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Monday, July 18, 2016

A Semester at TIDE Academy, Costa Rica

Last fall we decided to transform our life a bit.  I have always loved that my children were bilingual and I thought if there was a way,  and we were able to do it, why not encourage a third language - Spanish.  After researching Spanish speaking countries, the obvious choice became Costa Rica.  We had been there before, we knew the area we liked and TIDE Academy could accommodate our children’s curriculum and our travel schedule.

 So, with high hopes and flip flops we headed to Tamarindo. 

 We rented a three bedroom downtown condo in Pacific Park and stayed less than a month there.  I thought the proximity to the school and to Langosta (a less touristy town) would be ideal.  Ooops!  Pacific Park is in an extremely lively neighborhood, surrounded by bars.  Certainly not the atmosphere my children needed to be in.  So, after much hunting around I found a three bedroom home in Langosta and our life found normalcy again.

Unfortunately, that was short lived.  Serge returned to Quebec three weeks into our stay in Costa Rica and suffered from a heart attack.  The obvious decision was for all of us to return home.  But, after discussing all options Serge and I decided that the kids and I would remain in Tamarindo while he recuperated at our home in Dunham.  He wanted a quiet atmosphere and he wanted us to continue with our “project”.

 Days whizzed by as the children became more and more involved in school and the community.  TIDE accommodated their individual needs and they were able to keep up with their Quebec curriculum and take additional courses offered to them by TIDE.  They loved it.  They grew.  They spoke Spanish.  

And the pièce de résistance – they learned to surf.  

Surfing became their passion.   If they were not doing it at school, Jamy, Momo and Jaden were learning with our friend and instructor Matias on the weekends.   What better way to spend off time than on a board in beautiful surroundings.  

I cannot say enough about our “project” and about the people we met along the way.  People who took that leap, who dropped everything in their “home country” and just went for it.  People who have made Costa Rica their second home and who are fortunate enough to go back each year to a place they love and contribute to. 

Would we do it again? Absolutely without hesitation.  It was the best “project" we have ever done with our children and for their education.  I would encourage anyone who is open to an alternative lifestyle, and who has an open mind about giving their children a non-traditional education, to go for it.  That almost sounds funny reading that last statement back in my mind.  What is non-traditional?  Must we always adhere to traditional schooling?  Shouldn’t we be occasionally thinking outside the box?  Shouldn’t our children know there are options?  I think definitely yes!  I want to teach my children that it is not enough to be a small fish in a big ocean.  They need to be that multi colored fish that can swim anywhere and feel that they can belong anywhere.

We miss you Costa Rica, we miss TIDE and all those who belong to it and promote it.   Until we see you all again – hasta la vista!!

If you are interested in taking your children to this beautiful country or if you would like more information on TIDE Academy, please do not hesitate to contact me.   Below is a video, shot by the TIDE students, highlighting their school, all that it offers and what it means to them.