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Sol Education Abroad: Study Abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A semester of a life time

I have spent the last 4-5 months here in Costa Rica with Sol Education. It has truly been one of the most incredible opportunities. Sol does a wonderful job of immersing you into the culture and language. I am so glad that I found this program to study through. I would recommend this program to anyone who is thinking about studying abroad.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Living the Pura Vida

My experience with Sol in Costa Rica was, in a word, phenomenal. Through Sol, I gained fluency in Spanish, formed friendships with amazing people, learned about central american culture and history, learned how to travel well, and much more! I lived and studied in Heredia during the fall semester of my junior year. During this time, I lived with a host family and studied (through Sol) at Universidad Latina. I could not have imagined a better experience! My host mother (or 'mama tica') is one of the loveliest people who I have had the pleasure to meet. Additionally, the directors of the program were both very passionate about their jobs and very knowledgeable when it came to Costa Rican history and culture. They helped all of us to effectively navigate our experience in country.

Classes were interesting and challenging without being overwhelming. I started in Advanced Spanish I, before moving onto II and then Latin American Civilization and Culture and Latin American Literature. I also took a once a week night class with locals called "Realidad Mundial". (It was challenging, but I would definitely recommend taking a class with locals if your Spanish is advanced enough- it really pushes you to learn.) The courses through Sol are structured in month-long modules, so you are only taking one at a time. I personally enjoyed that system. Plus, it meant that we had Fridays off, which was especially nice because it meant more time for weekend travel.

Speaking of which, the excursions with Sol are absolutely amazing! We went everywhere from a permaculture center on the Caribbean coast to an historic city in Nicaragua (all included in the program cost- and we did quite a few). Plus, there are the shorter day trips as well as activities in and around Heredia that are organized by the program directors. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with all kinds of great adventure opportunities and an easily navigable public transportation system, so getting around is pretty easy (and you can cover quite a bit of ground, since it's a relatively small country).

In summary, Sol is a great program that takes a personal interest in its students. It aims to help all program participants to develop not only linguistically and academically, but also personally with regard to intercultural competency, global understanding, and critical thinking. The staff also work hard to empower participants to become independent and capable travellers. I cannot recommend this program highly enough!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Pura Vida with Sol

I spend a semester in Costa Rica with Sol Education and I am now preparing to spend another semester through Sol's program in Oaxaca, Mexico. This program is extremely well put together and filled with excursions and support networks for people who are excited to travel to a new country and learn Spanish. I found that the opportunities to share experiences with other Solmates and to meet locals were endless. One of the problems with being abroad can be too much down time which leads to isolation, but that was never a problem. With Sol, you can be as involved and immersed as you want to be.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

My first trip out of my comfort zone- semester in CR

My study abroad experience with SOL was my first time ever leaving the United States, and I was terrified. But I can now say that I am so, SO glad I did it. I think my biggest fear was that I'd have trouble making friends in my study abroad group, but I ended up meeting some of the most wonderful people and making great friends. We were always there for each other and it felt like I had a solid support system, which is pretty important when you're going to be there for a while like I was. I also came to love my host family, especially my host mom. She is an amazing person and I plan to keep in touch with her for the forseeable future, and hopefully visit one day. My classes + immersion while being there improved my spanish so much. I had been studying spanish for a long time but I never really felt that I could speak it. After coming back I can definitely say that I can speak spanish, which is a huge accomplishment for me.
In addition to social life and classes, we had a ton of excursions. Most of them were fun and also eye-opening, like our trip to Nicaragua. I think one of my favorite excursions was the zipline through the jungle canopy.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Costa Rica Experience

I had an incredible experience in Costa Rica. I was surrounded by very fun and interesting people the entire time. When I arrived I was barely able to communicate and by the end of my second week I was having full conversations with my host family

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Heredia, Costa Rica

Studying abroad was one of the best decision I have ever made in my life. Through this program, it was complete cultural immersion, from the families to the teachers. Heredia was a very safe, relaxed city, with a lot to offer and the nature of Costa Rica is incredible. The directors were great and really cared for safety and growth as a person. Would recommend to all my friends.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Un Verano Costarriccense

I have never had a more amazing experience in my life. My family was so generous and kind to both me and my compañero de cuarto. Our Mama Tica Karla embraced us with open arms. I have so much respect for her and her family. My Spanish has greatly improved as a result of living in her house. I am truly grateful! The greatest benefits were the life experiences, Spanish practice, and cultural awakening I experience while down here. I would say try and open your mind and leave your preconceived notions at home. There's no room for improvement if you've already filled yourself with ideas about how the world is or isn't. WOW, what an experience. You need to know that the people in charge here know what they are talking about. Listen to them and enjoy the ride because it really is a once in a life time opportunity.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Pura Vida

