MI CORAZON SIEMPRE! December 14, 2018

By (Howard University) - abroad from 01/06/2018 to 04/06/2018 with

AIFS: San José - Universidad Veritas and Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Adjustability, fluency, openness, self-awareness

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.

The professors were super helpful, understanding, creative, and genuinely interesting! I learned so much about the culture and even got to go on a few field trips. The course load was reasonable, but I actually enjoyed doing the assignments and got to conduct and present research while learning about really interesting topics.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administrators did an amazing job of making us all feel welcome on campus, plus there were plenty of activities and extra-curricular to participate in. Karla, Catalina, and Ferina from AIFS were always available, nice, funny, and gave great advice. The counselor, Pamela at Veritas, is one of the best and super helpful!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I LOVE my host mother - always will. She only speaks Spanish, so it was challenging to understand her at first, but we grew very close and she made me feel like part of the family. Her cooking was delicious and she helped me practice my speaking skills and complete homework assignments. I felt completely happy about where I lived.

* Food:

DELICIOUS!! My mama tica and the housekeeper Lucy can really throw down!!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I think I could have done a better job at going to more cultural activities, but there were definitely plenty of opportunities. Festivals, spoken words, performances, etc. - always something to do and I learned a lot about the people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I actually got an ear infection from swimming in the ocean, but the AIFS staff (shout-out Karla!) brought me to the clinic and made sure I got what I needed. Definitely on par with the service at home and I felt better once I took the medication. I didn't need any specific vaccines except for the regular checkup and tuberculosis shot.

* Safety:

There were a few incidents with other students - I believe one was robbed, but we live in a city so it honestly wasn't very different from living in D.C. The houses are gated because people know that American students live there, so it's better to be safe than sorry. In general, be very aware of your surroundings and please, don't be loud or alone at night. Do anything you would do back home (protect your purse, don't take out expensive equipment, go out with a group, etc.), and don't be afraid to ask for help from friends and your host family.

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

No complaints really, I genuinely had the time of my life and would do it all over again!

Finances

* 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)

I definitely got a bang for my buck - traveled a lot, explored the city and beaches, and food was affordable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40 maybe? Not a whole lot
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Set up a budget for yourself early and stick to it. It's definitely easier to spend money while you're there. Plan to get plenty of souvenirs for friends and family cause you'll want to get them, but don't forget about expenses for when you return back home!

Language

* 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? Beginner
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? N/A
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? TALK TO YOUR HOST FAMILY IN SPANISH! Talk to students, order food, wherever you go, use your Spanish!! You won't forget your first language, but if you don't practice Spanish, you'll forget it. USE IT!!

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?
  • Everything
  • Refer to A
  • Refer to B
* What could be improved?
  • Cost of Nicaragua trip was pretty high
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That learning a language is more about meaning than technicality/grammar and making mistakes is okay!

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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

LGBT Diversity and Inclusion

Course Department:
Instructor: Helen Temple
Instruction Language: English
Comments: SUCH A GREAT PROFESSOR!!! We did so many presentations and research that actually personalized the information and I learned so much. Our field trips were fun and I always loved coming to class. A million times better than some of my classes at my home institution. I love her, please take her course!!
Credit Transfer Issues: Of course, it's Howard. Plan early and stay on top of the registrar's office!! Show up day after day, take down names, and send emails after every interaction for a paper trail. It's annoying but necessary.