Pura Vida Past Review

By (Economics., University of Maine at Orono) - abroad from 07/01/2014 to 08/07/2014 with

USAC Costa Rica: Heredia - Spanish Language, Ecological, and Latin American Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained significant language skills, but more importantly I gained self confidence which will help me in every aspect of my life in the future.

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.

The classes were not very challenging, but they left plenty of time to explore the country.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

So helpful and knowledgeable.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I wish we could have had classes with local students, but my host family did a great job of integrating me in their neighborhood.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not need any health care prior to my trip, but I received an injury while abroad and had to visit a clinic. The service was quick, affordable. It was actually cheaper than it would have been at home!

* Safety:

I only took minimal precautions (don't walk alone at night) and I never felt unsafe.

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)

I spent about $100 a week but I also did a lot of travelling within the country.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100


* 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

My classes were all taught in Spanish and my host family only spoke Spanish so I was definitely encouraged to use it.

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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300
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 try. If you mess something up it's not a big deal. People are really impressed that you're trying, and you'll know better next time.

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • host family
  • excursions
  • local activities
* What could be improved?
  • more challenging classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Just because your language skills aren't perfect you shouldn't not use them. Practice is the only way to improve.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!