The Best Time of my Life August 22, 2019

By (University of North Texas) - abroad from 06/01/2019 to 08/17/2019 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 have never in my entire 21 years of living had such an incredible and life changing experience. And I'm not making this up. From someone who's never traveled out of the United States before, my experience was golden. I met so many incredible people from all over who made me into a better person and pushed me into a much more positive life direction. Plus Costa Rica is absolutely gorgeous and magnificent. From the beaches to the rainforests to the different types of wildlife everywhere, it's breathtaking. I have so many near and dear memories in my heart that I will never let go from my time I spent abroad in Costa Rica.

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 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? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I felt like I learned A LOT of Spanish in the 2 and a half months I spent in Costa Rica. From relying on 2 years of high school Spanish that took place 4 years prior, I came away from the Costa Rica Sol Program with a very solid base in the Spanish language. Classes were a bit tough at times because they lasted up to 4 and a half hours a day, but it's worth it for the amount of knowledge you receive.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The people who work for Sol in Costa Rica were absolutely phenomenal they crafted such an amazing beginning journey for us during my 1st 3 weeks session, and did very well with keeping us safe. They also really pushed forward academics by pushing us to learn more and more Spanish daily.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Lord. My host family was incredible beyond words. My Mama Tica did nearly everything for me to keep comfortable. She cooked, cleaned, aided with homework, and showed love to both her hijos. I could not be more happy with how life host family and living arrangements were. The house was a little small, but I didn't care about that.

* Food:

I enjoyed Costa Rican food, yet I prefer food from the United States.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There was one point when Costa Rican college students were protesting in the streets because a 30% tax raise on college education had been passed in office. Speaking to those kids on how passionate they were about their education and it being affordable made me feel so connected with what was going on during my stay in Costa Rica.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

My program was very helpful with aiding me when I was sick with a sinus and ear infection and getting me to a doctor, but the doctor visits and medication was a bit pricey. Also, I filed 2 different claims to a company called Seven Corners and still have not received word back from them concerning my medical issues while abroad, I paid for full coverage so I should be able to see my money back from that.

* Safety:

You don't want to be walking around at 3AM in the morning in Heredia or San Jose, because there's a big chance you will be robbed. With that being said, if you do that in ANY big city you run the risk of being robbed. If you're going to go out to the clubs in San Jose, stick to the bar streets that are crowded with people. But other than that during the day everything is safe, and if you're smart you shouldn't have any problems.

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

I would give anything in the world to have the time back that I spent studying abroad in Costa Rica. I'm even considering studying abroad with Sol in Mexico next Summer.

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)

Okay here's the thing... you can save money and not spend a lot while studying abroad, but a lot of the things you'll want to do will be expensive but worth it. For instance I paid $100 in Playa Del Coco to ride on a catamaran in the Pacific Ocean where I say a mama whale and a baby whale, dolphins, a sea turtle, and got to old an octopus. 100% worth it.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you're really stressed out about money I suggest eating at home and perhaps not going out as much as you'd like. I found that while abroad I was having such an amazing time I didn't care about the amount of money I was spending. You really gotta hold yourself down, because there's so much you can spend your money on that feels necessary when it's not.

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

My program directors spoke to me in nothing but Spanish.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate II
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? Study hard and try to force yourself to think in the language you're attempting to learn. And of course TALK, TALK, TALK. Look for those opportunities to say what you learned in class otherwise it probably won't stick as well as it would.

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

  • 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?
  • The people I met.
  • The incredible sights I saw.
  • The amount of Spanish I learned.
* What could be improved?
  • The healthcare situation.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pack at least one hoodie, but other than that I wouldn't change anything.