Magically Meaningful Past Review

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

Sol Education Abroad - Custom Faculty-Led Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained/learned so much more than I could ever learn by sitting in a classroom. My heart was opened to the people of Costa Rica and my eyes were opened to the unfair and unjust world of cheap labor. I was reminded of partnering and loving other humans.

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.

Our program did not include a formal academic component. The community outreach opportunities were amazing though!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Loved, loved, loved! Living with my host family! They were absolutely sweet and open and welcoming.

* Food:

DELICIOUS!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

im·mer·sion, state of being deeply engaged or involved; absorption. If you're looking to learn about yourself, humanity, and a different culture through experiences and engaging opportunities, consider Sol Education Abroad. When Sol Education Abroad says it's an immersion program, they are not only talking about the scheduled programs and excursions. As students do life with their host families, wait for the bus at the bus stop, purchase snacks from the local supermarket, order delicious Costa Rican food from restaurants, they are absorbed into the culture and language. This incredibly short but impactful experience has confirmed my decision to work with women and children in the international setting. What I greatly appreciated about this experience was the mentality of partnering and serving the community in areas they wanted help instead of us planning everything ahead beforehand. That was a necessary reminder for all of us that we were there to learn while serving. I loved learning about fair trade, and it has made me more vigilant in shopping with care. Come prepared to serve in any way possible because this trip is not about being a hero or helping others the way you want to help. SOL has reinforced the idea that service learning doesn't happen when you are only interacting with children in a school or when visiting community centers; it happens as you walk down the streets of San Jose, when you cook and wash dishes with your host family, when you appreciate the rain forest by reducing the amount of disposable products used, or when you buy products that directly support artists and workers. Be ready to have your perspective challenged and shifted for the better! I liked how holistic the program was. From exposure to the larger Costa Rican culture, history, present practices regarding consumerism, to the smaller customs our host families practice, this program engaged students in the complexities of Costa Rican life. Rain forests and rescue centers were also amazing in raising mindfulness and awareness of our environment. Lastly, but not least, Janiva and Fiorella were absolutely crucial in how successful the trip turned out. Their constant passion to serve others including us, the students, was evident and endless. Absolutely humbled and inspired.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $20

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • The host family
  • The intentional activities
  • the directors
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The weather and how to pack appropriately. Be ready to become a part of a Costa Rican family.

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.