Costa Rican Adventure Past Review

By (Biology: Ecology and Evolution, University of California - Merced) for

University of California EAP (UCEAP): Monteverde - Tropical Biology & Conservation, Monteverde Institute

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I said no, only because I want to see and visit other places. But I am determined to one day return to Costa Rica and see more of the country that I did not get a chance to visit. I gained some wonderful research experience, but this program has also made me realize that I don't want to be an academic for the rest of my life.

Personal Information

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.

Workload was manageable but very time consuming. There was little separation between academics and life.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Professors and instructors were always available to help and answer questions, but sometimes it seemed like things were not well organized and did not go smoothly

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

Easy for vegetarians however Costa Rican food by nature is not very diverse or flavorful. Meals were repetitive and involved a lot of rice, beans, and pasta.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There wasn't much to do in Monteverde, so we spend a lot of time at the bars. The field trips were great, and I learned a lot.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Overall the program felt very safe. I never felt as though I were any imminent danger. I took a typhoid vaccine and contracted giardia (but that was quickly cleared up with medicine). Anyone with common sense can navigate this program safely.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? All costs are covered before you leave. If you don't buy anything for personal use (extra food, drinks, buses to travel, etc) you will spend minimal amounts
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? As one of the most touristy countries in Latin America, Costa Rica is more expensive than other countries. Taxis can also cost a lot if you go alone


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
Language acquisition improvement?

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Hands on learning experience
  • Amazing instructors
* What could be improved?
  • More cultural immersion
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Bring a good, waterproof jacket and an umbrella. Otherwise, pack light