You NEED To Go Abroad! Past Review

By (Public Health, University of Massachusetts Amherst / UMass) - abroad from 07/04/2015 to 08/08/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Whether it's in Latin America, Europe, etc., I HIGHLY recommend studying or interning abroad to EVERYONE. Studying abroad in Costa Rica has definitely been one of the highlights in my undergraduate career, and if I had the chance to I would go to Europe, preferably Italy, France, Spain, or Czech Republic! While I was abroad, I faced my fear of heights by ziplining across Latin America's highest and longest zipline. It was terrifying, but awesome! I made life-long friends and travel buddies. And I definitely took away great life pointers from this experience. For example, cultural competency, open-mindedness, safety within foreign environments, economic differences across the globe, and many more. Sometimes finances inhibit students from studying abroad. The best advice I can give is to make it happen by any means necessary because you CANNOT miss out this life changing experience. I applied last minute and missed a bunch of scholarship deadlines, so definitely don't do that. However, my program was understanding enough to still provide me with a minor, but very helpful, scholarship. Apply and take a leap of faith! It will change your perspective on life forever. Happy and safe travels!

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.

I received more education outside of the classroom than within. It was great! I do not believe studying abroad is necessarily for the "studying" or academic experience, but more so, the life experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Admin was very understanding, helpful, relatable, and hilarious. Made me feel so safe, welcomed, and in great hands.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

This was definitely the cherry-on-top in terms of cultural immersion. I loved my Tica Mom.

* Food:


* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Costa Rica is rated one of the top most friendly places to live. I def agree.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

If you needed help, you got it.

* Safety:

They prepare you very well, remind you, warn you, etc. If something happened or happens to you, it was because you reckless and careless.

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

I like to move forward and visit new places. Definitely not because the experience wasn't great because it was amazing!


* 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 had a lot of help from my parents. Financial aid gave me some loans. And CIS was very understanding and allowed me to apply late for a scholarship. Do not apply late!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40


* 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

All day, every day.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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? High school
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Practice, practice, practice.

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?
  • Food
  • Friends
  • Traveling
* What could be improved?
  • Quality of courses
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't wear short-shorts.