Costa Rica Opened My Eyes and Heart To a New Me! Past Review

By (Nursing, Kapiolani Community College) for

Universidad Veritas: San José - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study aboard experience was worth my while. It changed my life. Being in Costa Rica opened my eyes to a whole new me. I have never had much but being in Costa Rica made me realize I do have so much and I am so grateful for everything I am blessed with. It made me realize how different cultures can be. It made me realize I am blessed to be an American and have so many rights. It made me want to travel and see the world. A quality I gained from studying in Costa Rica is my spanish speaking skills along with the want to travel and help others in third world countries. Since my experience in Costa Rica I have traveled to Ecuador to do an humanitarian trip. This trip was quite amazing as well. Now I am addicted to helping others and making a difference. I can't wait for my next opportunity to study aboard or go on another humanitarian trip.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Universidad Veritas
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.

Aloha Everyone, My name is Hannah Monson and I was pleased to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica during the summer of 2008. My program of study was Spanish 102. Prior to my education in Costa Rica I had very little knowledge with the spanish language. I had only taken one other spanish course in college the spring before my study abroad experience. It was quite a culture shock for me the night I arrived in Costa Rica. I was so scared because even though I took Spanish the semester before, I didn't consider myself a spanish speaker, not even a beginner. Not only that but I was very timid speaking a foreign language. The first night and day in Costa Rica I had a terrible time trying to communicate with my host family because my Mama Tica didn't speak a word on English. Once school started I was more comfortable because I made many friends. I couldn't have asked for a better educational experience. Being emerged in a culture is the best way to learn a language because I was forced to speak spanish. I loved this because it opened my mind to a whole new level of thinking and understanding. Being able to listen to everyone around me speak spanish helped me understand how the language was spoken. Our classes were amazing, very informative, and extremely helpful. The best thing was 90% of our lectures were strictly in spanish. It was difficult but at the same time I learned so much from being emerged in the language. The most important thing I learned in Costa Rica was that I was learning a different language so I needed to treat it like a different language. My problem was trying to translate word to word from english to spanish. This is a big no no because I would be speaking completely wrong. Once I concurred that issue I was almost fluent by the time I left Costa Rica. So I must say my overall educational experience was the cherry on top of my education.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I would rate the on-site administration of my study abroad program provider a 10. A 10 being the highest. Our trip was planned accordingly and stress free. Not only did they make it so we were in a good learning environment, they made it so we would have fun while doing so. They planned so many fun weekend excursions for us so we could see the beauty of Costa Rica and experience their culture. It was safe, well organized, and one of my most amazing experiences.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed with a local woman. We called her our Tica Mama. Tica/tico is what they call the locals in Costa Rica. I am from Hawaii. I had a roommate and she was from Hawaii as well. There were three other students in the house as well. One girl from the East Coast of USA and two girls from Asia. I would give my housing satisfaction an 10. Our Tica Mama was amazing. She would always have breakfast and dinner for us. Provide us with our basic needs. She loved us. We were able to walk to school from our house. About a 15 minute walk. Everything was very clean. I didn't need to buy any items to settle in. She gave us towels and did our laundry. :) It was nice because she didn't speak English but towards the middle of my trip I could speak with her. I love my Mama Tica and we both cried when it was time to say goodbye.

* Food:

The food was excellent. I never got sick once while I was there. I am actually starting to crave Costa Rica food right now just thinking about it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The social and non-academic aspects of my trip was amazing. They coordinated weekend activities for us the whole time I was there. I was able to surf, dance, zip line through the jungle, play with monkeys, see crocodiles, pick shells on the beach, shop, meet locals, eat out, and site see quite often while I was in Costa Rica. I love my experience there so much I didn't want to come.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt very safe while I was in Costa Rica. At the same time other students didn't. I wouldn't San Jose where we were studying would be the safest place for a tourist but I was always positive, thought good things, didn't attract negativity, and I felt safe and happy the whole time and I was very safe. The health aspects of school was amazing. Everything was very cleaned and well maintained.

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?

My spanish was very limited before I arrived in Costa Rica. By the time I left I would have considered my self almost fluent. I was able to check into hotels, take a cab home giving the cab driver directions, participate in class, order at a restaurant, meet new people, read, and write in spanish. The program encouraged learning spanish to your full potential. My advice to improve a language skill while studying aboard is to take everything you can from you aboard experience, make international friends to converse with, don't be shy, be able to laugh at yourself because we all make mistakes or say sill things while learning a new language, take advice from your teachers, study, enjoy the culture, and realize that you are studying a new language and it is going to be completely different from your own.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Please do it. Studying aboard can be the most awarding and amazing experience of your life. Do it now because while your young it might be the only time to do it. Don't be afraid to open your wings and fly to a new experience.


Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be apart of this scholarship.

Hannah Christine August 26, 2010

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be apart of this scholarship.

Hannah Christine August 26, 2010