The ups, downs, and internal growth of travel. Past Review

By (Wildlife Biology and Spanish, Frostburg State University) - abroad from 08/31/2013 to 12/21/2013 with

CEA CAPA Education Abroad: San Jose, Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned more about other people, culture, and myself. I also learned more about the Spanish language and traveling. It was definitely worthwhile.

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.

The Spanish classes were excellent, but many of the extracurricular classes felt like the teacher and university were not taking us seriously. I also did not like that none of our classes were with the natives.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Maggie and Leo are absolutely the best. They are helpful, loving, and they sincerely want us to immerse ourselves and discover the culture in ever possible way.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My family was wonderful. They were helpful, loving, and spoke to me and made me feel included. My mama tica also made the best food

* Food:

If you like fruit, vegetables, rice, beans, and fruit juice then the food is absolutely awesome! However there are a good deal of fast food chains that I did not expect to be there.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I still felt a bit outside of it, but for the most part I felt like I was a part of the area.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was only slightly sick, but my family was great about it. I also had medicine for travelers diarrhea.

* Safety:

There was A LOT of theft, especially in the neighborhoods that the exchange students stayed in. Don't walk after dark, especially alone. And be aware of who is around you.

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)

If you want to travel, it gets to be pretty expensive.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $200 due to travel.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat out less, go to the grocery store.


* 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? A 300 level, but it is amazing how much I didn't know and still do not know.
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? Use it. Just use it. With your family and friends and anyone around. Don't be afraid to mess up, just try.

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?
  • My host family
  • The people in my program
  • The ability to travel a lot
* What could be improved?
  • Safety and security (although my program was the only one to really make an effort after the thefts)
  • Events with interactions with locals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It takes more than a few months to really learn a language.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!