An Adventure of a Lifetime Past Review

By (Biology, Brandeis University) - abroad from 06/11/2014 to 08/12/2014 with

CIEE: Monteverde - Summer Tropical Ecology and Conservation

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of confidence in my own abilities and I learned a lot about myself and how far I can push my limits. I learned so much just by being in a different environment, immersed in a different culture and exploring various ecosystems. It was one of the best decisions I've made.

Review Photos

CIEE: Monteverde - Summer Tropical Ecology and Conservation Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

There was a lot of coursework especially considering the shorter summer semester, but the classes were rigorous and very rewarding.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration is amazing- everyone at CIEE is very kind and welcoming and put your interests and experience there first. Even the smallest details are seen to and there are always back-up plans.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Overall, the living arrangements were taken care of very well during the field trips and at the station. I felt that my homestay could have been better placed based on the form I filled out, but this was determined by the program that manages Spanish classes.

* Food:

The food is provided through the program, and it is excellent! There is a lot of variety and accommodations for vegetarians, gluten free, etc. It is a bit harder to eat out at restaurants since the town is a bit of a walk from the station, but I never felt like I needed to eat out much.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

During the homestay and independent project was when I felt the most integrated with the local culture because my host family included me in their daily activities and conservation, and invited me along to some events. I had contact with many locals when I worked on my independent project, which was a great experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Everyone in the program puts you first, especially your health! I didn't face any health issues, but those in my program who got sick/injured were treated immediately and their comfort and health was their priority.

* Safety:

The station is very safe and the town is too. It's always safer to walk in groups when it's late though.

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 didn't spend much money because all the meals are covered by the cost of the program. Most of what I spent was on souvenirs.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~$10-20
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't eat out often (unless you really want to), the food at the station is great. Some souvenir places are cheaper than others- get a general feel for what things should cost. Tourist towns will likely have higher prices.


* 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

We all mostly spoke English throughout the program to other students and our professors/TA's. The Spanish classes encourage speaking only Spanish during class

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? No Spanish classes
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? Reach out to your homestay family, no matter how awkward the language barrier might be. You only spend a short time with them and they have great stories to tell and love having conversations with you!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Host Family
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
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?
  • The ADVENTURE! Hiking through the most amazing ecosystems
  • The people I met (students, TA's and professors, locals)
  • Different learning experience
* What could be improved?
  • More balance between coursework and free time
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that I can exceed my own expectations of what my limits are (physically, socially). I would have pushed myself more during the program.