The Greatest Decision of My Life July 16, 2019

By (Universidad Latina de Costa Rica) - abroad from 06/01/2019 to 07/13/2019 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?
I learned a lot more Spanish, how to travel, what Costa Rica is struggling with, the beauty of other countries, and many cultural differences between Costa Rica and other countries

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 classes here were great because it challenged the students in ways that teachers can not do in other schools in the United States. Coming from a big school, I enjoyed how there were less students in the class, and the teacher could have everyone speak and present to actively practice Spanish. I think this is the best way to improve anyone's Spanish speaking skills.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I was very pleased on how they planned excursions for us but left many days for us to explore or relax on our own

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My family was very welcoming and treated me as one of their daughters. I was never home sick because they made me so comfortable

* Food:

For me, I do not think Costa Rica has the best or healthiest foods. However, my host mom always asked what I wanted for breakfast, lunch, dinner so that she could accommodate to what I wanted to eat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I think that staying with a host family, getting tips from the on site directors, as well as allocating time to talk to people from Costa Rica helped me understand what the culture was like in Costa Rica and allowed me to integrate myself into it.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The pharmacies in the mall were actually very accessible and helpful for anything I needed. I never had to go to an actual doctor but I heard that everyone who did had a good experience

* Safety:

Some of our friends on the trip did get mugged, but he was walking alone and looked like he was not from Costa Rica. The neighborhood was not extremely safe but I believe that the students can make it safe if they actively try to stay safe by staying in a group, hiding their phones, staying vigilant at night, or carrying pepper spray.

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

This program was fun and eye opening, allowed my Spanish to greatly improve, and helped me find friends around the United States that I can also call my family

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)

Costa Rica was more expensive than I thought it was going to be and I did a lot more excursions than I thought I was going to. However, splitting rides, airbnbs, etc with other students made it more managable

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Downtown Heredia has cheaper souvenirs and ubers are cheaper than taxis

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

Being around my host family and in school constantly learning Spanish really immersed me into the language. In addition many of the students were already fluent and I could even talk to my peers in Spanish.

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? Intermediate 2
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Even when you are away from your school and host family, find ways to integrate Spanish in your daily life, such as listening to Spanish music, watching shows in Spanish or with spanish subtitles, going out to stores and talk to the workers, etc.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • The people
  • The land/nature
  • Learning
* What could be improved?
  • Safety
  • More suggestions from on site directors about weekend trips we could take
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Take more pictures

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!