Costa Rica Past Review

By (Renewable Energy, Illinois State University) for

AIFS: San José - Universidad Veritas and Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes it was worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Pretty similar to the U.S. system for the most part.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Expectations were met, no complaints.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was satisfied with housing.

* Food:

The food was good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

San Jose, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Cartago, Volcan Irazu, Jaco, Volcan Arenal, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, Volcan Poas, La Paz, Rio Pacuare, Montezuma, and Santa Rosa were all pretty memorable.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

San Jose is probably one of the safer major cities in all of Central America, but at the end of the day that's not saying very much. If it was possible to bring it, I'd say carry a concealable handgun at all times. If not, then common sense and caution should be sufficient. Just don't take unnecessary risks.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I didn't budget the exact amount but it was very affordable.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make sure you know the difference between legitimate and counterfeit bills. And make sure you have a good grasp of the conversion rate.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none.
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

You could practice with who ever you want to. You'll need to use it in everyday interactions, but a decent amount of the locals can speak English on at least a basic level.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • International Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Host family & housemates
  • Food & climate
  • Travel opportunites
* What could be improved?
  • Pre-departure info
  • Safety info
  • Travel info
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Odds are it's cheaper than your home institution. And you're only a college student once.