Costa Rica will always be a place I can go back to. Past Review

By (Sociology., Mount St. Mary's University, Los Angeles) - abroad from 09/03/2012 to 12/20/2012 with

Universidad Veritas: San José - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Though Costa Rica may not be Paris, Barcelona, or the United States that's not why you're there!!! Rainforest? Dry forest? Caribbean? Pacific? Snorkel? Bungee Jump? Zipline? Fruits for days, freshest smoothies and juices, gallo pinto and platanos -- that's why you're there. The field trips I took through Universidad VERITAS for my electives were by far the most rewarding cultural experiences and being able to volunteer at the local orphanage. Trips I took for fun were bites of paradise. If you want to learn Spanish, go on adventures, learn more about the environment, other people, and yourself definitely give Costa Rica a shot. TIPS: Wear clothes you would normally wear and adventure stuff for the weekends, an umbrella if you come during rainy season, bug spray and sunblock. Leave the raincoat at home. Rain boots would come in handy for treks in the rainforest for field trips. Reason for not returning to the same program: Although I enjoyed the program with VERITAS, I would like to try and take classes at another university or spend time volunteering. I loved my stay and made a lot of great friends, but almost of them were from the United States. However, I will definitely return to Costa Rica and I have Universidad VERITAS to thank for helping me find out I love that country!

Review Photos

Universidad VERITAS: San José - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Universidad VERITAS: San José - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Universidad VERITAS: San José - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Universidad VERITAS: San José - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Universidad VERITAS: San José - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The teachers want you to succeed and try to keep class interesting and reinforcing ideas through activities outside of the classroom. 4 hour intensive spanish courses are definitely rough but teachers are fun. Electives courses were great!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Center for International Programs is very helpful and all very friendly!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My family was very accommodating and did not mind me coming and going as I please compared to other families.

* Food:

Be wary of gaining weight... Try to work out if you can and go to the organic market or feria on the weekends if you don't go on a trip.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did spend a little too much time with international students, but it was difficult to make friends with students at the university. I found it much easier to meet locals from other universities.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Life in the city, just like life in any other city. Don't do anything you wouldn't do to attract attention to yourself -- walk alone at night, yell America, walk while texting on your iPhone, etc. Just be smart!

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)

You could get by with $50 a week.. but so easy to spend $100 a week, and even easier to spend more if you travel on the weekends and don't haggle for souvenirs!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About $100/week.. sometimes a lot more.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? SAVE MONEY. Plan trips by yourself and with a friend. Stay in hostels and take public transportation. Don't get swindled by taxis.


* 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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? High School Spanish
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? Don't be afraid to mess up. Practice with your family and with locals. Don't always stay with people from your program.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Elective Courses
  • Spanish Courses
* What could be improved?
  • Involvement with Ticos
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Enroll directly instead from a third-party program if possible. Wear clothes you would normally wear. Don't be shy to try anything because once you're back home the opportunity can't be brought back again. Meet and talk to everyone! Visit other universities. WORK OUT 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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

HUM3513 Costa Rica Colloquium: History & Culture

Course Department:
Instructor: Joaquin Lizano
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course changes with every class because the class is able to decide what topics to cover over the 12 weeks. Social issues, current events, history, and time for reflection. Definitely a course that helps to contribute to cultural immersion or at least helps to identify things most students probably wouldn't think about while studying abroad. Great for all students and all majors -- it makes the class more interesting.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

SPN 202 Intermediate Spanish 2

Course Department:
Instructor: Eugenia Yglesias
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: If you are able to take a course with Eugenia, please try to! She is so sweet and really helped with my Spanish. She always knows cultural events happening during the week or on the weekends and the content of the course is great. Three thumbs up!
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

ENV4040 Environmental Awareness and Sustainable Development

Course Department:
Instructor: Melania Munoz
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Melania knows her stuff and of the courses I took, hers was a little more challenging. This was my first sustainable development course but for others it was a little easier. The class material is more than applicable and goes with current events. The field trips were THE BEST! Definitely get to see a side of Costa Rica you normally wouldn't think about visiting. If you're interested in environmental volunteering, definitely look into it and plan for it. Ask her for suggestions :).
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

HHD1050 Intro to Alternative Medicines

Course Department:
Instructor: Ricardo Cruz Sauma
Instruction Language: Tic-english
Comments: This course was very interesting and I highly suggest for those interested in health care and medicine to take this course with an open mind! Field trips were super interesting and tons of fun. The field trips are in Spanish however but the professor will translate!
Credit Transfer Issues: