CIEE Costa Rica, best four months of my life Past Review

By (Environmental Studies, American Studies, Tufts University) for

CIEE: Monteverde - Summer Tropical Ecology and Conservation

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study abroad program helped me realize what I care about and what kind of person I want to be. I met incredible people and had incredible experiences. I would not be where I am right now if I did not do this program.

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.

The workload was significant and difficult, but everything was field based and interactive, and I learned more useful things in this one semester than my entire college career.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

This program was amazing and the chief reason was the faculty. The director of this program is one of the most amazing woman I have ever met. Everyone who worked for the program was extremely intelligent, passionate, and caring. The only main weakness of the program is that it was highly scheduled, so there was not much free time for individual travel/exploration.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The host families were arranged by the program. During the first week I was abroad there was a conflict with the family, and I was immediately moved to a new family. The family I ended up with was wonderful, helpful, and I learned alot from them.

* Food:

I am a vegetarian and it was not a big deal

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We did alot of hiking, went to local bars, had beer and chocolate with our professors, had movie nights, etc.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I had a minor health emergency while I was abroad. It was an interesting experience going through that in a very rural area, but it did not seem to be a huge problem in the end.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Maybe $20. Most food was covered by the program.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Bring a little extra money for travel at the end of the program.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? spanish 1
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I needed to speak spanish daily with my host family, during spanish courses, in town, and often we were given talks that were in spanish (sometimes translated, sometimes not)

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

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program is perfect for someone who wants to work hard, learn about serious issues, have crazy adventures, meet amazing people, and become really close to a small group of people.