USAC, Heredia Costa Rica!!!!!!!!!!!! Past Review

By (spanish/nursing, Boise State University) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, studying abroad changed me in so many ways. I learned Spanish, I made lifelong friends, and i learned how to not take things for granted. I feel that it should be a requirement for every student to study abroad.

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.

I went to Costa Rica with absolutely zero Spanish skills. I started with the basics, Track I, and rapidly went to intermediate/advanced in one semester. Because i stayed for the year, i was able to move on to the advanced level and finish almost all the classes for a Spanish major. The teachers set up the classes so they are very efficient and forced me to learn a lot. At times the workload was stressful, however not too stressful as i was able to travel literally every weekend. Because the teachers are native speakers, they are the best source to learn the language, and they could explain very well each topic.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The USAC staff was very helpful with me every time i needed them. They organized soccer games each week and the field trips were very fun. Every two weeks we had a "Tico-friends" meetings where we were introduced to local students from Costa Rica. In the meetings we would eat food, play games, and just hang out with locals.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living with a host family was definitely a huge part of my experience abroad. I learned a large portion of my Spanish from them. I also got to see first hand how the culture in Costa Rica is. They did my laundry, cooked three meals a day, and always helped me with any questions i had on my homework. If there was ever a family event or vacation I was treated like part of the family and brought along.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I met many costa rican locals in the "tico-friend" events. I still talk with my friends and can practice my Spanish with them each day.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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
Language acquisition improvement?

I could practice my Spanish in my host house, in the street and in the classroom. I was always speaking spanish. there were only a few locals who knew english, so it was very easy to find people to practice conversations with.

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
* 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? I recommend that students studying abroad try as hard as they can to make friends with the local students. once you make friends you're constantly speaking Spanish and they show you what the real Costa Rica is.