My Amazing, All Around Awesome, Astonishing, and Astounding Time Abroad! Past Review

By (Nursing., University of Maine at Orono) - abroad from 07/05/2014 to 08/09/2014 with

ISA Study Abroad in San José, Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much! Not only did I learn a lot of Spanish and alternative health approaches in my classes from Monday-Friday, but I also learned a whole lot about MYSELF! I learned to really try to make the most out of everyday I'm here on earth, and to love one another with your whole heart. (My professor Ricardo was big on that lesson). I also learned that I am a lot more independent that I thought I was, and that I can do anything I set my mind to. Studying abroad has helped me dispel stereotypes, explore a foreign country, and it has helped me make some unforgettable memories with people I'll never forget.

Review Photos

International Studies Abroad (ISA): San Jose - Spanish Language, Liberal Arts and Environmental Studies Photo International Studies Abroad (ISA): San Jose - Spanish Language, Liberal Arts and Environmental Studies Photo International Studies Abroad (ISA): San Jose - Spanish Language, Liberal Arts and Environmental Studies Photo International Studies Abroad (ISA): San Jose - Spanish Language, Liberal Arts and Environmental Studies Photo International Studies Abroad (ISA): San Jose - Spanish Language, Liberal Arts and Environmental Studies Photo

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.

* 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?

While I did not need any health care during my time abroad, I learned about it in my studies. I learned that in Central America, they believe more in a system of natural healing and using remedies and homeopathy to try to cure patients. While there still is modern day medicine, I was under the notion that Costa Ricans use a lot of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropraxis, and moxibustion to heal the body.

* Safety:

The city of San Jose can definitely be dangerous at certain times, just like any other city. I found that at night, the atmosphere seemed to shift a bit- it was just sketchier at night. However, the neighborhood I was living in (Zapote) was extremely safe, as it had round the clock guards on bicycles and patrol officers. However, I would strongly urge to not bring any more money or belongings than you need for the day, and to walk in groups.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50


* 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? Highschool, Spanish 5
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? Yes! Talk to the locals! Try to make friends with the people at your school, your neighborhood, and when you're out and about with your group of study abroad friends. Truth is, they think it's kind of fun to hear someone speak their language, and the majority of the time the Ticos/Ticas would like to practice their English, as well. Some of the best moments from Costa Rica was trying to make friends with people I didn't know. You just have to step outside of your comfort zone and take the chance! You never know who you're going to meet.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
  • 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?
  • Traveling throughout Costa Rica
  • Forming friendships with people from all over the world
  • Learning a new language
* What could be improved?
  • ISA could move the time for the cultural activities to a time where no one had class! So that people could actually attend those types of cultural emersion activities.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Before going on this program, I wish I knew to bring a piece of luggage with wheels, instead of the duffle bag I had to lug around the airport. (It was SO heavy). It's also always better to bring a bigger piece of luggage, because you'll likely buy a lot of souvenirs, and then not have the room to bring them all home! So pack lightly on your way out of the States, so you'll have room for everything when you re-enter the States.

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.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Alternative Health Approaches

Course Department:
Instructor: Ricardo Cruz
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I thought that this class was amazing! The topics we learned about in Alternative Health Approaches really made me change the way I think about healthcare, and life in general. Ricardo was such a caring professor and it seemed like he really got to know each and every one of his students. I think I enjoyed his course so much because it was a class I have never heard of before, let alone offered at my home institution. Amazing experience!
Credit Transfer Issues: