Costa Rica-hidden gem, but requires independence and initiative Past Review

By (Psychology and 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?
I loved my time in costa rica and could have benefited from more time there, although I think going abroad for a semester somewhere may have been more helpful as far as practicing the language. Unfortunately the classrooms are not mixed and you are often with your american group in this program, but it is definitely what you make of it and can be an amazing experience.

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 workload was definitely manageable and made it so that we had plenty of time to explore and take in the country. I thought the grammar class was difficult, but others didn't. It depends how much experience you have had with that prior to the trip.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our on site person was very nice, but was not always around and the professor from Geneseo who was supposed to be there at least part of the time, never made it while the first group was there.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay with my host family they were incredibly welcoming and did everything they could to make me feel at home. My neighborhood was pretty safe and my house was close to the bus station that I went to every day for school. The house was great with my own room and bathroom and the family even bought me a new bed because they didn't think the one they had was good enough. I didn't have to buy any items they provided me with everything and paid for anything they invited me to or provided me with.

* Food:

The food that my host mother made was always delicious. She was a vegetarian, but she always made many different types of meat for me on a daily basis. I was very satisfied with everything.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The traveling that we did as a group on our own on the weekends was the best part of the trip. It was amazing to see so many different parts of the country including Arenal, Monteverde, Guanacaste's beaches, etc. The trip issued by the school was actually the worst one.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city was not very safe, especially at night so we didn't go anywhere at night unless it was with a group. As far as safety healthwise, I was disappointed by their lack of medical attention for a country acclaimed to be progressive in that manner. My friend in the program had an allergic reaction to a medication and the ambulance took far too long to arrive leading two of us in the program to basically carry her across the street to the medical office. When she first started having symptoms she was taken to an office in the building where there was not a single trained medical person. The school really should have some sort of nurse present.

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? At my host family's house all of my expenses food wise were paid. On the weekends we all paid for our own food. we budgeted about $50-$100 per weekend but it varied.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You just have to be prepared because when you travel on the weekends you're on your own. Expenses include bus far, taxis, hotel/hostel, food and drinks and whatever souvenirs you may want to buy. If you do your research, however, you can get great deals. We used the backpackers hostels a lot and they were very affordable and had many great deals.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
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
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

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  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans