The experiences that I made for myself are unforgettable. Past Review

By (Psychology/Spanish, Eastern Connecticut State University) - abroad from 09/03/2013 to 12/20/2013 with

Universidad Veritas: San José - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about myself, I learned that the world is huge even though sometimes, in situations it can be a small place, traveling is amazing, people do amazing things, anything is possible. Do what you want to do, don't waste time. Keep moving.

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 didn't particularly like it. The electives felt like they were thrown together to give us something to do; some were way to challenging with a insane workload, others clearly lacked any sort of outline and the professor just did whatever. As far as the Spanish classes are concerned, it is incredibly ineffective to have classes 5 days a week for 4 hours. At a certain point, the student caps off and nothing else is going in. Also SO absurd that the country requires us 4 monthers to leave the country for a specific amount of time but the school doesn't give us that time off if we take Spanish classes so we are forced to skip class, which we are not allowed to do. I did not like my educational experiences.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was just one woman taking care of us (though there were only 13 of us) who didn't have an office. She did as much as she could for us and she was great, but sometimes it felt like we weren't a priority.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was completely unsatisfied with my living arrangements. I wouldn't recommend living with a host family who currently lives anywhere from moderately to extremely independently. In Costa Rican culture, the children don't leave the home until they are quite settled, so the host parents don't understand independence in their host students. They are uncomfortably and annoyingly obsessed with you.

* Food:

Costa Rican food consists of rice and beans. Rice and beans, rice and beans, rice and beans. No cheese, no strong flavors. Also WAY too much food, I gained 15 pounds in 4 months.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Moderatly. Costa Rica isn't the most culturally diverse place in the world, but there are things that really make you feel like a local. Just learning the lay of the land, finding restaurants, learning the local transit system, it helps you just feel really comfortable.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There were no problems.

* Safety:

The neighborhoods were completely fine, as long as you don't act like an idiot. Take care of yourself, don't drag attention to yourself, don't be obligerently drunk, etc. However, it was highly recommended not to go downtown without locals.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Money poured out of me like I was bleeding. Mostly on traveling though. 1.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? A couple hundred.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to make your own meals.


* 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? Intermediate II
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? I know it's annoying, but try to find someone that will speak to you only in Spanish. I'm POSITIVE that I could have left fluent had I not spoken in English pretty much all the time.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
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?
  • it was inexpensive
* What could be improved?
  • Host families
  • Places traveled to
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Go to UCR instead of Veritas. Don't use CIS.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'