¡Pura Vida! September 12, 2022

By (Spanish Education, Winona State University) - abroad from 05/14/2022 to 07/23/2022 with

Arcos Learning Abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica (International Polytechnic University)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile! I learned so much about the language, culture, and my abilities.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Professors were knowledgeable and courses were fun! Really great student to professor ratio. Classes never exceeded 10 students and more often than not were around 5 per class on average.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program directors were incredible. They were so fun, caring, and organized! They were also very knowledgeable and pushed students to speak Spanish.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host family! I can't even put in words how loving they were and how great of an experience it was.

* Food:

Delicious! But I'll be honest, rice and beans are a Costa Rican staple and are had every day!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The language barrier was hard sometimes, but it was a great way to practice Spanish.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There were some students who tested positive for Covid and all the right precautions were taken in response.

* Safety:

I felt safe in the host country/city and the program made sure to give advice and resources to stay safe.

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

I would choose Arcos and Costa Rica again in a heartbeat! But I'd also be willing to try another country that Arcos has programs in.


* 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)

The program included meals at the home stay, and cultural activities and excursions. The only things I bought was occasionally food/snacks and souvenirs.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Get a debit/credit card w/o international fees if you can. Exchanging cash at a bank was way more difficult than using an ATM.


* 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

Most of the time encouraged speaking in 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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Higher 400 level college courses
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 everything in the language. Read, journal, watch TV, use your phone, etc.

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
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?
  • Excursions/Cultural Activities
  • On-Site Directors
  • Host Family
* What could be improved?
  • Encouraging students to speak in Spanish
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That study abroad is not that scary!

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.