Life Redefined - Pura Vida y Otra Cosas Past Review

By (Cellular and Molecular Biology, Berea College) - abroad from 07/06/2013 to 08/10/2013 with

ISA Study Abroad in San José, Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
There is too much to explain in a little box... I not only learned may things in the classroom, from the host family, and simply by observing the culture.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The Spanish course definitely required a focused effort to do well, but the elective course that I took, was much more relaxed and not as rigorous.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff on-site were extremely helpful and friendly throughout the entire program in any interaction I had with them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had the BEST host family I could have possibly asked for. They took my roommates and I in as their own and did everything they could to make sure we were comfortable and happy.

* Food:

Overall, I really liked Costa Rican food, the only disappointment was the cheese.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our classes were solely with americans, and you had to go search out opportunities to interact with the culture. There could have been more done to encourage interactions between the two cultures.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

My advice would just be to think about what you do. Don't go exploring parts of the city you don't know at night by yourself. Have fun but make smart decisions.

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)

It depends on what you want to do. With excursions and extra trips it could easily spend over $200 a week, but if you only bought food, then you could get by on $100.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~$175
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Set an amount that you can spend per week and withdraw it from the bank. It is a lot easier to tell how much you have spent when it is in your hands and not on a card.


* 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

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 103
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Host Family
  • People (Professors, Friends)
  • Excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Cultural Integration
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That my classes would solely be with Americans.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Health Psychology

Course Department: Psychology
Instructor: Delia Pena
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was not a challenging course for me but we did get to go to several relevant field trips. The professor was knowledgable and class was student led with presentations daily, and take home exams.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Basic Spanish for Healthcare Professionals

Course Department: Spanish
Instructor: Marlene
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This course was definitely not an easy course but was well worth it, we had three presentations in Spanish and english was not spoken at all. There was often homework and in class partner work, and in class exams. There was a lot of participation in class which was very helpful for learning the language.
Credit Transfer Issues: