A Comfortable Adventure Past Review

By (Law, Santa Clara University) - abroad from 05/18/2015 to 07/28/2015 with

Santa Clara University School of Law: San Jose - Summer Abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was totally worthwhile. The internship was the best part. The reason I would not chose to do it over again is simply because Costa Rica was my second choice, due to procrastination, I missed out on my first choice which proffered an internship at an organization for which I should like to work in the future. I would choose to intern there so I could list work experience with that organization on my resume.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

There are plenty of options for eating out. Also, shopping and preparing my own food was very easy and I did so often.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was pained by a pinch nerve during my stay. Blessedly, there was a chiropractor in my very neighborhood who was originally from the US. I received excellent care from a very kind man, his wife, and a hospitable staff.

* Safety:

I lived in an area with multiple embassies. Consequently, there were always guards monitoring the area 24/7. I had no need to be concerned with my safety with so much security personnel afoot. And they were quite friendly.

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)

I live in the Bay Area in California which is more expensive than some areas in the country. Personal expenses and eating out was comparable to my area. Groceries were less expensive than my area, especially meat. I was surprised at that.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Well, I don't actually buy a whole lot of stuff --so maybe $75.00. I feel that's definitely sufficient. I spent probably around $50/week for what I needed. And there there were things I just wanted like clothes. I spent a fair bit of money on clothes.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Go to the grocery store and cook. If you eat out every meal it will be VERY expensive. Think about spending from $10-$20 every meal if you're eating at a full restaurant. I went on a huge shopping trip and spent about $200.00 and bought food for an entire month! If you really like eating out, "sodas" are where to go for quick and cheap. "Sodas" are the Costa Rican equivalent of a US diner (only the food is much better!), like Denny's or Carrow's or something like a Panda Express. The food is tasty, and it comes in good portion sizes and cheap. Find a local and ask where to eat because they can point you to affordable and good tasting. Oh and almost every place has a lunch buffet. Very convenient.


* 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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 4
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? Too easy. Talk to people. Costa Ricans are very friendly people. They will just talk to you. There are security personnel and watchmen all over San Jose and they just stand around looking around all day. In my experience I found they were always willing for conversation, day or night, as there was not a whole lot going on. Boredom makes many manners of conversation agreeable, not the least with a foreigner attempting to learn one's native language. I have found in my travels abroad in multiple nations that locals appreciate a sincere effort to learn their language. People I have met in other nations abroad are not like US Citizens who are often short of patience with those who do not speak English fluently and quick to judge someone as "less than" themselves because that person happens to fluently speak a language that American cannot. In generally, I have found the international community much more understanding and encouraging of attempts to learn and practice their language than in the US. So, chat away! And feel the freedom of knowing the person listening to you very likely has an appreciation for your efforts.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* 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?
  • My housing
  • 4 day weekends for traveling
  • The field trip
* What could be improved?
  • I am not sure.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That the Caribbean region of the country has the best food!

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!