Waterfalls and Farm Dogs; Pura Vida Indeed Past Review

By (Environmental Studies, Lafayette College) - abroad from 06/08/2015 to 07/07/2015 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 how to mesh my humanities/social science-based Environmental Studies knowledge with a more scientific-based experience. It was certainly worthwhile to be surrounded by others doing their own versions of this and learning from each other all the time.

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.

It was not exceptionally difficult, but given my lack of strictly scientific experience, it kept me appropriately on my toes.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

the staff was so warm and wonderful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Definitely not everyone's favorite, but I slept great, and enjoyed the mixed community. I was also fortunate to get two especially lovely roommates.

* Food:

Could have been a bit more varied but very vegetarian-friendly for a country that is primarily omnivorous.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our professors and the rest of the on-campus staff made us feel very welcomed and encouraged us to learn, but due to my zero understanding of spanish, my personal immersion was a bit limited.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any healthcare problems while abroad but peers did and seemed to receive prompt care.

* Safety:

The guards were friendly and kind and our faithful guard dog Hera kept us safe and entertained.

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? $40-$80
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? pack enough on your way there that you don't really have physical room to buy things to bring home! also be savvy with your food and beverage choices.


* 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

but I don't speak it so no one forced me.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? None
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • the other students
  • the directed research experience on a farm in Monteverde
  • the field trips guided by professors
* What could be improved?
  • the amount of free time/exploring time
  • the kinds of research available
  • the amount of involvement on the campus farm
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how significantly difficult it would be to stay in contact with the outside world.

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.