The Vida. La Idioma. ¡Y La Pura Vida! Costa Rica 2018 Past Review

By (Alamo Heights High School) - abroad from 07/01/2018 to 07/21/2018 with

Study Abroad Programs in Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes! My experience was life changing I. May ways. I learned independence, and a respect and fascination for the ways others live. And of course, I learned how to truly speak Spanish!

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.

The academic program wasn’t terribly intense, with no homework or stress. However, I truly felt I was learning. The teachers whew wonderful, and the activities where enjoyable. Would HIGHLY recommend. Especially as a student who doesn’t “love” school!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Maria and Orlando where the two Sol Abroad administrators with me throught the program. They did a wonderful job balancing fun, and safety. I truly felt I was in good hands!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was wonderful! They where caring, and not overbearing. They welcomed me into their home and forced me to only speak Spanish (given they spoke no English). My family was the Gonzalez family.

* Food:

Plantains are my new favorite thing. Enough said. Costa Ricans know what they’re doing!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Probably 75-90% emerced in the language. Simply due to the fact that as students, we spoke In English. However I felt 100% emerced in the culture and way of life!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

While I didn’t have any run-intos with healthcare, I had a friend who got sunpoising, and later an ear infection. Later, another friend came down with a cold. Of course, None of these where at fault of the program, just not enough hand washing / sunscreen. However, the program knew Exactly how to deal with these issues. The students where taken to the clinic, and worked with a physician who spoke enough English to properly treat them. I thought it was handled very well, and when speaking to my friends, they felt they had been treated efficiently, safely, and properly.

* Safety:

I felt VERY safe. In all honesty, safer than in the US. Atenas felt very secure, and I was well informed on where everything was.

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

It was very well done. I have never done a study abroad experience before. This was a great way to start!


* 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)

Living off of $100USD was not difficult. However. I would suggest a little extra for emergencies or extra spending. For my trip of three weeks, I would suggest bringing $350-$400USD. You will need no more than that, and with $400 will likely have money left over.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Anywhere from $85-110USD. I have dietary restrictions, so some of the food I had to buy was slightly more expensive such as nuts. However others may not need this much money. I also purchased lots of bottled water.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don’t buy he brands you see in American stores, they are probably more expensive. Look through the isles and buy the less expensive brand. It will probably be something you’ve never seen before, but the product is the exact same. Imported goods are often twice the price!


* 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

%75-85 of the time.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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 2
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? Sit down and have conversations with your host family. That is the BEST way to learn. You might not understand at first, but it takes very little time for you to start picking up and “thinking” the language.

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 Spanish Emerson
  • The Cultural Emerson
  • The Host Family Experience
* What could be improved?
  • Maybe a letter from the previous student who stayed with your family about the trip, family, what to expect, etc.
  • More encouragement to speak in Spanish when only around students
  • A list of what things SHOULD cost. Sometimes venders like to take advantage of tourists
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don’t bring any white clothes. You won’t wear them. Too much mud and dirt.

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.'