Student Maggie Brauch from Butler University present Grandma’s recipe at Intercultural Night at UNA

The Exchange Program of Universidad Nacional (PIE) organized an Intercultural Night of Stories and Legends called in Spanish: “Noche Intercultural de Cuentos y Leyendas.” The activity took place at Museo de Cultura Popular in Barva, Heredia, a museum of culture and traditions that belongs to the University.

Costa Rica does not celebrate Halloween like other countries do; however, they have some activities where they remember and tell suspense stories and Costa Rican misterious legends like “La Llorona,” “El Cadejos,” and “La Cegua,” among others. The purpose of the activity was to reunite all the exchange students of the University in order to know Costa Rican and international students; share food, stories and have fun. The Exchange students of Universidad Nacional had the opportunity to present information in a period of 10 minutes, about their home country: a traditional dish, a story, a legend, among others.

Student Maggie Brauch from IFSA Butler University

Our IFSA student, Maggie Brauch, from Butler University, participated in all the activities of the night, and represented IFSA. She showed the Scotcheroos: typical desert from the United States that her grandmother used to prepare when she was a child. She also told a funny story about it that we will tell you in her own words: “My grandma had always made these special rice crispy treats for us and I had always thought that they were her secret recipe. I loved them so much and whenever I ate them I got that warm fuzzy feeling you get from grandma’s baking. Then one day I was eating breakfast and I found the recipe on the back of the cerial box. My inicial reaction was “Kellogs stole my grandma’s recipe!” I continued to think this until I headed off to college in the mid-west, and someone brought my grandma’s rice crispy treats to a school event. Everyone was saying. “Oh scotchoroos I love scotchoroos!” At this point I had two thoughts: 1. What are scotchoroos? and 2. People need to stop stealing my Grandma’s recipe. Of course, it turns out that my grandma’s rice crispy treats, or “scotchoroos,” are actually pretty typical in the United States, especially in the mid-west. They are super easy, delicious, and great for parties. Nonetheless, for me they will always be my grandma’s special recipe. These rice crispy treats are a little special because I couldn’t find all the ingredients. They have chocolate rice crispy treats instead of normal ones, honey instead of corn syrup, and white chocolate chips instead of butterscotch chips. You could call them scotchoroos with a with a tico twist.”

Student Maggie Brauch from IFSA Butler University
Maggie’s recipe: “Scotchoroos”
IFSA CR Director Tracy Quirós and Alejandra Bolaños IFSA CR Office Assistant

The IFSA Costa Rica office also presented a Costa Rican typical dish made of sweet corn: “Chorreadas,” that are great to have with coffee. The objective was to present the recipe and then all the assistants tasted the dishes.

Costa Rican UNA students present Tale “La Llorona”

This activity was a great moment to share and know about people from other countries and their culture. Students from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, United States and Germany presented. There was delicious food, incredible stories, interesting history notes about the countries, and even poems. The Costa Rican students from Universidad Nacional made theater performances of the misterious legend of “La Llorona.”

Costa Rican storyteller Ana Coralia Fernandez

One of the biggest surprises of the night was the participation of Ana Coralia Fernandez, a Costa Rican versatil storyteller. She is singer-songwriter, journalist and writter. She has worked most of her professional life telling stories and singing songs for children and youth; she was the perfect recipe of the night due to she is a lover of good stories. Ana Coralia, delighted us with a wonderful performance and explanation of several Costa Rica legends, but the most interesting part was when she shared personal childhood stories of 50 years ago. Her skills to add a lot of mistery and fun to her tales is what makes her unique and special for this event.

The activity closed with a delicious Costa Rican dinner that included several typical dishes like: “Gallos de papa,” “gallos de arracache,” and green plantain, among others. The assistants were also able to dance under the music of the “Cimarrona,” group that played typical Costa Rican danceable and festive music.

