Loved AIFS and Costa Rica! Past Review

By (Communications, Washington State University - Pullman campus) - abroad from 01/10/2011 to 04/29/2011 with

AIFS: San José - Universidad Veritas and Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The friends I made and the cultural experiences I had definitely made it totally whorthwhile!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The Spanish classes were very intense and I learned a lot! All of the teachers were great and very willing to help students. The elective classes were pretty easy and minimal homework, while I still felt like a learned a lot.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Overall it was very good, although I noticed some people had trouble figuring out academic credit transfers, etc. between Veritas and their school at home. I'm not sure if that was the program administration's fault, however.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Very good, the families were friendly and fun. Go into it with an open mind and you will love it!

* Food:

Loved the food. My family always had homeade food for us and it was always a traditional Costa Rican meal including fresh veggies and lots of gallo pinto!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I didn't spend as much time with other Costa Rican students as I might have liked, but through the trips and time I spent there I felt fairly integrated.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a couple of health problems while there (don't drink the water in Nicaragua) and from my program director to the doctors at the hospital, I felt well taken care of and it was very accessible.

* Safety:

For study abroad students, there are some risks but it is easy to stay safe if you are aware of them. Simple things like don't have your iPod out while walking around and don't bring your laptop to class, ALWAYS leave it at your host family's house. I did have a few friends get things stolen, but if you take precautions you will be fine. Don't walk alone at night and don't flaunt electronics are the main things.

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)

It was very easy to live on a student's budget. Even on the days I ate out, food and entertainment is much cheaper there than at home. Going on trips on the weekend was also very affordable via bus and staying in hostels.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30-$50 (not including weekend trips)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you have a set amount of money when you get to your host country, budget out how much you can spend each week and be sure not to go over it. Be sure to account for things like trips and souveniers, etc.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I was only allowed to speak Spanish in my Spanish classes, and I only spoke Spanish at home with my host family as well.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 307 at WSU
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Use it as much as possible, and don't be afraid to make mistakes!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Traveling
  • Friends I made
  • Experiencing another culture and learning the language
* What could be improved?
  • Communication between the host families and the program directors
  • Availability of travel options for weekends when not traveling with the program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It is not safe to walk alone downtown or at night for people who are obviously American students, because although I never had trouble, I know several people that were mugged on their way home at night or while walking downtown.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:


Course Department:
Instructor: Helen Temple
Instruction Language: English
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Human Rights

Course Department:
Instructor: Helen Temple
Instruction Language: English
Credit Transfer Issues: