Costa Rica: The Experience of a Lifetime! Past Review

By (Liberal Studies, Grand Valley State University) for

ISA Study Abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Costa Rica expanded my knowledge of the world around me by showing me how others live. I was able to improve my Spanish-speaking skills, along with make some wonderful friends. I had the opportunity to serve others while enjoying every minute of paradise!

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.

I felt that I didn't learn as much in the classroom as I had hoped, and that the teachers were pretty easy graders. I had group projects in all of my classes, but I wasn't able to help much with them because my classmates would do all the work without including me in the process, which was frustrating.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I thought the administration was really great--we had an incredible site leader who was very knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful! I felt that the only weakness was that they didn't give us enough time or information to be prepared for our first day of classes.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

If you have the option, definitely live with a host family! They make your trip just that much more enjoyable!!!

* Food:

Our host mom was very accommodating of any dietary restrictions, and she insisted that we tell her if we didn't like something. The home-cooked meals were delicious! There are many fast-food and Americanized restaurants, so if you are in the mood for something from home, you won't have to worry about that!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Heredia is a big city so you have to be sure to be smart about when and where you are walking. I, luckily, had no issues with theft, but it does occur often in Costa Rica. Be smart and be careful and you'll have a great time!

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
Language acquisition improvement?

There were a lot of people in Costa Rica who spoke English, but I was able to use Spanish in everyday interactions all the time. My host family in particular was wonderful at helping to improve my Spanish skills because none of them spoke English.

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 do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Ask questions!!! The leaders are more than willing to assist you with anything you may need. Be smart and be safe! It can be dangerous but if you are smart about it, you won't have any issues. And most importantly, Dive in and Have fun!!! Don't be afraid of anything, just try it and enjoy every minute of it =).

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

History of Central America

Course Department:
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This course could have been very interesting except the professor was very confusing and graded inadequately.
Credit Transfer Issues: Nope