I learned so much more than just a new language February 20, 2017

By (Texas A&M University–Central Texas) - abroad from 01/07/2017 to 04/22/2017 with

Sol Education Abroad- Heredia - Universidad Latina de Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a new language, have a broader perspective about many new things because I have seen them through another cultures eyes, gained another family, tasted new foods... There are too many things to type but I have been changed for the better. My experience here has set a course for how I plan to live when I return to the U.S. If I could do it all again, I would! This experience has been worth every penny, every moment I felt homesick, and all the moments I have missed out on with friends and family for the time I have been here. This has been more than worthwhile and has given me opportunities, memories, and knowledge that I will tightly hold on to for the rest of my life.

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

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I came to Costa Rica knowing little to no spanish and after only a month and a half here in Sol's program I understand a great majority of what is said as well as learning to read and write it.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our Country Program administrator has done everything to make this experience as good as it can be for each student. She has gone so far as to tailor many different aspects to each individual student so that they have the best experience for them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I absolutely LOVE the host family I have been placed with! Who you live with makes such an impact on your experience here and I don't think I could have been placed any better.

* Food:

The typical Costa Rican foods are amazing but my host family has been so accommodating to what I like/do not like and any dietary restrictions that I might have.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Outside of the excursions we do to get to know the country, we have weekly activities that are designed to get us involved with the social and cultural aspects of this city. In the past week and a half I have gone on multiple local museum tours, gone to multiple local markets, and attended a cultural festival hosted by the city.

* 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

I love the program directors, Sol was very responsive in helping me prepare for the trip, all the excursions were very organized and well planned as well allowing time to experience the culture of where we were, it truly is an immersion program and there is no way to walk away from this program without knowing a new culture and language, and the price is right!

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 came here with a very minimal budget but because almost all meals and activities are included in your tuition cost, I have had no problem living on a student budget here

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? about $30
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy snacks and things like that from local vendors or your local market. Not only will it be fresher, but generally it is also cheaper! Make a budget so that you know what you can spend weekly and stick to it! Also, there are so many things to do around the city that are FREE so take a look online to see what you can find or ask locals or your program director and you will be able to experience the culture all on a limited budget.

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

We were encouraged to speak in Spanish at all times and if we didn't know how to say something in Spanish, our directors patiently helped us say what we were struggling saying in Spanish. You won't be able to speak the new language if you never try!

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Advanced 1
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? If you are staying with a host family, they will be one of the best resources when it comes to learning a new language. Take time to have conversations with them so that you can practice your new language and take even more time to listen to them while they speak. You'll begin to pick up on new words and sentence structures faster than you expect if you listen closely and try to speak what you can back. Try to speak the new language whenever you can you'll be surprised by how fast you can learn it!

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

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • My host family and directors
  • Excursions
  • Learning a new language
* What could be improved?
  • nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You don't need as many clothes as you think you need to pack, do not count on shipping yourself anything once you get here because shipping is so expensive, and if you prefer certain brands of toiletry products then bring a supply for the entire duration of your trip with you because they will likely because triple the amount you are used to paying for them if you can even find them.

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!