Pura Vida Past Review

By (SUNY - College at Brockport) - abroad from 05/19/2012 to 06/30/2012 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was VERY worthwhile. I've gained knowledge of a different culture and people, and improved my spanish greatly.

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.

We took 2 classes. One was a literature class, which was a little too easy for our level. The other was a Spanish History class which had us deriving words from Latin to Spanish. It seemed irrelevant to our areas of study, very demanding and work intensive.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There were many people in Costa Rica that were there to help us with any problems. We had weekly meetings and could call or meet up at any time.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

You stay with a host family, which is really where you talk in Spanish the most and learn about the culture. I had an amazing experience and got very close with my family.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

You live with a family, so in that sense you are very integrated. On the other hand, because we were in the summer and there are no regular classes at the University at this time, we had no Costa Ricans in our classes which would have been amazing.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any health issues, so I have no basis to rate.

* Safety:

As in most countries, you have to be careful during the night. Never go anywhere alone.

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)

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? A little over $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to eat with your host family as much as possible. They are being paid to feed you, and it gives you time with them and practice with your family on top of a free meal.


* 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? Higher 300 level
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? Talk to your family, people in stores, teachers, and especially try to talk to the people in your group in Spanish. They are who you are with the most and you can help each other.

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

  • 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?
  • My host family
  • Having weekends free to travel the country
  • Speaking spanish
* What could be improved?
  • The intensity of the classes
  • Having Costa Ricans in our classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Many things - You will spend more money than they say you will. Micro-buses are about the same cost as public transportation and are much more convenient, you should be a prepaid cell phone from Kolbi, Claro or another store - they are very cheap and come in handy to keep track with others in your group, your host family AND make international calls, Skype will be your best friend, Costa Ricans don't wear shorts, Ticos (Costa Rican men) LOVE Gringas (White women), so expect to be honked at, yelled at, and hit on in general by everybody.