Gallo Pinto, Volcanoes, and Infinite Laughter Past Review

By (Environmental Studies., Brandeis University) - abroad from 09/02/2013 to 12/05/2013 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself and my comfort zone as well as how to effectively live in a group setting. And I gained confidence in my language skills not only in Spanish communication as well as English.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Dorm-style community living can get frustrating sometimes but for the most part it worked out well.

* Food:

I personally do not eat high fat and oil content food as well as a high volume of rice and beans in America, so the food, while a cultural experience, was difficult to get used to.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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)

SFS gives you an estimated amount that you will spend and unless you are tight with your money, I'd suggest bringing more.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $0-50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be careful with the cost of splitting cabs and make sure people pay you back! If you're not strict with your money in that sense you may end up paying for people's rides and drinks more often than you would like.


* 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? Beginner
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? Senior year of high school.
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? Talk as much as you can with the locals, more often than not are they willing to speak Spanish with you and correct you on your mistakes. The staff is also! Take every chance you can to speak Spanish with people!!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • People
  • Field Trips
  • Classes
* What could be improved?
  • Food
  • Free time
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To use Spanish as much and as early on as I could would have enriched my experience that much more.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.