It rained, it poured, but we all still smiled Past Review

By (Environmental Studies., Pacific Lutheran University) for

CIEE: Monteverde - Sustainability + The Environment

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The program was worth it. personally for me the program did not push me outside my comfort zone, but this is dependent upon past international experience. The field trips were by far the best part of the program. We were able to see so much of the country and it makes me want to travel more within my home state/country. I must continued to make environmental changes to my lifestyle and influence others. The program only reitereate this idea and gave me experiences to witness it such as seeing banana plantations, hydropower dam, and tilapia farms.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academic component of the program was very rigourous. I took the hardest tests that I have ever taken. They professors grade hard though I still got A.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everything ran sooo smoothly. We had two-two weeklong field trips. They were well planned and included all our food and lodging. Besides our professors, there are two TAs who live at the study center and were a great resource for medical problems, class help, general advice. The secretary was also wonderful too! The director of the program has lived in Monteverde for 20 years and is knowledgable about the culture. one of the TAs is also a local. There were 16 people and this number is expected to increase as there is more interest in the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Monteverde is a safe area. I walked home from school everyday and felt safe. The distance to the school and town varied between students. Waklking distance was 2-30 minutes. I did not need to buy anything and my family provided me with 3 meals a day. The host family was good. Because of the spansih immersion school and other monteverde study abroad programs, most of the famlies have hosted students before.

* Food:

Costa Rica isn't really know for delicious foods. Lots of beans, rice, and carbs. quantity was great and the quality was good for Costa rica food. On the field trip, the field trip coordinator really tried to be sure there was variety. I am a vegetarian and ended up eating chicken while I was there.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The field trips were a great time to experience other parts of the country and from the perspective of a student rather than a tourist. Within Monteverde, our program was very busy so we did not have a lot of time to experience the town.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

There are clinics all throughout Costa Rica and in Monteverde. The staff were good about helping with health issues and translating if someone needed to go to the doctor. Monteverde is a safe town (though people should obviously be careful when its dark and are alone). The tap water is safe to drink in almost all of the country which made things easier in families and while eating out.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

We took at spanish class at an immersion school in Monteverde. I however was placed in a class too low and was not challenged in the class. We also stayed in homestays. the amount of spanish used in the house all depened upon whether there were children and if the families were chatty. Monteverde has many people who speak english and it is tourist town. As students there, we looked like the tourists that passed through on a regular basis. One of the local "professors" of the program spoke spanish/english; he always spoke spanish with me and this was a helpful experience.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you go in the fall, be prepared for rain. bring a good rain coat and backpack cover. The program will be busy, but worth it. The program ends early, so I'd suggest extending your plane ticket past that date and traveling.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Conservation Biology

Course Department:
Instructor: Matt Gasner
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was a challenging but very interesting class. The consevation bio was applied to Costa Rica and during field trips we saw first hand some conservation efforts. Class was held once or twice a week for about 4 hours.
Credit Transfer Issues: The credit transfered but the grade is not incorporated into my GPA
Course Name/Rating:

Sustainability, Economy, Environment

Course Department:
Instructor: Karen Masters
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class has very challenging tests and our papers were graded hard. The class covered such a broad arrange of information so nothing was really covered indepthly. our field trips directly related to this class as we look at food, water, energy, forestry, eco-toursim, and rural communities. This class applied sustainabilty issues to Costa Rica which made it more interesting. The professor was well prepared and generally knew her information. Previously she taught in the Biology program so some of the sustainability info is semi new to her.
Credit Transfer Issues: Transfered as an elective