Costa Rica: How Living Happily Coincides with Saving the Planet. Past Review

By (Trinity University) for

The School for Field Studies / SFS: Costa Rica - Sustainable Development Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I remain more committed than ever to helping to make resource infrastructure sustainable in developing countries. I acquired useful skills in accomplishing that task, and I am psychologically ready now to accept that lifestyle.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I learned more from these classes than in any other semester in college, and not just because it was an interesting cultural experience. The courses themselves have more value than average university courses.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program can be difficult to adapt for students not used to staying outdoors for extended periods of time, or who will miss some of the extra amenities offered by the United States. Fortunately, this is the appeal for most of the students who end up choosing this program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The neighborhood definitely feels safe, and the neighbors are friendly. The housing itself is somewhat stark, though. It's concrete floors, and there is some mold because of how wet the environment is. You have to bring everything except your mattress and pillows. There is no commute to class: it's taught in your house or between the cafeteria and your house. It's not too far away from fun bars, it's just a quick taxi ride or run away. We also stayed with a host family for a weekend. They couldn't have been better. Really friendly, they had children my age, and they knew the community well.

* Food:

Lots of accommodations for vegetarians and gluten allergies. I was a vegetarian, and have never had so many options. There are also some decent restaurants around. Don Tadeos, Pizzarica, and some others are just some examples. There is also a lot of food that's sold right around out of people's houses, and it's usually pretty good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I know every part of Costa Rica now, and I have really experienced the locals in most of the country. It was just incredible.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Health issues were addressed promptly by the student mentor, and I felt safe for most of the time. Any part of the experience that is not safe is not integrated into the program, but pursued by students.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I doubled my Spanish capacity while at this program, but mostly from fraternizing with the locals rather than the Spanish course offered.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Dorm
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people.
  • The knowledge I acquired will serve me well in my long-term goals.
  • The daily existence is action-packed but enthralling, particularly in its connection to nature.
* What could be improved?
  • I wouldn't change it at all.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Prepare for an intense experience. The student who is devoted to sustainability with a keen interest in applying knowledge will enjoy this program intensely. It says a great deal about the type of person that you are if you are willing to live this way. It will be fun, beautiful, and useful.