Good Time in Costa Rica March 05, 2019

By (Lafayette College) - abroad from 12/26/2018 to 01/11/2019 with

Study Abroad Programs in Costa Rica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I improved my Spanish, met a lot of people from different parts of the US, and got a chance to explore Costa Rica and went on fun excursions. I'd say it's worth it IF you can afford to pay for the program comfortably.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I took one Spanish course there - the rigor was not very intense but I had a very fun profesora.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Took a bit of time for me to get the transcript, but overall the transition to ULatina was smooth.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a private room in my houst family's house - it was nice and the food was great (but can get monotonous at times).

* Food:

I like many things my mama tica prepared for me, but I'm not a big fan of having pinto beans every day.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Everybody on my trip was American apart from me, so we tended to stick together all the time. Some people may break up in pairs at times, but I wouldn't say we integrated with the local culture at all - although partly because of how homogenous Costa Rica is.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any health issues

* Safety:

Heredia felt pretty safe, transportation was great - we used Uber and the local buses. The only thing we had to look out for was tourist scams.

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

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)

We tended to go out 3-4 times per week so that's the only expense I had to pay for. I probably spent about $50 a week. The rest were already paid for as part of the program.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Depends entirely on how much you want to go out - your host family will provide you with food every meal if you choose to stay at home.

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

We used Spanish in class and at home, and English when talking to other students in the program. I'd say 70% of our conversations were in English.

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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
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? Try to speak with locals - if possible don't stick in large groups cause you'll just end up speaking English all the time.

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?
  • explored Costa Rica
  • practiced my Spanish
  • went whitewater rafting
* What could be improved?
  • Diversity of Students
  • Trips to downtown San Jose
  • maybe 1 or 2 less excursions
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It is what you make of it - it's not going to be a life-changing experience if you stick to your own group all the time, but if you're open-minded and try new things and talk to the locals you'll have lots of fun.