The best time of my life! Past Review

By (Communication, Western Washington University) - abroad from 09/29/2013 to 12/21/2013 with

AIFS: San José - Universidad Veritas and Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I am an independent person who loves to travel and see the world. It was worth every penny and I made life long friends who see the world the same way I do.

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.

Academics within an art school are fairly easier than at a liberal arts college. A lot of group work was assigned, and the classes focused on presentations rather than exams.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I adored my host family. They really made an effort to make me feel like a part of the family, and were never afraid to speak or integrate me within family activities.

* Food:

The food was amazing. Every dinner had rice and beans, and breakfast always had fresh fruit and bread available.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

San Jose is a city full of Tico life! Local culture is found throughout the country, and you really get a sense of Central America.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Costa Rica was relatively safe. Around the city, it is important to stay alert of your surroundings at all times, especially if you are alone. A lot of robberies happen throughout the city, and being aware can be your most essential asset.

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)

Costa Rica is extremely expensive. The currency is doubled that of the United States, and going on trips every weekend, the program was not always able to provide lunches and dinners, which called for more money to spend. Keeping a budget can be difficult, especially when added activities, and night events are always being added to the schedule.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? around $200 a weekend.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan ahead for activities outside of the program. You begin to make friends, and want to explore more of the country. Some students, like myself, did more traveling outside of our host country, which cost extra money. Plan for the unexpected, because that is what costs the most.


* 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

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 302
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? Do as much practicing before hand as possible, so you will not feel overwhelmed when you arrive and suddenly everyone is speaking a different language, with a variety of accents.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • The people
  • The country
  • The traveling activities
* What could be improved?
  • The course content
  • Pre-departure Preperation
  • Budget
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How much money I was going to spend, and how much I should have practiced before hand.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.