Unfortunately, the rest of the IFSA students were not able to participate due to classes that night or other commitments, but our lovely student Maggie was a great representative of the IFSA Program and she enchanted everyone with her funny story and delicious dessert.

IFSA Spanish Professor Mauren González, RD Tracy Quirós, IFSA student Maggie Brauch & Exchange UNA student from Germany, Carolina Suni.

Carrera Nocturna San Juan de Tibás

The student IFSA, Anastas Belev, participated in a night race in San José, specifically in the area of Tibás.
The route was 8.2 miles and crossed the main streets of Tibás. He left the park, then took the main road north to the street to follow after Llorente, went up to the church of Tibás, where the goal was.
The activity started at 7:30 pm about a thousand athletes participated.

Anastas Belev, IFSA-Butler Student Program.
Anastas Belev, IFSA-Butler Student Program.


Sarchi is the central district of the canton of Valverde Vega aka Sarchi in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica.
Sarchi is the cradle of the craft of Costa Rica and has many factories and shops that are must for tourists
Sarchi district has an area of ​​15.11 square kilometers, one including the central city area. It has a population of 6912 inhabitants.
The city lies at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level and is located on the slopes of the Cordillera Central on the eastern edge of the Central Valley. It is located 27 kilometers northwest of the center of the province of Alajuela, and 46 miles from San Jose, the national capital.
Sarchi is the most famous handicraft center of Costa Rica. The city has more than 200 shops and small factories that operate as family businesses woodworking. Produce wooden bowls, tableware, folding furniture, wooden rocking chairs and leather and a wide variety of craft items for souvernir. The most popular items are the “carts” for oxen, elaborately painted, traditionally carried the coffee from the Central Valley to the port on the Pacific coast, is now the canton where the world’s largest wagon is.


Our students from semester II 2014 National University visited this beautiful place in an Education Tour Spanish Advanced course.

Click a thumbnail to view each image larger.

IFSA Costa Rica Students participated in The Color Run Heredia


Eric Buchanan and Hilda Santiago soaked in colors after running

THECOLORRUN, well known as the happiest 5 kilometers of the planet, is the only run that includes colors around the world. It celebrates health, happiness, personality and helping the community. This is a 5 kilometers run with no time, where participants are sprayed from head to toe with different flamboyant colors each kilometer. The fun continues all the way to the end with a mixed and vivid colors party.

This Sunday Morning, August 10th Costa Rican runners participated in The Color Run and two IFSA students participated: Hilda Santiago from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Savannah Danko, Academic Year Student from Portland State University, with an Universidad Nacional student Daniel Cañas López, who is an Triathlon athlete, and joined the run. Runs have become a very popular sport in Costa Rica and IFSA students are starting to take active part in them. This is a great way to enjoy the semester: by exercising and having fun.

Continue reading IFSA Costa Rica Students participated in The Color Run Heredia

IFSA Costa Rica works with the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), a non-profit institution from the University of Costa Rica.

IFSA Costa Rica Students spent 3 days at Corcovado National Park

IFSA Costa Rica works with the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), a non-profit institution from the University of Costa Rica. OTS conducts graduate and undergraduate education, facilitates research, participates in tropical forest conservation, maintains three biological stations in Costa Rica and conducts environmental education programs. Our students were able to participate what the organization calls Bio-course, conducted to all the population to teach them about environmental matters; this bio-course “Natural Wonders of Península de Osa” gave students the opportunity to know about plants, three and animals of that area.

Mario García García, specialist in natural resources and botanist from the Universidad de Costa Rica and Helenia Salazar Herrera, coordinator of the Biocurses of the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), were excelent liders. They motivated students, guided them and taught them many things with good chemistry.

