Just Another Life-Changing Adventure Past Review

By (International Development, Frostburg State University) - abroad from 01/05/2014 to 04/26/2014 with

ISA Study Abroad in San José, Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I wouldn't change it for the world. i could write a novel about what i gained-learned from my experience, but now I am more confident, independent, and culturally aware. I have learned Spanish almost to the point of fluency. I have learned a lot about what I want in life. I have discovered a love of traveling. I feel like my life experience has deepened by a great degree.

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.

Most courses were very easy and professors did not act very professional.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any health issues.

* Safety:

It was dangerous to walk around my neighborhood at night because criminals knew a lot of naïve, rich American students lived in the area. being robbed was somewhat common. The university did offer free van service to students with night classes, though, so they wouldn't have to walk home alone.

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)

It would have been easier if I were allowed to use the kitchen at my homestay for lunch, but because it wasn't, I had to go out to eat every day at lunchtime. I also underestimated how expensive it would be to live in San José.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't buy anything unless you're actually going to use it, do your shopping in non-tourist-geared places, if you have to provide your own meals (like I had to for lunch every day), try to buy things ahead of time at the loca market and see if you can use the kitchen in your homestay. Also, memories are infinitely more valuable than material possessions, so focus more on having fun than being a consumer.


* 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? Intermediate
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? multiple 400-level college courses
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Make local friends! And talk to local people while you're out. Obviously, use common sense and make smart decisions regarding who you talk to, but, at least in San José, people are generally friendly and curious about foreigners and want to learn just as much about us as we want to learn about them!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
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?
  • Thrill of traveling
  • Being surrounded by Spanish
  • Meeting new people
* What could be improved?
  • University (I did not like Veritas)
  • Wider range of classes available
  • More classes with locals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? how expensive it is in San José, how small Veritas is, and how many Americans there would be at my university: half of the student body was American and we were at a private art school, so half of the students were americans studying divese subjects and half were locals studying art and architecture, and I often felt a strong disconnect between the two groups and sometimes even resentment from the local students because of it. It makes it so that the American students and the locals don't really have much in common, so making friends is harder, which causes the Americans to cling to each other more, hich I think is counter-produtive in a study abroad experience. Perhaps if we were at a larger school with a wider range of subjects studied there, it would be easier to branch out.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'