Pura vida is the best way to explain the semester program with Sol in Costa Rica. Life seems to be at the most ideal state for the entirety of the almost four months abroad in paradise. The people, culture, food and nature of Costa Rica are all incredible. My host family was loving, helpful, friendly, and yet didn't smother me with questions or rules. My host parents also made the most amazing food. Fresh fruit, gallo pinto, tarazu coffee, pasta, and fresh bread from the bakery are just minimal examples of all the deliciousness I experienced. Getting to dive in and be fully immersed into the Tico culture was where most of the learning and understanding stemmed. Everyday conversations about life with my host dad over lunch helped my Spanish tremendously, in addition to making me feel I was part of his family. The directors, Janiva and Jessie, are so amazing it's hard to explain. They taught me more about philosophy and life than I learned academically in my classes. That's saying a lot considering that my Spanish classes were very effective. The progressive courses enables you to be focused and learn Spanish much more easily than the typical university style. The excursions included with the program are phenomenal and educational. Punta Mona, a permaculture society on the Caribbean coast, was one of the destinations that was one of the best weekends in my life. Traveling within the country is so easy. I got to explore a lot of the country with my friends on our free weekends. Which leads to my last point, the friends I made and people I met through SOL are some of the greatest encounters of my life. People make the adventure. In my case the adventures were amazing, but the people were even more amazing.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Best Experience

I thought this experience was one of the best things for me. I absolutely loved the atmosphere of staying in a host family's home and becoming a part of their family. My host family, tour guides, administration at the university and many other people through the SOL program made this experience was it was. I really enjoyed the excursions during the first three weeks as well. Although I wished there were more planned excursions for the last 8 weeks of my program, I also enjoyed learning how to explore the country by myself (and with friends)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    8

Best Experience Ever!

You will have so much fun make so many good friends! The directors and everyone involved in Sol are so dedicated to making this the best experience you've had to date. They've helped me with everything from my speaking skills, to overcoming homesickness, to helping me plan my own trips! It's been amazing--it's gone by so quickly! This has been the best decision I've ever made, hands down!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    6

  • Social Life

    9

Best decision EVER!!

It was amazing!!! This program was awesome and well though out. Definitely a good first time abroad thing- classes were not where I learned most of my Spanish, but the host family made up for it ten-fold!! The experience was so worth it, from rafting to zip-lining, it was insane! If you're really comfortable abroad and/or are proficient in Spanish, I'd say find a more rigorous program, but overall, changed my life and future for the better!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

Traveling to Costa Rica was the Most Liberating, Challenging, and Empowering Experience of My Life.

Still can not fully put my experience in to words, but traveling to Costa Rica was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, academically and personally. SOL Education Abroad is a wonderful program that takes you off the common path to explore, learn, listen, question, and fully be immersed in culture.

Traveling is such a liberating and rejuvenating experience and I will be forever grateful for my time in Costa Rica, a country that has truly touched my spirit and soul. Choose Sol Education Abroad!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Lifetime Memories

This was honestly one of the best experiences in my life. I loved every second of it. I had friends from the US studying with me that I know will last longer than most would expect. Just from 6 weeks of studying Spanish abroad, I learned more than just the language, but how to live to the fullest. I had local friends and we hung out and taught me Spanish while I taught them English. It was like a dream that came true to me. More than amazing. I learned about myself, the culture, the environment, and I gained self-awareness, global-awareness and the ideas and opinions of people unlike me. It was amazing!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

The Total Immersion and Travel Experience

I went to Costa Rica seeking adventure and found it in many more places than I anticipated. Not only did I get to experience the natural beauty the country offers through excursions provided by Sol and personal travel, but I fell in love with the culture. My host family provided me with support, the most delicious food, and eventually became a second family. My directors were more than helpful and were my most trusted teachers. Other students on my program became my closest friends. Costa Rica has more to offer than just volcanoes and gorgeous beaches - and Sol will teach you how to be more than a tourist: how to be a traveler.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

the adventure of a lifetime

Now that I'm back in the States, I can fully reflect on the incredibly life changing experience I had with the Sol Education Abroad program in Heredia, Costa Rica. Though there are many wonderful aspects to the program, which I'll get to in a bit, the most impressive part of the program were the directors Janiva and Jessie. Their philosophy for our study abroad experience was, "be a traveler, not a tourist". This made our experience completely unique than those of other study abroad programs. We weren't in Costa Rica as tourists, but rather students of life. We learned from our directors about the importance of supporting local economies rather than corporations, how to live on this earth in a more sustainable way, and most importantly, how to openly love and accept yourself and others. They are amazing friends and role models, and will open your eyes to see Costa Rica and yourself in a way you never thought would be possible.

