The Spanish Language school (SEPA), is internationally known the best and most user-friendly Spanish Study Abroad program, also internationally recognized for its students’ volunteer work in projects for non-profit organizations that benefit community, sustainable development, and conservation of Costa Rican national parks and reserves. Students leave SEPA Spanish School filled with a widened perspective of themselves as people of the world, speaking Spanish with far greater confidence, purpose, and fluidity. SEPA Spanish courses advance the world of inter-communication, bringing people together from different cultures for the good of all.

 My Thoughts About SEPA and San Isidro. BY Patrick Millerd-2020.

  • Grateful thanks to everyone we met who made our visit so motivating, stimulating and memorable.
  • SEPA – Nidia, for making our short notice visit possible. Paula and Karina for being so patient and helpful.
  • Our “tico mother” Maria Elena Jimenez who cooked and cared for us, our “tico father” Gerardo Mora and the children Kevin, Kembly and little Keily. For having us in your home and having to try and communicate with us.
  • This is an experience I’d definitely recommend. As you get older you may learn more slowly and it’s more of a challenge … but it’s more than worth it! https://www.rovingretirement.com/sepa-spanish-school/


SEPA means Know! Our mission is to help you find your Spanish ‘KNOW’ from the inside out, which means learning more than just the language – it’s the global sense of being part of another culture, capable of communicating with persons in a whole different language. We are deeply committed to helping students of every age learn Spanish faster through total Spanish language immersion: living among the Costa Rican people; in a safe town; in a beautiful location; learning from excellent and caring teachers; gaining ground through our exceptional teaching methods; experiencing amazing adventures; and volunteering in non-profit organization projects that matter to our communities and the environment.

We are committed to making our spanish programs ACCESSIBLE by making them affordable and flexible, along with outstanding service. You get to decide what week you want to start and how many weeks you want to stay. You get to decide if you want a general curriculum or a custom-designed curriculum.  We make sure that you receive the very best at the best possible price.

We believe you learn best by being one of usWhen you finish the SEPA Spanish School program, not only will you speak Spanish with far greater confidence and fluency, you will have experienced a life-changing event.

 “I cannot stress how amazing it is to speak in a different language. My journey here has been educational, spiritual, and personal. Costa Rica has opened my mind to possibilities and change.”  Dusty Swarner, Oregon University, 2015


At SEPA Spanish School we are about helping you learn Spanish faster!

We are about helping you speak and understand Spanish as quickly as possible. Our highly acclaimed SEPA Spanish Language School and Environmental Center, directed and founded by Nidia Gamboa since 1998, overturns the traditional ‘seat-time’ classroom-based model of learning Spanish:

“I saw that what was missing was context. It was not enough to learn Spanish, students must live in it as well,” said Nidia Gamboa, director and founder of SEPA Language School in a recent interview.

From this ‘Ahah moment,’ Ms. Gamboa developed her three-pronged dynamic approach, ‘Study, Live, Volunteer and Enjoy,’ which has been drawing attention ever since:

  • Study: Students take dynamic, activity-based Spanish classes 5 days a week.
  • Live: Students live in a homestay with carefully chosen Spanish speaking families.
  • Volunteer and Enjoy: Students participate in meaningful projects and exciting adventures, learning while they have fun.

In the classroom, SEPA students learn grammar with the emphasis on conversation instead of the other way around. Then they take their Spanish learning ‘on the road’ by doing such activities as shopping expeditions to the market; working with students in Costa Rican public schools; working in health institutions; doing volunteer work in environmental protection; going to the bank to make a transaction; buying food in a restaurant; going to the movies; amongst other real-life, project-oriented strategies that make you learn Spanish faster and deeper.

“I liked that we did not only have class, but other activities such as going to the movies and talking in Spanish to Tico students.  I feel that I have become much more confident when talking in Spanish!”  Matthew Toulouze, OVERLAND 2015

Looking for the perfect Spanish Abroad Program for you?  Join us at SEPA Spanish School!  Click here to enroll now!

About our director:

SAN ISIDRO (6) (640x353)SEPA’S director and founder, Nidia Gamboa, brings fifteen years of experience overseeing Spanish language programs in Costa Rica.  She graduated from the National University of Costa Rica, with a major in International Relations, International Business, and post-graduate classes in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language.

Besides her formal education, she has been working with, researching and studying sustainable management of natural resources and environmental issues, which she has incorporated into the service part of her Spanish program, frequently collaborating with high school and university groups as well as individuals from all around the world to study protected areas in Costa Rica while learning Spanish.

As a matter of fact, her popular Spanish for University Credits program has helped many university students accomplish their master’s projects while learning the Spanish needed to complete their work amongst the people of Costa Rica.

“Whenever you visit a country and spend an extended period of time you remember the people.  Nidia, the SEPA Spanish School director, is a gifted linguist and business person with an environmental concern.” Gerald R. Chabot, PhD, TEACHER, PRINCIPAL, SUPERINTENDENT for 33 years

About our volunteer projects:

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SEPA School’s Spanish for Volunteers in Costa Rica

Our Spanish for Volunteers in Costa Rica projects are wide-ranged, casting a large net to capture your interests, as well as give you a chance to explore future career arenas, or further your current career area.  ‘Volunteering’ on a resume always builds character presence, making you stand out from the rest.

Besides volunteering for non-profit organizations in a third-world country, your work, shoulder-to-shoulder with native Spanish speakers, will boost your ability to speak Spanish in ways you could not have anticipated.  Best of all, when it’s your time to go home, you know you have left your mark and are appreciated for it!

