Costa Rica: Life-Changing Experience Past Review

By (English/Spanish, SUNY - College at Geneseo) for

SUNY Geneseo: Heredia - Centro de Estudios Hispánicos de la Universidad Nacional

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Spanish is very good now; I am much more conscious of how well off the US is compared to other countries; new appreciation for many different things

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Geneseo is definitely more difficult. However, considering many students wanted to travel as much as possible, it's better that UNA wasn't at the same caliber as Geneseo otherwise we would have never been able to leave.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Wonderful people, utterly incapable of responding to an email.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

My tastes were accommodated and I got enough food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We took a couple trips with our program, which were fun. Really enjoyed Arenal. Wish we had more excursions.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I took vaccines (typhoid, malaria), but I don't think i needed either. I wasn't sick the entire trip. I did get robbed, which sucked, but they caught the guy and one of the program coordinators came with me to the police station while I filed a statement, etc. I was almost robbed a second time too, on a bus. However, I felt safe the majority of the time I was there. Basically, just keep an eye on your stuff and don't flash expensive things like iPods around because odds are they look at you and know you're American and therefore vulnerable. Just be careful.

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? Barely spent anything during the week. Almost always ate at my host mother's house. I don't recommend buying anything for the first couple of weeks until you understand what's cheap and what's overpriced there, plus the currency exchange. I had a couple things I overpaid for unfortunately. Saved most of my money for traveling on weekends. Buses are fairly cheap, as are hostels. Very easy to find one with a kitchen so even eating is cheap when you travel.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you plan to travel, eat at home as much as possible - it's free! Or at least prepaid for. I recommend saving most money for traveling - you can travel very cheaply if you do it right. Walk when you can to save money on bus far, don't eat out TOO often. Movies are really cheap on Wednesdays so I would go then.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
Language acquisition improvement?

Used Spanish everyday, fewer people than I expected could speak English.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Traveling
* What could be improved?
  • More traveling with group
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? TRAVEL AS MUCH AS YOU CAN! YOU WILL REGRET STAYING IN TOWN EVERY WEEKEND!