The city of Heredia is rich with culture. It's not really a tourist destination, therefore you really get to see how Ticos live. I spoke next to no spanish when I first arrived, and by the end of my four months I could confidently converse with just about anyone. I already miss hearing spanish around me all the time, you are immersed in one of the most beautiful languages, and being able to connect with your host family and locals in another language was one of the coolest experiences. Explore the city, go into Heredia Central and have cafecito with friends, or San José is just a short bus or train ride away! Living near San José is a blessing, because it's so easy to find a bus that will take you to the beaches or mountains during your free weekends. The nightlife in Heredia and San José is full of young people filling the bars and streets, and there are many places to go and dance!

Our excursions were always incredibly fun, they took us white water rafting on the breathtaking Rio Pacuare, and we saw most of what Costa Rica has to offer: active volcanoes, rain forests, cloud forests, waterfalls, mountains, wildlife (sloths!!!!!), and we even went to the Caribbean! The Caribbean beach excursion was amazing, we went to a beautiful off the grid permaculture farm called Punta Mona in Limón, where we learned how to live sustainably off the earth. Our whole group was in awe after that weekend, and it inspired us to have "Sol Searching" every Wednesday, where we sat in a circle and talked about everything from food systems and modern slavery to sexuality and gender.

To sum it all up, if you are looking to have the adventure of a lifetime in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, learn a new language, and to grow leaps and bounds and become a better, compassionate, loving version of yourself, GO!! Studying abroad in Costa Rica was the best decision I've made in my life thus far, and there isn't a better program out there than Sol Education.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Be a traveler, instead of a tourist.

Stop looking for another immersion program and become a Sol student. You will never be the same person you once knew, because Sol Education will help direct you into the best version of yourself. So come with an open mind and the realization that you will change for the better. You will never look at the world with the same lenses. You will find yourself in situations that challenge your every being. In the end you will be forever grateful that you made the decision to immerse yourself into the unknown.

You will change your outlook on life, cultural awareness, traveling, and education by participating in Sol Education. Wither your coming for three weeks or four months, the directors of Sol Education are here to broaden your horizons and open your heart to being a traveler before a tourist. This program immerses you into what it means to be a conscious human being. Going overseas rattles your mind to question your morals and ways of thinking in such a beautiful way. Sol Education helped direct my thoughts on a path to cultural awareness, diversity, service learning, and keeping a open heart to the experiences unknown. Sol Education will not just help you excel your language skills, but your life skills. Do not join this program if you expect to go home the same person, because it will forever change your soul for the better.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Becoming A Traveler

I absolutely loved my experience with SOL in Costa Rica! This program offers you a variety of activities, from getting involved with the community to seeing the most majestic and beautiful landscapes I have ever seen in my life! SOL allows you to become a traveler rather than a tourist. You learn to see the world in a different way, and are challenged to change your perspective and see things from various angles. My Spanish improved greatly on this trip, SOL is sure to give you a complete immersion experience that advances your Spanish skills and gives you the confidence to speak. I have made countless lasting friendships with my SOL Mates, and will never forget all of the memories I have had this semester! Thank you to everyone who made this the best 4 months of my life!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Pura Vida!

I'm so glad that I chose Sol Education Abroad as my study abroad program. It was truly an amazing experience. My directors were involved and very informative. They worked hard to help us get a full cultural immersion. This program has so much more to offer than just The Spanish language.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The best educational and growth experience of my life

This Spring 2015, I embarked on a journey that would change my life. I leave in 3 days and it is the whackiest feeling in the world for me.

I have developed a new family here. One within my host family, and one within the tight-nit study abroad group and our leaders. I came here having taken spanish classes for 6 years, but not much stuck. I felt hopeless, like I'd never be able to be fluent no matter how many years I can take. I didn't even know how to say "más despacio" when a person was speaking to me really fast/normally in spanish. Now, almost 4 months after the program began, those words are in my mental dictionary, yet I never need to use them. I can understand any conversation spoken in spanish, and better yet, I can hold deep philosophical conversations with anyone. In these 4 months I have learned more than I have learned in a year in college, high school, middle school. I am learning every step I take, from conversing with a stranger on the street or bus, to simply looking at a sign beside me in spanish.