Continue reading IFSA Costa Rica Students spent 3 days at Corcovado National Park

Luis Guillermo Solís and Johnny Araya head to April 6 runoff after close Costa Rica vote

Elections 2014

María Isabel Sánchez | AFP



Citizen Action Party candidate Luis Guillermo Solís faces a crowd of supporters after delivering an impassioned speech following Sunday night’s vote. Solís shocked many by placing first.Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Center-left presidential candidate Luis Guillermo Solís will battle ruling party candidate Johnny Araya in a runoff on April 6 after Solís shocked many in this small Central American country by taking first place in preliminary results released late Sunday night.

Solís, a 55-year-old historian and candidate from the Citizen Action Party, had placed only as high as third and fourth places in national polling. But he captured 30.8 percent of Sunday’s vote, overtaking Araya’s 29.6 percent, with nearly 80 percent of total votes counted, according to the country’s Supreme Elections Tribunal.

“We will govern for Costa Rica. Not one step backward, only forward,” Solís told a euphoric crowd of supporters at a post-vote rally in eastern San José. “We’re going to win, because we are a people who decided to change.”

Thousands of supporters waving the party’s red and yellow banners shouted in response to Solís’ fiery come-from-behind speech.

Just minutes before, Araya, the 56-year-old former mayor of San José from the ruling National Liberation Party, recognized his campaign had come up short after earlier promising to capture one million votes – which would have put him over the 40 percent of votes needed to avoid a runoff. Araya didn’t even capture half that number.

National Liberation Party candidate Johnny Araya delivers an election night speech after placing second behind Citizen Action Party candidate Luis Guillermo Solís. The two will face each other in an April runoff.Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Most polls in Costa Rica had predicted that Araya’s main challenger would be leftist candidate José María Villalta of the Broad Front Party. But with only 17 percent of the votes, Villalta came in a distant third.

“The electoral results have left no doubt that we still haven’t given enough clear signals to the Costa Rican people that we want responsible change in Costa Rica,” Araya said. The former mayor alluded to the difficulty his campaign has faced in separating the candidate from the current administration of President Laura Chinchilla, who has poor approval ratings.

In 2005, Solís left the National Liberation Party, saying it had “lost its soul.”

The elections authority has yet to announce final results, but a second-round vote on April 6 is likely.

Just as surprising as Solis’ strong finish was Villalta’s lower-than-expected vote tally. The 36-year-old lawmaker had solid momentum going into Sunday’s vote, with many pollsters believing he could take Araya to a second round.

In an emotional concession speech, Villalta said he faced “a brutal fear campaign” by opponents who compared him to the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez, but that, “it is clear that the people have spoken and we are going to respect what they’ve said.” Villalta said he had hoped to capture many more votes.

Costa Rica’s elections, which were peaceful, showed a growing polarization among progressive and conservative voters.

Although he lost, Villalta said his young party had “a promising future,” and would play a strong role in the Legislative Assembly, where the party could capture at least 10 of 57 seats. Before tonight’s election, Villalta was the Broad Front Party’s sole lawmaker.

Villalta’s and Solis’ messages of fighting corruption and addressing growing social inequality resonated among many in the country, following what both Villalta and Solís have characterized as 30 years of “neoliberal” rule.

Chinchilla, whose administration is the least popular in the past two decades, leaves behind a fiscal deficit of 5.4 percent, public debt that tops 50 percent of gross domestic product, and a polarized society that has the unfortunate distinction of showing the greatest economic inequality in Latin America in 2013.

Araya unsuccessfully tried to distance himself from Chinchilla’s administration, promising to reactivate the economy and reduce poverty, which has remained at 20 percent for two decades.

Araya promised a “sincere effort” to renovate his party and return to its social democratic roots.

The next president, who will take office May 8, will need to be a strong negotiator to face a divided Assembly, said analyst Manuel Rojas. “He won’t be able to govern alone with just his party, which has been the recent reality.”

The voter abstention rate in Sunday’s election hovered between 32-34 percent of 3.1 million voters, consistent with the previous two presidential elections.

