Best experience of my life! August 22, 2019

By (University of New Mexico) - abroad from 06/22/2019 to 08/03/2019 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 could go on for paragraphs for all the things I've learned/gained from my abroad experience but each person has a completely unique experience. Do yourself a favor and go abroad.

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.

The program was absolutely fantastic, the instructors teach in a very clear and detailed manner, then staying with a host family is the best way to learn spanish.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program was very well organized, with trips, cultural activities, and much more.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was spectacular! My roommate ended up being one of my best friends, the family was so friendly and fun. They always made sure to include us and there were always things happening around the house. 3 family members lived in the house, yet dinner never had less than 6 or 7.

* Food:

The food was excellent. My mama tica was a great cook and they make sure you have plenty of food for every meal.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The people are so friendly in Costa Rica. I was originally scared going as an American, but the whole culture is friendly to all. It was very easy to make friends with locals, even for those who didn't speak much english.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There were very few health incidences, but when there were, they were handled well and quickly.

* Safety:

Costa Rica is a safe country. The one rule they had was don't walk at night, especially alone. But even then, we didn't run into any trouble.

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

The way the program was set up, having excursions and cultural activities for the first session was brilliant. It allowed us to get familiar and comfortable in our new city, so that by the time the second session started, we were almost locals.

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)

It depends on how you want to go about the trip. Costa Rica is just as expensive as the US. If you choose to go out to the bars and clubs, eat out for meals, and pay for weekend trips, expect to spend $150+ per week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $160
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Do whatever you can to set money aside to travel abroad, and know that the more you save, the more freedom you have to do what you want. The thing about going abroad is that you'll never get a chance like this again, so why spend this once in a life time experience pinching pennies?

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

Huge encouragement from the program, but living with a host family is the best way to learn hands down.

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? Spanish 301
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? Speak with confidence, don't get stuck on the right or wrong conjugations or things like that. If you can spit out a mess that makes enough sense for someone to understand, they are more than happy to talk to you.

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 host family
  • The cultural experience
  • The weekend trips
* What could be improved?
  • Internal organization
  • Nothing else
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Nothing really.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'