Costa Rica: I Speak Spanish Past Review

By (English, University of Georgia - Albany State University) for

Savannah State University: San Jose - Study Abroad in Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I understand that things are not the same as the United States' society display them. It's an entirely different story when one sees another country first hand, rather than receiving the narrow-minded, "single story" that America allows us to view. I gave the program 5 stars because it deserves it, from the staff at Savannah State University (Profesora Tedrick, Dr. Naninuzeyi, Ms. Joline Keevy), to the English Department at Albany State University, and especially the staff at ACCE! Everyone was cooperative and helpful at all times! This is the PERFECT program for students to enroll in.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: None
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.

First, the ACCE was one of the best school that I've ever enrolled in. The professors are ALWAYS patient, great listeners, and use the most effective methods for abilities in speaking Spanish. Along with the professors, the administrators keep a positive vibe daily, and are extremely motivational and understanding, and willing to fluctuate your schedule if asked.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The entire administration is knowledgeable of the country, the courses, and methods of teaching a foreign language to American students. My only expectation was to learn to speak Spanish, and that is what I've done.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing and the host family was perfect! My home consisted of the Molina Fonseca family: Gerardo (Father), Roxinia (Mother), Jennifer (Daughter 19), and Liseth (Daughter 17), who only speak Spanish though Jennifer is in the process of learning English. I had my own room with a television, full-size bed, a shelf for my clothes, and a fan for the heat at times. My neighborhood was very safe and the people are always speak, and was also 3 blocks from the school (6-7 minute walk). Also, my house was close to many bars and restaurants for nightlife activities. Students only need to bring the necessary toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, soap, etc.). My host family treated me as if I were their own son. My "sisters" also treated me like a brother. We talked, laughed, danced, ate dinner, and converse with each other on Facebook. They are my second family.

* Food:

All of the food is fresh from the fruits, to the vegetables, and the meat. There are many farms in close proximity of the city, Grecia, therefore most foods are non-processed and ready for eating immediately. There is a huge difference of freshness in Costa Rica food rather than the United States.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The most memorable events that we participated in were Zumba Aerobics classes, the excursion to Manuel Antonio (beach), the Canopy/ Zip-Lining Tour at Las Colinas, and the filed trip to Laz Paz Waterfall Gardens. My favorite one was the trip to Manuel Antonio. It was my first time ever touching the Pacific Ocean so everything was new to me. There are many tourists from around the world so the experience is a lot more cultural. For instance, there was a Rastafarian named "Rasta Man" and a man from Switzerland named "Dominik." Rasta Man could only understand English a little, and only spoke Spanish and Patois, while Dominik could only speak English and German Swiss. They had harsh feelings toward each other and neither could get the message to one another, so I ended up being the translator for the conversation! At time when they would say really harsh things, I'd calm down the situation by lying and saying, "everything's cool!" It was a really great experience for me and a realization that I can finally speak Spanish.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city of Grecia is very safe, even at night. No one bothers or harasses you, unless the gentlemen want to court a lady or vice versa, which is quite different than North American courtship. My suggestions are to keep personal items CLOSE (wallet, cameras, etc.), because you can lose them and regaining a passport may take 3-4 days out of your experience, and for women, be careful about walking the streets alone at night. Just use common sense! Healthcare is also accessible and inexpensive.

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)


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? My only advice is to come to Costa Rica with a smile, an open mind, and a brief awareness of the country before visiting. You'd be surprised at what you can learn before arriving there, so you will always have a head's up on things. The culture is very different than in the United States, so relax, learn Spanish, and have the time of your life! It will change your life!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Intermediate Spanish I

Course Department: SPAN 2001
Instructor: Senora Loly Ramirez/ Senora Sylvia
Instruction Language: Espanol
Comments: The class was challenging but only because of the language barrier during the first couple of days, but both professors speak English so some words and phrases were easily obtainable for translation. The teachers are very knowledgeable and always prepared for class, which begins with a conversation of your events and whereabouts during the preceding day. The class participation is at its maximum! Students have no choice but to speak Spanish and that what makes learning the language very easy.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.