Costa Rica: The Five Months That Changed My Life Past Review

By (Spanish Language and Literature., Kansas 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?
My study abroad experience was life changing. I gained a greater appreciation for my life from this experience. I gained life long friendships and memories. I could not have asked for a better experience in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is an incredible country, with kind people and beautiful landscape. I am taking so much away from this experience, more clarity in my future plans, a greater cultural awareness, and a greater love for people.

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 professors that I had at the University were some of the best that I have ever had. They truly cared about my progression in Spanish and my well being.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administrators of my program were excellent. They helped me with any and everything. They cared so much for each and every member of my program and helped us all with so much. If we had questions about anything we felt comfortable to go and talk with them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a host family during my time in Costa Rica and it was the best choice that I could have made. My spanish dramatically improved due to constant conversation with my family. We had so much fun together as well and they really felt like my family! I felt extremely safe in my neighborhood and loved my house. It was very cozy and as was my room.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The week long excursion to Nicaragua was so much fun and extremely well planned! It was a blast and I absolutely was amazed by all of the cool activities that we got to do! One of my favorite trips during my stay.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The overall safety in Heredia is good compared to other cities in Costa Rica. We never walked around after 9pm though, we would take cabs or buses where we needed to go just to be safe. I felt safe in Heredia, the general rule in the group was don't be stupid. Never walk alone after dark, always tell someone your cab number, always make sure someone knows where you are and where you are going, be smart and use common sense. During my stay in Heredia I had to go to the ER for a possible concussion and the healthcare felt extremely similar to the states.

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?

Everyone in my program spoke english, so it was easy to just speak english to all of my friends. But every single day I was practicing spanish in class, with tico friends, and most of all with my family.

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
  • Apartment
  • Hostel
* 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 would tell a student considering this program to come to Costa Rica with no expectations, come with an open mind knowing that things will be different, some better, some worse, but most just different. Consider the opportunity a blessing and enjoy everyday in this magical country. A student with a love for nature, meeting new people, having new and fun experiences, and an interest in spanish would LOVE this program.