Know that this will be the best decision you have ever made in your life (so far). I feel as if I came to a foreign place, with two phenomenal leaders, with whom I feel so lucky to have had the chance to encounter, and with a host mom who was my support system all the way and with whom i had grown to be capable of having elaborate conversations about life, love, sexuality, religion, family--all in spanish!

Be prepared to feel out of your comfort zone, challenged, frustrated, shy, embarrassed, silly, and to come out of the program a completely better version of your older self, with more knowledge, patience, love, aspiration and dreams than before.

Biggest benefit: I now look at communication/language and family in a whole other light.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

wouldn't change a thing!

Everything about the program is perfect. I wouldnt have done it any differently. It is also in an amazing location where I always felt safe & at home. All of the excursions were fantastic and I learned something new on each one. It was overall such a beautiful experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Everything You Could Want and More

When I first was introduced to this program, I truly thought it was too good to be true. It was affordable and had amazing excursions so I thought it couldn't be real. However, after applying and being a part of it, it far surpassed any expectation I had. My host family experience was phenomenal! I was a part of the family as soon as I arrived, and everyone in my family was more than willing to help me out whenever I needed it. My directors were philosophers, adventurers, therapists, and friends all wrapped up in two incredible beings. Every part of the staff I interacted with, including the advisors on the phone, were extremely patient and willing to assist in whatever I needed. The country is perfect and living in Heredia was so nice to be in more of a suburban area of Costa Rica. It was prime location for traveling while also feeling extremely safe. Every excursion and cultural activity was tailored to give an amazing overview of such an amazing country and I truly feel like I've experienced Costa Rica like a true "tica," instead of merely a tourist. I have never felt more comfortable and at home than I was in this beautiful foreign country. I have gained new friends across the globe, new language acquisition, a second family, new perspectives, and countless memories. Everyone says studying abroad is a life-changing experience, but you can't understand it until you have one like I did through Sol Education Abroad. If you have even the slightest interest in going- apply. You will most definitely not regret it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

¡Pura Vida!

I only did the Winter Break session (1 month) in Costa Rica and by the end of my stay, I really regretted it. I wish I would have done a lot more then a month! The program was awesome and a great experience. They not only teach you valuable Spanish skills but also help you grow as a person via their SOL Searching sessions. Everything about the programs was well done and executed. The housing arrangements were awesome and I was blessed to have a great mama Tica that taught me a lot and treated me as one of her own children. The cultural activities really help in you overall immersion experience and are super fun. I only went on one of the excursions and it was awesome. Everything from the transportation, housing and food was great! The SOL directors are always willing to help and are very informative. As for Costa Rica, that place is awesome! I always felt safe their and the people are some of the most relaxed and friendly people you will meet. I strongly recommend traveling around Costa Rica on your free weekends. The country has awesome places to visit and you will see some of the nicest beaches, parks, volcanoes and mountains this world has to offer. I would strongly recommend this program to anyone. ¡Pura Vida!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Sol Education: Costa Rica

Let me start off by saying that choosing to study abroad with sol was one of the best decisions of my life. Heredia (the city where the program is based) is a beautiful cultural town, with tons to do, and easy access to San Jose by bus. My friends and I would spend afternoons walking around downtown, sitting in parks, or even hanging out at the mall that is right across the street from the University. You will experience more than you imagine with sol; whitewater rafting in one of the top ranked rivers in the WORLD, the chance to visit three active volcanos, beach excursion, zip-lining, waterfalls, hot springs, and a chance to travel to another country for a weekend (in my case Nicaragua) and so much more! Not to mention that the food is amazing (I've heard a lot of horror stories about study abroad food) but if you ever need an American fix you can easily walk to the mall and have your pick from the food court. The program directors are so helpful, and they get to know you on a personal level, and become like your friends rather than your directors. My host family experience was amazing, my mama tica made delicious food, and my papa tico was always around to talk with us and give us suggestions for what to do on our free weekends. I could go on and on (more than I already have) but I just hope that if you're reading this that you choose to study abroad with this program. You won't regret it, and you'll have experiences that you never could have imagined! :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    5

Costa Rica '15

Great experience, packed a lot into a week and we learned so much about a new culture. Also had time to safely explore on our own. Definitely an immersion experience and class was personalized for our needs. I would definitely repeat the experience; Sol Education knows what they're doing

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Life-changing 4 months

Because of SOL, I gained a new outlook on life, new hobbies and passions, and a new-found love for life. The program was chalk full of cultural activities, excursions, and ways to get involved. The group of people I met will be lifelong friends and the experiences I've had here will be lifelong memories. I don't want to leave, but I am excited for a future full of traveling and a more positive outlook!