Article taken from the newspaper: TicoTimes:


Esta práctica favorece la buena salud y ‘control’ de porciones y dieta

También permite ‘llevar el pulso’ emocional de los miembros de familia

 Comer en familia (como lo hace esta en Guadalupe) permite estrechar los vínculos entre sus miembros. Además, las sanas conversaciones pueden ayudar a calmar  el estrés. | ARCHIVO
Comer en familia (como lo hace esta en Guadalupe) permite estrechar los vínculos entre sus miembros. Además, las sanas conversaciones pueden ayudar a calmar el estrés. | ARCHIVOampliar

Las épocas son otras, llenas de ocupaciones y falta de tiempo. Como consecuencia se ha reducido la frecuencia con que las familias se sientan a la mesa para comer. Ya sea por horarios que no coinciden o un general desinterés, muchas se están perdiendo los beneficios de compartir una cena.

Según recientes estudios psicológicos, el comedor no es solo un lugar para disfrutar del alimento; es también un espacio para compartir tiempo de calidad con los seres queridos. Por eso, los expertos coinciden en cinco razones y consejos para formar o recuperar el hábito de comer juntos.

Mejor nutrición y planificación. Según una investigación de expertos de la Universidad de la Florida, tener comidas en familia “con frecuencia puede tener un efecto positivo en la nutrición de sus miembros pues da la posibilidad de controlar mejor las porciones”.

Esta práctica ayuda a incluir en cada plato una variedad de alimentos saludables y aumentar la proporción de comida sana que se ingiere por semana, señala.

Planear con antelación los alimentos en familia, también puede ser muy útil.

Merendar juntos ofrece el momento ideal para hacer planes, reforzar lazos y aprender el uno del otro, aseguran los especialistas.

Compartir información y acontecimientos importantes de la vida de cada miembro, así como dar un poco más de atención a los hijos, son cosas que se facilitan con este tiempo, pero, para que ese entorno sea el mejor, lo óptimo es eliminar todas las distracciones posibles.

Apagar el televisor y dejar los teléfonos celulares en otra habitación puede ser clave, así como aprovechar el tiempo para conocer cómo están los demás y compartir historias del día (o del pasado), sin distractores, son pasos que aseguran un buen rato, dice la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS).

Los científicos sugieren que los “encuentros familiares a la mesa” sean tan frecuentes como sea posible. Eso sí, en cada caso conviene que los miembros del clan “pacten” cuáles tiempos de comida les gustaría disfrutar juntos, en días seleccionados, para así tomar las previsiones necesarias.

Si bien es poco probable que se puedan compartir todas las comidas de la semana en grupo, algunos sugieren proponerse metas, como, por ejemplo, cenar semanalmente en familia una o dos veces.

Formación de buenos hábitos. Acostumbrarse a la comida preparada en casa, ayuda a moldear hábitos saludables en los más pequeños, quienes aprenden a formar un plato balanceado, a controlar sus porciones y a preferir los alimentos caseros a la comida rápida.

Estudios publicados en revistas como Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) y Social Behavior and Personality, coinciden en que los adolescentes también pueden aprovechar para aprender a cocinar y reducir las veces en que comerán fuera cuando vivan por su cuenta.

La Clínica del Adolescente ofrece otro consejo: que en lugar de comprar platillos preparados, se aproveche para que toda la familia ayude a prepararlos. Como práctica, puede comenzar realizando las compras también junto al resto de familiares.

Finalmente, los psicólogos coinciden en que hay más oportunidad de ver señales de alerta en el comportamiento o en el bienestar de un familiar, cuando se comparte tiempo con frecuencia. Por ejemplo, problemas de desórdenes alimentarios o escolares, son más fáciles de detectar en el comedor de la casa.

Siempre en la línea de calidad de vida, un estudio de la Universidad Brigham Young, en los Estados Unidos, reveló que comer en familia puede incluso ayudar a las madres a bajar sus niveles de estrés. Eso, siempre que se pongan reglas y que la comida familiar no sea momento de peleas.

