Try new things, Learn the language and culture, PURA VIDA! Past Review

By (Spanish Language, Literature, Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville) - abroad from 07/06/2015 to 07/31/2015 with

CEA CAPA Education Abroad: San Jose, Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was definitely worthwhile! I wish it could have been longer, but even with just the 4 week program I learned so much about the culture and the city, as well as improved my spanish skills and took adventures.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CEA is a great program! They are always extremely helpful! They want you to have a great experience here, so they plan fun events, give advice on trips, exploring, school and more. Plus they are very concerned with your safety, so you can always go to them with any questions or problems you might have.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had one other housemate and lived with a family of 6, a mother, father, and 4 daughters, in addition to their pets-a bird, a dog, and 2 guinea pigs. My family was so welcoming and very patient when I spoke spanish with them. They always cooked great meals and cared about how we were adjusting. I was pleased to get my own room, complete with a bed, a desk, a night stand, shelves, a fan, a lamp, multiple outlets, a full length mirror and a laundry basket.

* Food:

The food here is very good! Many of their foods include rice and beans. In fact, one of the most popular dishes here is the Gallo Pinto. There are so many fruits here I had never tried before and they are delicious! When trying new fruits though, just be aware that your body may react differently than others. The best places I love to eat are little restaurants called Sodas. They are cheap and usually have a wide range of foods to try.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

In general, San Jose is a safe city. That being said, it is still a city, just like any other. To be safe in a city, simply use your common sense and you will not likely be a victim of petty theft. Don't walk around with your expensive smartphone in your hand all the time, don't keep money in your back pocket where someone could take it, and look both ways before crossing the street.

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)

The food and public buses were fairly cheap

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you can, take the bus because it is much cheaper than a taxi, but at night it is safer to take a taxi even if they cost a little more. Sodas are perfect little restaurants for lunch, cheap and delicious.


* 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? 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? Advanced 301

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Placement in the class that fits you best
  • Opportunities to be involved in extracurricular activites on campus and off campus
  • On campus travel agency
* What could be improved?
  • Getting information about events around town or with campus a week in advance
  • More activites where international students can interact with local students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have been more prepared for rainy weather and brought more outfits that all matched with each other

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!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Conversational Intermediate 210

Course Department: Spanish
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This class was absolutely perfect for where I am in my spanish skills. In the states, I had learned a lot about grammer rules, reading and writing, but minimal conversation and listening skills. Through this class, I have learned to speak with confidence and enjoyed being able to practice by speaking and listening skills, as well as reviewing grammer and constantly learning new vocabulary. My professor made everyone feel relaxed and encourage participation. My class was very small, only 6 people, but that made it better because it eased my discomfort of speaking in spanish. Even the exams weren't stressful because they were informal presentations and vocabulary quizzes. The vocabulary quizzes were easy to pass because the teacher would go over them daily at the beginning of each class, and she made you feel comfortable when giving your presentations. Even the homework was simple, but helpful because the majority of the homework was either researching something cultural or asking your tico family or other ticos questions. This course may be challenging for you if you haven't learned the majority of spanish grammer rules including, all four forms of past tense and the subjunctive tense. I also enjoyed our field trip to the Basilica de Los Angeles in Cartago. We got to see people preparing for the pilgrimage and explore a local market.
Credit Transfer Issues: