A positive challenging experience that has changed my life. Past Review

By (Spanish Language Teacher Education., Covenant College) - abroad from 01/14/2014 to 04/26/2014 with

BestSemester: San Jose - Latin American Studies Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a knowledge about the world outside of the U.S., but know I still have a lot to learn. I gained an appreciation for differences in culture and people and learned to love that difference. I am less black-and-white now and feel like I have more room to give grace. It was the most worthwhile thing I've done.

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.

Academically, we had plenty of reading and homework that went along with our cultural seminars and our Spanish classes, but it was very manageable. LASP is all about learning in the streets and homes of Costa Rica as well as the classroom, so while it is an academically rigorous program, I did not feel that that was the focus.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The professors at LASP are awesome. They have experience living in Costa Rica and working with students who have no idea what they're getting themselves into and are so helpful. I felt like I was close to each one of them by the end of the semester and appreciate all they did for their students while we were there.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I really enjoyed all three of the host homes I stayed in. Every student has a different experience, but I connected with each of my families very quickly and they all adopted me as one of their own while I was with them. They truly are family to me now and I am so grateful to have those relationships in my life.

* Food:

I loved Costa Rican food. It was fairly simple but very generous and delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The cultural immersion internship really hit this point home for me. All the students spend a month on their own with families that live all over the country, with little contact with other students and professors. However, I got to experience things that were 100% Costa Rican and felt 'tico' by the end of my stay with my family.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no major health complications and did not access any health services while in Costa Rica.

* Safety:

It's always important to be smart when in another country, but Costa Rica is a fairly safe and easy country to navigate and live in. The Ticos are extremely friendly and easy to talk to. I rarely felt unsafe.

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)

I came back to the U.S. with more money than I was anticipating. I did not go out often for food, but felt that it was very reasonable when I did.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Between $20-$40


* 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

Living in host homes and going to Spanish classes for 6+ weeks truly forced you into learning to hear and speak the language. I wish we had spoken it a little more at LASP, but I understand that not everyone has the same level of language knowledge, so it was not an issue.

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? A 300 level course on Hispanic Literature.
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? Be diligent in speaking with your family.

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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Living with host families
  • Taking Spanish classes from native speakers
  • Time to be independent for travel and exploring
* What could be improved?
  • More group travel/study trips
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had been able to articulate my beliefs and opinions more strongly and concisely with my fellow students and my host families.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'