Para lograrlo se sugiere establecer previamente reglas muy básicas de convivencia, como no alzar la voz y no promover enfrentamientos entre los miembros.

Tomado del periódico La Nación, Artículo de ASSON CLARKE – Actualizado el 15 de octubre de 2013 a: 12:00 a.m.

San José se alista para su fiesta de los 200 años

Actividades culturales, baile e historia en la capital.

El 18 de octubre de 1813 se publicó el decreto emitido por las Cortes de Cádiz, en el cual se declara  a San José “Ciudad”, por lo cual la municipalidad se apresta para celebrar estos 200 años con diversas actividades culturales entre el 9 al 19 de este mes.

Música y luz. El Teatro Nacional será el escenario de la inauguración de la actividad. Miguel Rojas.
El Teatro Nacional es de los principales íconos arquitectónico de la ciudad y del país. ampliar



Sandra García Pérez, alcaldesa de la municipalidad de San José, informó este viernes en adn 90.7 FM que la primera actividad será un concierto con la Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Costa Rica el  miércoles 9 de octubre a las 7 p. m. en el auditorio del Museo de los Niños.

El viernes 18 a las 9 a. m. en el edificio Scaglietti,  al costado este del Banco Central  se develizará  el mosaico que reproduce la ermita alrededor de la cual se erigió la ciudad. Acto seguido se realizará una tertulia sobre San José con Andrés Fernández, arquitecto y cronista;  Alfonso Chase, escritor y Premio Magón, así como el periodista y escritor Manuel Delgado.

Ese mismo viernes a las 11 a. m.  en el parque Morazán se efectuará un baile popular gratuito para el disfrute de la población en general y a las 7 p. m. se realizará la “Serenata Bajo la Lluvia” en el Templo de la Música en el Parque Morazán.

En los afiches y el logotipo de promoción de las actividades aparecen íconos de la capital como la biblioteca multicultural, la botica Solera, el Teatro Nacional, La Iglesia de la Merced, el templo de la música y el Estadio Nacional.


Incredible Video Footage Shows Costa Rica Tour Operators Feeding Crocodiles

Crocodile-Tour-Costa-Rica-183x200Posted by  on September 30, 2013 in Costa RicaEntertainment News

Watching an enormous crocodile approaching from a river bank is enough to make most of us run a mile.

But not for these intrepid tour guides who give a completely new meaning to the phrase “staring danger in the face”.

The astonishing video below shows the men standing just inches from the giant reptiles as they hand feed them chunks of chicken.

Jose Eduardo Chaves Salas, 32, runs Jose’s Crocodile River Tour on the Tarcoles River in Costa Rica, where tourists regularly watch him feed crocs up to 17-ft long.

He said: “At first it’s very scary to be next to these huge creatures in their natural habitat, but with time and practice you lose the nerves and get used to it. When you have the experience I do, you find ways to lessen the danger.”

Jose and his team make sure they are consistent in their interactions with the crocs, and steer clear if they are protecting their babies or very hungry as they can be more aggressive in such situations.

“I have never had any close calls or misses and I will keep it that way,” Jose added.

Jose and his team slap the water with pieces of meat to create noise and vibrations which attract the crocs, before leaving the security of the boat to feed them from the bank.

The incredible images show just how close Jose and his team get to the aquatic predators as they dangle hunks of chicken above their gaping jaws.

One shot even shows a member of Jose’s crew giving the thumbs-up as he poses on the back of a live croc.

The croc whisperers are based in the town of Tarcoles, in Central Pacific Costa Rica, around an hour’s drive from the capital of San José where Jose was born.

Despite their terrifying reputation, the Costa Rican is keen to dispel the idea that crocodiles are aggressive and out-of-control.

“They are not violent or dangerous if you are knowledgeable about them and know how to work with them,” Jose said.

Click here to watch video!