Costa Rica- An Unbelievable Amazing Learning Experience. Pura Vida! Past Review

By (Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education, Stephen F. Austin State University) for

Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA): Traveling - Student Teachers in Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying abroad was an amazing experience! I gained so much from it! I acquired more patience with others and understanding of other cultures. I have become more aware of things that aren't just issues in America.

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 educational system is incredibly different in Costa Rica. America offers many institutions within one place it seems, but in Costa Rica there are children of all ages within one facility;

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Dr. Armstrong was very knowledgeable on Costa Rica. He knew every area that we traveled to like that back of his hand. The other 2 chaperones were great as well. Although neither of them had gone to Costa Rica before they were knowledgeable on different cultures and were fluent in Spanish.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The places we stayed at were all very different. My favorite was the bed and breakfast in Santa Elena, it was very clean and well-kept. All of the places were within walking distance from the towns. I felt safe in every place we went to. The nightlife was bigger in certain places but they all had bars and such.

* Food:

The food was GREAT. You will get sick of rice and beans though-but they were all delicious. Don't feel ashamed to try other restaurants apart from the local ones-sometimes those are the BEST.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We took in some amazing nature and got to experience all aspects of the country- city and country side. We witnessed waterfalls, volcanoes, and much more.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

We were told to always have bug spray (especially in certain areas) because of Malaria. Also we were told certain areas that we could not drink the water from taps.

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


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent maybe $15 a day on food-but snacks can add up so be aware of that.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? As big as a pain it is-keep track of how much you spend each day!It goes quickly, especially on little things i.e. water, food, souvenirs,etc. And bring plenty of cash, don't rely on being able to use your credit/debit card at all places, and having ATM's available .


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? n/a
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I was nervous prior to going because I hadn't taken a Spanish course since middle school. I found that many Costa Ricans know English as well, so it was more comfortable. I used all the Spanish that I knew whenever possible.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The amazing cultural experience!
  • The food, the people, the AMAZING nature, the beautiful culture of Costa Rica.
  • The learning that we experiences in another country foreign to us
* What could be improved?
  • Organization-knowing places we are going before we go to them.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't pass this opportunity up. I think this was one, if not THE, most amazing experiences of my life. You become such a well-rounded person seeing how other people live their lives- It also makes you grateful for things that we often take for granted at home. ‎Dr. Armstrong is so incredibly knowledgeable about Costa Rica and he provides you with an amazingly unforgettable experience. I think students who are open-minded and willing to try/learn about new things: food, culture, people, language, etc. are perfect for a trip like this! It was an unbelievable experience. "Once people live abroad and learn to see themselves and their culture from afar, those things never look the same again."