Costa Rica- the best vacation you will ever take! Past Review

By (Special Education, University of Wisconsin - Stout) for

Universidad Veritas: San José - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Costa Rica was overall amazing for me. I met tons of new people, I learned Spanish so well through my classes and meeting Costa Ricans, everyone is so friendly and nice. From my experience I have new interests of traveling the rest of my life! Seeing new places and experiencing other cultures is truly amazing. This trip did not affect my future plans too much. I plan to be a teacher, so maybe now I am interested in working with children who speak Spanish.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Veritas
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Teaching methods at Veritas were much more open here. There were a lot of discussions among teachers and students instead of teacher-directed classrooms. The curriculum and grading methods were very very easy at this school. I felt like I was in eighth grade again. Also, Veritas was extremely small compared to UW-Stout.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CEA was a great program. All of the directors were friendly, fun, experienced, knowledgeable, and available for students to get in touch with if they needed assistance. I was very impressed with their program and its efficiency.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family lived right in San Jose, Costa Rica, so there were many safety issues after dark. Multiple students I met there had previously been mugged and had phones and money stolen. Petty theft was the biggest issue in San Jose. I was advised to not walk alone after dark, not take cabs alone, and to not carry valuables or where nice jewelry at night. I had a ten minute walk home after night classes. However, there was a campus shuttle system available. My host family was extremely nice. The meals were wonderful as was my bedroom. The only thing I would change would be living in a dorm with all of the other exchange students instead of the host family. My roommate and I felt left our since we always had to go home to the host family and not stay with the other students.

* Food:

The food is really great. Maybe a little too much rice and beans. If you do not like spicy food, then do not add any condiments and you will be fine.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My CEA program had the BEST special events. We went to Arenal/Baldi hot springs and stayed over night at a ritzy hotel, Dominical Beach-whale watching and waterfalls, and ziplining at Poas and seeing the Volcano. I was very impressed with the events arranged through CEA.They also paid for us to all go to a soccer game- very good cultural experience!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I did not have any hospital run-ins on my trip. I think the health care system is pretty nice is Costa Rica. I know it is cheap, but also hard to get in right away to see someone. As far as safety goes, in San Jose, when you go out at night, do not bring a ton of money and never go alone. If you are smart, with a group of people, and not being stupid you will be fine.

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 classes were 4 hours a day Monday- Friday. There were ten students at most in each of my Spanish classes, so there was much opportunity for discussion. Also, my host family spoke Spanish and English so they were able to assist me as well. Spanish was used by everyone and everywhere in the country (except for large tourist areas).

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

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You will love Costa Rica if you are outgoing and like to be around people. Costa Rica has great night life- lots of dancing and drinking, but it is their culture. If you do not like going out and would rather sit in your host bedroom or dorm room all night then you will miss out on making friends and having a great experience and not have fun. The only students I met that did not enjoy their time were the people that would not break out of their shell and have fun. Also, if you are stingy with money DO NOT go. If you want to have fun, then you need to spend the money. It is as simple as that. No one wants to hear you complain about how you are not going to do a great experience because it costs too much- lame.