Bucket List: Costa Rica Check Past Review

By (Political Science, Plymouth State University) for

CISabroad (Center for International Studies): San Jose - Summer in Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Every International experience changes you and becomes a part of who you are, so make the most of it!

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 elective course was taught in a way very much like American University courses and the professor was great. The Spanish course was immersion which is helpful to learning well, but it is very hard to tell if you will get into the course you hope you will until you get there and they give you the entrance exam. If you need a certain class to fill a requirement at your home university beware. I needed basic two to finish my foreign language requirement and did not make it.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There were students there from another program and they actually had program representatives on site, so they seemed to have MUCH better information about what was going in general and they had much better and many more social and cultural opportunities. The host university people kept referring to them as "(name of their program provider) students" and then they would refer to us as "independents" which was very confusing to us for the first several days because we weren't "independents" we were "CIS." They seemed very dismissive and curt with us all around.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The neighborhood was very unsafe. The host family was absolutely wonderful and there were other students there too so that was even better - all around the social situation at the host home was great. Unfortunately though the accommodations were not that great. For the first couple weeks i was there my room was at the back of the house on the first floor was basically a basement. It was a tiny makeshift room - you could tell that the owners had put up extra sheet rock in the home to create as many "bedrooms" as possible in the space they had. The room had no windows and was very musty with mold growing on the sheet rock walls, and it would flood a little when it rained very hard which was almost every other day. I had to keep my all my clothes in a suite case and leave it zipped up and on the bed or else it get wet or i would find cockroaches in it. A few weeks in another student who arrived before me left and i got to take her room which was upstairs and was MUCH better. Still though, the family themselves were wonderful!

* Food:

My Tica momma was a great cook and San Jose has some amazing places to eat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were two excursions that were part of the program and these were a great way to get introduced to the other things in CR that are there to see. For the rest of the weekends it is best to use public transportation and go with a small group of friends to see other places.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Overall safety in the area of the campus and host families is pretty bad but manageable. In other parts of the city it is not as bad. There is a homeopathic doctor on campus that is available if you need and provides services for free.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? weekends are expensive if you want to have fun!


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

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 did you like most about the program?
  • cost
* What could be improved?
  • pre-departure communication