Dear David and Zaida:

After eight years of working with you, I find my decision to retire as bittersweet. I regret the fact that we will no longer be working together planning adventures for students. From the very beginning when I first emailed IPED asking for more information I knew that you were going to be a good match for Hinds Community College. David, you were so quick to respond to my emails and so careful to thoroughly
answer each and every one of my questions. That type of attention from both of you never changed over the years. I could always depend on your thorough responses, your honest assessments, your well thought out recommendations, and your overall kindness and caring for our students and faculty. Zaida, you were and still are an extraordinary woman. Your energy and enthusiasm are contagious and were certainly most appreciated when we were on the last leg of our study tour and so needed the bolstering you provided. The cooking classes you conducted were always entertaining and the students loved every minute of the preparation and, of course, the final tasting. What I appreciated the most was the way I could present an itinerary and learning objectives to you and you would take it and run with it! Before I knew it you had three different learning experiences to choose from for each objective. The only difficulty for me was narrowing it down to one! My absolute favorite study tour in Costa Rica was the Art and Culture Program. We brought four teachers, two art and two sociology plus 15 students to Costa Rica for 10 days. As always, you and David met us at the airport with exceptional transportation (Exceptional in this case means that not only was it comfortable, but it was able to accommodate all of our luggage!). This turned out to be very important because as when we were driving into Heredia an earthquake hit and the streets were flooding. Quite a beginning to experiencing Tican culture! From that moment on we met famous Tican artists, and participated in drawing, painting and sculpture lessons. We visited the elderly and orphans, taking art to them and learning about their culture. Nature was not left out of our adventure, either, as we traveled to La Paz Cataratas, Volcan Poas, and the thermal hot springs in La Fortuna. David worked hard to be sure that our host family stays were pleasant. Our students, by the end of the 10 days, felt like their mama Ticas were their second mothers. All of us felt so taken care of, secure, and loved.

 I recommend IPED very, very highly to anyone and everyone who is interested in visiting Costa Rica. You, David and Zaida, are the most loving, honest and trustworthy people I have had the pleasure of working with over my 28 years at Hinds Community College. Additionally, you are fun and a pleasure to know.

 I want to wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors. I miss you terribly
and look forward to our next adventure together!


Your friend and colleague,


Kristi Sather-Smith
Hinds Community College Honors Institute Dean, Emeritus


It was a pleasure to spend two full weeks in Heredia studying Spanish at IPED.
Prior to my arrival, I had never visited Heredia and knew of IPED only through its website and the

positive recommendations from past students listed there. I didn't know what to expect, but I can safely say that the experienced exceeded my expectations.

As a Spanish professor who lives in the United States, I was hoping to have a vigorous "workout" that would stretch my oral proficiency. The instructor you assigned to me, Tatiana, was both patient and engaging, and impressed me with both the depth and breadth of her cultural and literary knowledge. I would recommend this experience to any teacher or professor seeking an intensive language brush-up, for any period of time. Having interacted with other students at other ability levels, I have no doubt 
that the experience afforded to all your students is equally engaging and informative.

Perhaps the strongest feature of the IPED language program is the personal commitment of you both in the progress and comfort of each student. From David's walking tour of Heredia (as lived by the locals) to Zaida's cooking demonstrations, to assistance with planning weekend trips, to evenings-out for Latin jazz in San José, as well as numerous other special extras, IPED and its directors and faculty offer a truly special product to which I can give only my highest praise. Thanks again!


Richard E. Morris, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Spanish & Linguistics
Advisor of Linguistic Studies
Foreign Languages & Literatures Department
Middle Tennessee State University




"David and Zaida's dedication and selflessness have truly impressed me.  Without their generosity and help I never would have learned so much Spanish and still had so much fun in only three weeks.  Learning a language in its native country is absolutely the best way to do it.  I am no longer too timid to try and speak Spanish because of my wonderful experiences with my homestay and elsewhere in Heredia. I especially want to thank Tony, my teacher, for his patience and his humor. If I ever have the opportunity to do this again I would definitely return to IPED."
Dania Wiezbicki


We very fortunate to have come to IPED. It is so hard to decide between programs when trying to evaluate them from afar. However, all of the testimonials IPED has received are well deserved. David and Zaida give each student such personal attention. Zaida was our teacher, and she is very professional and experienced. They helped us set up childcare for our 3 year old and were a great help in planning our travels in Costa Rica.

The teacher for our children ages 9 and 12 was excellent as well. She kept the children entertained and learning for the entire month. I would recommend IPED without reservation. The teaching is excellent and people are a pleasure to be with.

