My time in Heredia November 17, 2015

By (Spanish Language, Literature, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania) - abroad from 06/06/2015 to 08/08/2015 with

Sol Education Abroad- Heredia - Universidad Latina de Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that the best way to learn a language is through immersion. I know that I have to return to a Spanish-speaking country if I want to become truly fluent, and I hope to return to SOL some day.

Review Photos

Sol Education Abroad: Heredia - Universidad Latina de Costa Rica Photo Sol Education Abroad: Heredia - Universidad Latina de Costa Rica Photo Sol Education Abroad: Heredia - Universidad Latina de Costa Rica Photo Sol Education Abroad: Heredia - Universidad Latina de Costa Rica Photo

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.

The professors worked hard to make sure the students all learned as much Spanish as possible. The coursework was challenging, but not difficult or impossible. I felt encouraged to learn and grow as a Spanish student. I also felt very comfortable to make mistakes, which I believe is important in a language classroom.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The directors were incredibly supportive and loving. I felt like I could talk to them about anything, and I felt like I became friends with them by the end of the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mother was so warm and welcoming. I felt like she really cared about me. We had so many conversations about my insecurities while speaking Spanish, and she made me feel very comfortable about my abilities.

* Food:

I personally was not a fan of Costa Rican food in general, but my host mother worked very hard every day to cook for me and give me enough food. I appreciated having home cooked traditional meals every day.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues, but a few people in my program did and I heard that they were addressed very well.

* Safety:

The area that we stayed was not very safe, and our program directors told us many times not to walk alone at night. It was difficult to coordinate this because it got dark around 6pm, and taxis became expensive.

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

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)

I definitely had to spend a lot of money on this trip, but it was worth it and I am glad I did not give up any opportunities because of money.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $75-100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Start saving money early. Plan a budget for each week. Try not to spend too much on food, because your host family will feed you. Don't buy all of your souvenirs too early in your stay, because there will be more opportunities to do so later.

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

Our directors encouraged us to always use Spanish at school and on our excursions and even with our friends.

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? Spanish305 - Phonetics
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? Speak Spanish as much as possible!!! If I could redo anything, I would speak more Spanish and be more open to immersing myself fully into 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?
  • Program directors
  • activities
  • friends
* What could be improved?
  • better communication before arrival
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that over the summer, only 3 weeks of activities are planned for you. I stayed for 9 weeks, and I was responsible for planning most of my activities for the last 6 weeks of the program.

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!