Here are just a few of our most-loved volunteer programs:

  • Work to stop the destruction of the Quebrada River Basin
  • Develop environmental education for Costa Rica schools and community
  • Establish different sustainable systems to conserve flora, fauna, and water resources (sustainable economic development project)
  • Work to conserve critically endangered sea turtles (building nurseries, participating in night patrols to protect turtle eggs, measuring and tagging of turtles)
  • Help in local schools
  • Aid in the water basin protection project (FUDEBIOL)
  • Partake in reforestation projects
  • Get involved with the Bribri people (largest Indigenous Native Costa Rican Tribe)
  • Provide technical support, material, and labor for local communities
  • Aid in local clinics
  • Assist the elderly in local retirement center
  • Promote and perform conservation research
  • Volunteer in local orphanages

Learn Spanish while you leave your mark on our beautiful land!  Click here to enroll now!

About our volunteer projects for professionals:

Gerald R. Chabot, Ph.D.

Gerald R. Chabot, Ph.D.

A Technical Spanish for Professionals Program that really works!

Professional groups, wishing to use Spanish in their careers, find that our Technical Spanish for Professionals program is the catalyst needed to make it happen. SEPA Spanish School custom-designs your program to fit your career.  We have successfully worked with diverse professions, such as medical, environmental, education, and real estate career groups, to develop their target Spanish areas.

To make it a 10 out of 10 for you, your volunteer project is carefully engineered to enhance your professional focus.  Imagine the joy of having a meaningful conversation with your Spanish clients!  Add to that the benefits of writing ‘volunteer work in a Spanish third-world country‘ on your resume and you have a powerful combination.

Sign up for SEPA’s Technical Spanish for Professionals program. Let us help you grow your career!  Click here to enroll now.

About our fabulous adventures:

Looking for adventure in Costa Rica? Look no farther!

GEVIGreat adventures, such as fun trips to the beach, snorkeling, kayaking, river-rafting, hiking, soaking in hot springs, and zip-lining, to name a few, provide the frosting on the cake for your ‘Learn Spanish Abroad in Costa Rica’ quest.  Besides learning Spanish, you travel this magnificent country, under the caring guidance of our skilled staff.

Are you looking for an adventure or tour that is not in the plans?  SEPA Spanish School enjoys making these trips come true for you, helping you find the right tour and lodging to make your experience perfect. We can often find better than average prices, especially if we can get you a group rate.

Click here to sign up for SEPA Spanish Language School where you can take Spanish classes in Costa Rica and have your adventures too!


About our school site:

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Learn Spanish in Costa Rica’s most ideal location – the beautiful town of San Isidro!

SEPA Spanish School is located in the engaging valley town of San Isidro de El General, nestled in between lush mountain ranges.  From San Isidro, our Spanish for Volunteers in Costa Rica programs branch out to envelop different habitats like spokes on a wheel, including Rivas (a cozy mountain settlement); La Alfombra (a misty rainforest village); and Sabalo in the Osa Peninsula  Often, students spend a week at a time in more than one location.

Safely settled into the relatively crime-free San Isidro de El General (as opposed to the densely populated San Jose and tourist areas),  our campus includes comfortable, well-lit classrooms, a beautiful terrace surrounded by gardens and wildlife, and relaxing chat areas with Wi-Fi and internet where you can visit with friends, email, study, or just chill after a rewarding day of work and learning.

Click here to enroll now!

About our students:



How many years young are you?

Our students are of all age groups from all over the world.  We have had students as young as second grade and as ‘mature’ as 70-year-olds. Our students come in groups, or individually, from all over the world, including such countries as The United States, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, France and Holland. SEPA Spanish School is for everyone.


We take great delight in partnering with you to give you the vocabulary and language focus that you need.  Our students come from all different walks of life with all different language needs.

Our Spanish courses are tailor made for YOU…What do YOU need?

Looking for university credits in Spanish? Need to get a leg up on your high school Spanish classes? Want Survival Spanish for Travelers in Costa Rica? Spanish for Executives? Spanish for fun? A great Spanish program for kids? Spanish for volunteers? Spanish for professionals? Spanish for the whole family? Spanish for real estate? Spanish for medical and nursing programs? Learn about sustainable economic development projects? Knowledge about environmental protection? Spanish for seniors? Survival Spanish for residents and Expats?

Check out SEPA Spanish School’s unique programs!

We pride ourselves in matching our training and activities to the vocabulary you need in order to be successful in your life and your career.  If you don’t see the program you want, tell us, and we’ll design a new one just for you!

Click here to enroll now.

But wait!  That’s not all: 


We know you’re busy! That’s why we make our programs flexible. The elasticity of SEPA’s scheduling means that we can offer programs that last anywhere from one week to several semesters, even to one year – you tell us what time frame you need. We are here for you summer, spring, winter or fall!

Click here to enroll in your own program that fits your own schedule. You’ve just hit the Easy Button!

Affordable Spanish Schools

At SEPA, we are committed to making your dream to learn Spanish abroad in Costa Rica AFFORDABLE.

Environmental Protection Center

SEPA’s Environmental Protection Center is a powerful presence in Costa Rica. Watch your Spanish grow while you work side-by-side with Spanish-speaking persons who carry the same desires to make the world a better place as yourself.

Learn Spanish Faster

When you get home, you’ll be able to speak Spanish with far greater fluency and confidence…


The Spanish teachers at SEPA School are a finely-trained, bilingual cadre of graduates…