Gordon Wheat


Our family's experience has been a very positive one. We started our 6 month stay in Costa Rica with three weeks intensive language study for ourselves and the beginning of weekly lessons for our daughters Lizzie (12) and Caroline (8). We quickly discovered that David and Zaida's efforts towards successful experiences for their students went well beyond the classroom. Each of us felt a special connection to this school and its personnel and we have enjoyed cooking and dance lessons as well as numerous social contacts. Some of our most meaningful learning about Costa Rican culture and values has come from our firsthand experiences with this "family". We are sad to leave but comforted by the knowledge that we've made some good friends at Costa Rica's IPED.

Thank You,

Chris, Peyton, Lizzie and Caroline


"What a great place!  The people at IPED are supportive in more ways than  just teaching a language.  I felt  very much a part of a close community of friends who cared.  What also made a great impression was the effort made by the staff to meet the needs of each individual."

Ojala que regrese para aprender mas.

Ruth Tjerandsen


"IPED is a complete comprehensive learning experience. David and Zaida go beyond providing language training. IPED is a cultural experience about Tico lifestyles including food, customs and dance. The homestay is a valuable component of the program,  reinforcing language skills and cultural understanding. I feel fortunate to have found a language school  with caring people and staff. I suffered from Spanish language acquisition anxiety and believe the IPED experience has provided me with a good foundational start".  


Tom Walsh


"We have had a great time.  The homestay has been absolutely wonderful. Doña Lilliana has helped us (with language, search for housing etc.)  and truly befriended us. And we have learned so much form the classes  Meanwhile, we have really appreciated how  IPED's staff has been concerned with all of our needs and problems. You have defined your job as assisting with all aspects of daily life of which language is one central aspect."

Thank you.

Don Goldstein , Marcia Metcall,  Jessa and Jonas  Goldstein


"I came to Costa Rica to better my Spanish and I chose IPED primarily for the location.  Everything is accessible from here. I took the 6 week course and I never thought my Spanish would improve so much in that time. The culture here allows you to interact with the Ticos, which will enhance your overall perspective of the country and of course living with a family in a homestay is a great way to learn the culture.  There are so many things to do in Costa Rica that if you don't spend at least a few months here, you'll want to come back for sure."
Daniel Brooke


"My two week stay here in Costa Rica and at IPED has been terrific.  The amount of personal attention we received from the instructor in the classroom and from David and Zaida was amazing.  Everyone here worked to ensure that our personal goals for our trip were met. As a result, I feel much more comfortable with  my Spanish in just 2 weeks and have enjoyed my stay here in Costa Rica.  My homestay family was also very welcoming and  accommodating and certainly enhanced the cultural experience"
Vivek  Arora


"In my 2 weeks at IPED I learned more Spanish than I thought I could. My professors were excellent,  and the small groups of students facilitated rapid learning. David and Zaida went out of their way to make my experience a good one and I appreaciate greatly their effort.  I would recommend IPED to other  students wishing to learn Spanish. My host family was very nice and  I appreciate that they welcomed me into their home for the two weeks I spent here."
James Driscoll


My time here in Costa Rica has been amazing! I feel like my Spanish has improved tremendously and that I am now very comfortable speaking. The best part was my family. They are very real and down to earth and have made a lasting impression in my mind. I hope to keep in touch with them and one day return to both IPED and Lilliana's . The school experience was wonderful. I was a little apprehensive that we would only do grammar stuff but I was so thrilled with learning about the legends and histories of different countries. And learning the slang words was definitely a plus. But the best part was definitely the cooking classes! Being invited into your home and learning so many new things was wonderful. Thank you for all of your extra help.

Katie Bisaga


My stay here at IPED for these past 3 weeks has been the best. I learned a lot of Spanish in class and have greatly improved. I really liked how Zaida always asked if we thought we were learning enough, how we were doing in class, how we enjoyed are homestay etc... Zaida and David really care about our stay here to be the best and are always willing to give their most. The homestay was excellent as well. The family was warm and friendly. I am definitely going to return to IPED in the future with a family of my own! I will miss Zaida y David.

Avanee Patel


David, Zaida, Thank you so much for an awesome month here in Heredia. These four weeks have been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not only did I learn massive amounts of vocabulary ( thanks to my omnipresent blue cuaderno), but also made some great friends and explored a beautiful country at the some time. Compared to Virginia which is of course the most beautiful state in America, Costa Rica still surpasses my mountains, the mountains here are still a little rugged, a little untouched and that makes them even prettier, although the bus rides are the worse for it! Before I got here I didn't know what to expect, and the program completely surprised me. This was the most relaxing month I've spent in a long time so laid back! Thanks for putting me with Luis's family -better people don't exist. In short, thank you guys for everything! And be prepared I'm coming back.

Alexandra Bourque