Lifechanging, unforgettable experience! Past Review

By (California State University - Fullerton) - abroad from 03/26/2016 to 04/02/2016 with

Sol Education Abroad - Custom Faculty-Led Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This experience has really changed my life, and changed me as a person. It will definitely affect my future career because I will always remember the experiences and lessons I learned in Costa Rica. It has taught me to live life more simply. It has taught me that family is first, and love is really all you need to find happiness. The greatest benefit from this experience was "the experience", and getting to stay with the families. Staying with the families really immerses you head first into the culture, and that is exactly what I wanted from this trip. This experience would be COMPLETELY different if we stayed in a hotel, and I do not think I would have enjoyed it half as much. Additionally, getting to work at the Elementary School really opened my eyes to the amazing abilities of their staff. It blew my mind how the school has 800 students, and only that small cafeteria with 3-4 cooks. It is beyond my comprehension how they manage to feed all those children every day. Also, Posada de Belen really opened my eyes as well, because I was so overwhelmed with happiness knowing that they have a home like that for the teens and their children, where they provide them with the best care and education. The world needs more places like Posada de Belen. Put simply, this experience is something that you cannot pass up. Sure, you can go to Costa Rica on your own time and see all the sites and go on the fun excursions, but the key to this program is to immerse you into the culture. Living with the host families is an experience you will never be able to do through a travel agency. Living with, and becoming part of a new family is an irreplaceable experience. I am so thankful and grateful for this entire experience because I got to meet amazing people that are forever going to have a special place in my heart. I definitely left Costa Rica a changed person, for the better. This was an experience of a lifetime, and I cannot thank SOL enough, especially to Janiva and Fio. They were the best directors of the program and they truly made the experience unforgettable. Being able to stay with Costa Rican families is the best part of this experience for me personally, because being able to participate in the family, learn the culture, experience the culture, and truly feel as though you are a member of their family is irreplaceable. There is so much love in Costa Rica, and the families truly make you feel like you are home. I cannot thank SOL enough for providing me with the adventure of a lifetime. Pura Vida!

Personal Information

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.

This experence will definitely impact my future career because I will always remember the experiences and lessons I learned in Costa Rica.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

SOL had the best staff, we had the best directors of the program and they truly made the experience unforgettable.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living with the families was the best part of this trip!

* Food:

The food provided by our host families was absolutely to die for. We even had a cooking class where we learned how to cook the traditional Costa Rican dishes, and the food was amazing beyond compare!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Completely immersed into the Costa Rican culture!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Personally I did not have any experiences with healthcare, but a couple other girls on my trip were having terrible allergies so when we went to San Jose, they were able to get her medicine in no time.

* Safety:

I felt very safe living in the host families homes, travelling to our many destinations, and walking around the city and sites.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

This program provides you with an experience that not only allows you to see the sites of Costa Rica, but really immerses you into the culture.

Finances

* 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)

Everything was basically paid for in the overall program fees. I really only spent money on my own souvenirs!

Language

* 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

I am not fluent in Spanish, however I took 3 years in high school so I can understand and speak basic conversational Spanish. This experience really encouraged me to use the language more so I could communicate better with the host families.

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
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

  • 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?
  • Living with host families
* What could be improved?
  • Not a thing!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known about this program earlier so that I could have taken advantage of more study abroad opportunities! If you are questioning a study abroad program because of the cost, location, etc., this program is the best so do not hesitate to study abroad with them! Truly one of the best experiences I've had!

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.