Go to Costa Rica and Take Pura Vida Back Home With You May 16, 2019

By (Western Michigan University) - abroad from 01/12/2019 to 04/13/2019 with

Sol Education Abroad - Study Abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica at Universidad Latina de Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
One thing I learned was how not to worry/ be busy all the time. Ticos live life in a more relaxed manner and that was really good for me to immerse myself in.

Review Photos

Sol Education Abroad - Study Abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica at Universidad Latina de Costa Rica Photo Sol Education Abroad - Study Abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica at Universidad Latina de Costa Rica Photo Sol Education Abroad - Study Abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica at Universidad Latina de Costa Rica Photo Sol Education Abroad - Study Abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica at 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.

The instructors were all really great! They worked hard to make everything interesting which was nice. All of the instructors offered to spend extra time explaining concepts if we needed it. Occasionally some of the projects felt a little silly; there were a lot more skits and scavenger hunts than I was expecting.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I felt really supported.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My house was close to campus, my host family was such a dream. They immediately accepted my roommate and I with open arms and included us in family events and even family trips. My host mom was so patient with my spanish and just in general so kind.

* Food:

My host mom's cooking was amazing. I was fed so much fresh fruit and vegetables. My host mom was really excited to feed me all of the traditional Costa Rican foods. My host family fed me four times a day: a big breakfast, lunch, cafecito (coffee and a snack, usually fresh bread) and a smaller dinner. I felt like half of what I did in Costa Rica was eat, but it was such healthy and good food that I still somehow lost weight while I was there.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It would have been nice to have classes at the same time as local students. The vast majority of local students go to school in the afternoon or evening and our classes were all in the mornings. I had to work hard to interact with local people outside of my host family. A few ways I did that were going to a local church, taking a dance class and attending on campus events whenever possible.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not experience any health issues while abroad.

* Safety:

I felt super safe in Costa Rica; however, I also abided by all of the guidelines set out for us in orientation. I didn't walk around by myself very often or have expensive belongings out in the open. There was a lot more cat calling than I am accustomed to, but I never perceived any real threat along with it.

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

Sol went above and beyond. Costa Rica is such a beautiful nation. It is the perfect place to learn spanish.

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)

The vast majority of your costs are paid for. Additionally, many trips are already planned and paid for by the program.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take the trains and buses instead of Uber/ taxis. Don't buy too many 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? Spanish conversation and composition 3000 levels
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? Don't be afraid to make mistakes! Just go for it. Talk with everybody.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • 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?
  • Friends
  • Host family
  • Adventures
* What could be improved?
  • more interaction with local students
  • slightly more rigorous academics
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how much I'd fall in love with this nation and culture.

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.