tour & bird watching

Weekend tours

  • RINCÓN DE LA VIEJA Volcano & National Park
  • ARENAL-MONTEVERDE Volcano & Rainforest
  • RIO CELESTE National Park

PLEASE NOTE: These tours are offered at both campuses and involve additional costs, ranging from $165 to $225 for weekend tours or $30 to $90 for day trips. Please plan your budget accordingly!


At our beach campus, during the week we take students to soccer games, hidden beaches, and local hikes. In Heredia, we take students to theaters, museums, nearby parks, the capital city of San José, discotheques, soccer games, concerts and more!

Homestay Families

Homestays are the most effective way to put into practice the Spanish you learn in the classroom, make friends and help you integrate into the Costa Rican community. Staying with a family you will:

  • Practice & learn more Spanish
  • Meet people from the community
  • Have breakfast/breakfast & dinner included
  • Spend less than you would for a hotel
  • Have laundry service included
  • Have childcare options if coming with children
  • Be taken out of your comfort zone and challenged to adapt to a new culture!

You will probably not have WiFi, a private bathroom or a hot shower, (and you will definitely not have AC!), but you may make friends for life, and you will have a chance to truly get to know and participate in a culture different from your own.


Homestay Private: Offers private room, laundry service and breakfast and dinner with the family.

Homestay Shared: Applies to families or travel partners who wish to share room(s) and includes as well laundry service, breakfast, and dinner with the family. NOTE: This option is ONLY available for students who sign up together.

A small percentage of families can offer a private bathroom and/or WiFi; these are assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.

The homestay program is a key part of the Spanish immersion experience; all of our carefully chosen Costa Rican families in Heredia and Sámara are within walking distance of the school (and the beach/city), from half a block to max. 1 mile /1.5 km away (in Sámara, bike rental is recommended due to the heat). All students are encouraged to participate in this opportunity, as it provides an invaluable source of Spanish practice as well as a wonderful interpersonal experience. Living with a family who speaks no English, in combination with intensive language study in the classroom and in general on campus during activities, provides a wholly integrated exposure to both the language and the culture. In this way, the learning process is greatly facilitated, as is the speed with which fluency is acquired. Homestays provide an economical alternative to hotels (see prices), but probably the most valuable aspect of the homestay experience is the opportunity to really get to know a Costa Rican family, making many new friends and experiencing first-hand the famous Costa Rican warmth and hospitality!


  • If you are coming with children, you may request one of our trusted homestay mothers that offer in-home childcare for a small additional fee (approx. $6-7 per hour, varies by family).
  • If you are a vegetarian, the family can accommodate a basic vegetarian diet (rice, beans, vegetables, fruit, eggs, pasta, etc). However, if you are vegan, gluten intolerant, celiac, eat only organic foods or have any other special food needs, you should expect to buy whatever additional food you require, as the family budget only allows for standard meal preparation.
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated April 20, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Open Enrollment
Full time
Costa Rica - Heredia
Start date: Open Enrollment
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Open Enrollment
Costa Rica - Heredia
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info