Unbelievable! August 28, 2019

By (Eastern Illinois University) - abroad from 01/05/2019 to 05/04/2019 with

API (Academic Programs International): San Jose - Universidad Veritas

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained confidence, intelligence, and a better sense of awareness of the world around me.

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 teaching style was quite a bit different, but overall was an enjoyable challenge and allowed me to learn in ways I never have before.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site administration was very helpful to me as I was changing classes and answered all my questions.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was terrific, they made delicious homecooked meals and were very welcoming people. I had no troubles while staying with them.

* Food:

I am not a very picky eater, and I wanted to try new things while in Costa Rica, so I had no problems adjusting to the food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I feel like my host family did a great job integrating me into their culture, but I had a harder time connecting with locals, especially because my Spanish is not great.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health care issues, so I had no problems while away.

* Safety:

I personally had no issues with safety, but the city is known for being more dangerous. People are also often pick-pocketed.

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

I ended up having such a great time, I wouldn't want to change a thing, even though this was my second choice program.

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)

Because food was provided for you, that really helped me cut back on my spending. On the other hand, if I wanted to travel on my own that ate up quite a bit of my money I had saved. The most important thing is to prioritize what you want to do most to make sure you have enough.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about $100 a week.

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

My classes were in English so I did not have to speak Spanish during school, but mostly everyone around me spoke Spanish outside of school, so that really helped me pick some things up.

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? I had four years of high school spanish
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? I suggest maybe trying to brush up on your skills before you leave for your study abroad country, so you do not get there and are completely lost

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people
  • The locations
  • The beauty
* What could be improved?
  • Integrating with locals
  • Better placement into language classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I practiced Spanish before leaving for Costa Rica, and I also wished I got in a little bit better shape for all the hiking I ended up doing.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Freshwater Ecology

Course Department: Biology
Instructor: Sonia Gamboa
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I took this class as an independent study. I needed it as a requirement, but I never expected to enjoy it so much. Sonia was a great teacher and truly helpful. She provided me with really cool research opportunities that were incredible and enlightening
Credit Transfer Issues: I had no issues transferring credits, I just had to make sure my courses were approved.