Incredible, life changing and the best semester of my life January 19, 2017

By (Oklahoma State University - Stillwater) - abroad from 08/06/2016 to 12/17/2016 with

Sol Education Abroad- Heredia - Universidad Latina de Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of independence while I was down there. I also honed in on what I wanted to do with my degrees - clean water programs. It was incredibly worthwhile.

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.

I gave this program 5 stars because it was hands down one of the best semesters I have had in college. The academics I felt furthered my education, while still allowing me to travel on weekends.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Jesse and Janiva were amazing. They were helpful, caring and genuine in everything they did. They really care about your education and want this experience to be one of the best in your life.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

If I could put more than 5 stars I would. My host family truly became a family to me. They were loving, caring and personable. The food was wonderful and I loved getting to spend time with them.

* Food:

Loved the food. I came back and missed eating rice and beans.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My host family did a great job of integrating me with the culture. They were always introducing me to new people and teaching me different things about their culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

So while I was there I actually got E. Coli. While this may sound scary it really was not. I was taken to the clinic a few times and given medication then when I still was not getting better the doctor at the clinic had me taken in to the ER. Now, my doctor at home was a bit skeptical about health care in Costa Rica, however I could not have felt safer. Janiva did an incredible job at making sure I was comfortable and checking in with my family. She kept me calm and was with me through the whole process. Overall, I would say remember not to drink the water and don't forget that ice counts too (common thing to forget, I would know). But, yes the healthcare was very easily accesible and was equal, if not better than in the states.

* Safety:

Heredia is a safe city. Surrounding cities can be less safe, but if you talk to the directors or your host family they will tell you what is safe and what is not. But if you are in a group and it is not late at night then there isn't really anything to worry about.

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

It was an incredible experience I loved all of it. While at times it is difficult being away from your family, you start to develop a family of your own down there to help and support you.

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)

If you travel and eat out or go out you will be spending a bit more.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100-150 - sometimes more depending on if I was traveling that weekend.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Stay in hostels - they are affordable and fun because you meet new people.

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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Advanced Spanish Conversation
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? Talk Spanish with the people in the program. Also meet locals and talk every day with your host family. 

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Language
  • People
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • More options for community service.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Ummm I actually felt fairly prepared. I wish I wouldn't have been so nervous and would've interacted with my family a bit more in the beginning.

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.