A man on top of a mountain A man on top of a mountain

API at the Instituto San Joaquin de Flores in Costa Rica

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics


  • Living Situation


  • Cultural Immersion


  • Program Administration


  • Health and Safety


  • Social Life


Living La Pura Vida!

What is “pura vida” you ask? It is Spanish for “pure life.” And that is exactly what I was able to experience during my spring 2011 semester abroad with API in San Joaquin de Flores, Costa Rica. As a student studying Spanish and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) San Joaquin de Flores was a perfect fit for me. Academically, I was challenged by this Spanish-intensive program and was encouraged to find myself improving with each day. With small class sizes and well-trained professors, my classmates and I were able to quickly form relationships with our professors who were always there to help. Many of the classes at the Instituto San Joaquin de Flores provided hands-on learning opportunities such as attending live musical concerts, touring museums and historical towns, and even volunteering to teach English in local schools and libraries!

The overall program administration was great! It was so nice to know, before you were able to call your host country a home, that there were resident directors who could help you through every step of the transition. I really felt like I was able to go to them with any sort of problem or concern. API also deserves credit for their incredibly well organized excursions. I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to travel with other students in my program to discover the beauty of Costa Rica in Manuel Antonio & Rio Celeste and even taking a trip over the southern border to visit Panama City and the historical Panama Canal.

My favorite part about this program was the opportunity to immerse myself completely in the culture of Costa Rica. Living with a host family not only gave me the chance to speak Spanish every day, but I also built strong bonds with the members of my host family and learned to appreciate aspects of their daily life. From trying different Costa Rican foods to playing in a local soccer league and making memories at family gatherings and events, each and every day offered something unique. I would definitely recommend this program to any student seeking a truly memorable and meaningful study abroad experience. Pura vida!