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Semester in Costa Rica
CISabroad participants CISabroad participants

Semester in Costa Rica

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Pura Vida with CISabroad

Studying abroad for the Spring 2017 semester was my first time going out of the country, so I am really glad that I went with a program that would arrange housing, meals, activities, etc which put me at ease as a first-time international traveler. Now that I have studied abroad with a program, I feel equipped to travel on my own (which I have now!). I would highly recommend doing a program if it's your first time going abroad, but if you have experience travelling and adapting to new cultures/languages, it would be a lot cheaper to arrange travel plans independently. I loved my home stay, and students that did not like theirs were given the chance to switch homes. When a couple students got food poisoning, they went to the hospital and were reimbursed for the bills by CISabroad. Our on-site director went with them, check up on them, and helped with insurance questions. I loved being in the capital San Jose because I got to see the downtown area and got to see so many museums, tons of artsy boutiques and shops, and also got to see what daily life was like in the capital. There are so many giant fresh markets that are fun to explore! There is also a big (and confusing) public bus system that is super cheap, and there are bus terminals where you can buy tickets to destinations throughout Costa Rica, or to Nicaragua. I took several trips with friends to beaches using the bus terminals. The CISabroad excursions were great and a way to learn about the culture. Our on-site director knew so much about the culture, wildlife, and history of Costa Rica. We got a tour of the city on our second day there, and on all the excursions she would tell us interesting facts. If I could study abroad again, I totally would!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Extraterrestrials

I truly felt like an alien visiting a new planet where I did not speak their language well nor did I understand the culture. After only a month of living in this foreign place, my Spanish speaking ability and love for my host country skyrocketed. Costa Rica is the most beautiful place I have ever been exposed to and I have CIS to thank for that. The host family that took me into their home accepted me, a random American, almost as a son. The home-stay experience is so important since this is where you learn about your new country. CIS made sure I had a place I could truly call home. I really became more immersed in the culture because of them.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

trip of a lifetime

I have just returned home from possibly the best thing that has ever happened to me. Studying abroad in Costa Rica has given me such a grand view and appreciation of other cultures and pepole. I lived with a beautiful family, and felt a part of the family unit and greater community. My school was incredible, and I had the most compassionate and knowledgable of teachers. I will rreturn as soon as I can! So blessed for this opportunity, thanks CIS for making it something so very special and life changing.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

My experience

My experience in Costa Rica was beyong imagination. I have traveled to several other countries but Costa Rica beats them all. From the beautiful, generous and kind people to the food - I was very much haply and satisfied the whole time. If I have to chance to do it, I would go through everything in a heart beat. I would advice anyone who wants to embark in this journey, to enjoy every bit of it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Costa Rica

I loved Costa Rica so much and CIS made it a great experience. I wish I could have stayed there with my friends forever! I would definitely recommend studying with this program. If not this one, at least go somewhere!!! Studying abroad changed my perspective for the better in so many ways and I think it has changed the course of my life entirely!!! If you do one thing in college, studying abroad should be it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    10

Costa Rica

Overall I had an amazing experience abroad! The only thing I was unhappy with was that the excursions were not set in stone before I arrived. I didn't know what I was paying for beforehand and I wish that had been different, because I felt like the program was just trying to make a profit off of me instead of showing me the best places in Costa Rica.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

CISabroad Costa Rica

This once in a lifetime experience was simply AMAZING! I loved my Mama Tica, professors and program director. Each of them helped me so much in making my experience the most it could be by traveling and speaking Spanish every day! I learned so much and I made real quality friends who I will keep in contact with for many years to come! The program provided many traveling opportunities and socials. We had a great time together. I think that the most fun and most memorable trips were the ones included in the program that each of us went on together!!! With the program I always felt safe and included in the environment. I am so thankful to Lisa our program director, and all of those who made this all possible!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    9

Pura Vida

My experience in Costa Rica was the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. College is the time in your life where you grow and become the person you are supposed to be. Studying abroad enhances this process a million times greater. Abroad I traveled on my own, becoming more independent than I've ever been. Handling colds without my mama and navigating a country where my normal language is not the norm. I always felt safe in Costa Rica, just as safe as I feel in my hometown of Portland, OR. At my home institution of Western Oregon University, it was a struggle to get myself to class, I (amusingly) failed my Spanish 101 fall term of my Freshman year. But in Costa Rica I never missed a day. Going to class was a cultural experience all in itself. I flew through spanish with nothing ever lower than a B+ all the way up into the 400 levels. Classrooms were small and the professors were native speakers who rotated in and out of the program. My host family was fabulous, and my living arrangements were far better than my tiny dorm at WOU. I met the two most amazing ladies abroad who are now my two best friends. Overall my experience in Costa Rica could not have been more perfect, no one will ever regret studying there.
Pura Vida.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    10

Ticos de todos lados

I really loved studying in Costa Rica. I was lucky enough to have a really excellent host mom who didn't speak any English, so my Spanish improved greatly, and so did my cultural experience. We talked every day in the kitchen while she was cooking breakfast and dinner, and she would walk me and my housemates to the door every morning when we left for classes. At first, there were some things about the culture that made me feel a little awkward, but after a while, it just started to feel normal, and now I know that I'm going to miss very much the Tico culture. ¡Pura Vida!

Academics:
Excellent professors, and living here was a big part of my education, as well.

Living Situation:
My host mom was excellent, and always treated me with kindness and plenty of food.

Cultural Immersion:
My host mom only spoke Spanish, so I had little chance to get away from the language and the culture, which was amazing.

Program Administration:
There were some confusions and mix ups of paperwork, but overall, everything turned out very well, and I am happy with the results.

Health and Safety:
It was difficult to feel safe walking alone, especially at night. But I didn't actually have any issues, so everything turned out well.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    10

Amazing

I absolutely loved every minute of my trip, from the original discomfort of a completely new environment, to the overwhelming feeling of fitting in somewhere so foreign. I will forever cherish the times I have had and the friends I have made.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    3

  • Community

    10

I never want to leave

As much as I miss my family and friends, this was the most incredible experiences of my life. My host family was incredible and I made so many local friends as well as friends from all over the world. I will cherish these memories forever. Going home is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done and I plan on coming back to Central America the moment I graduate.

Academics:
Amazing professors, could have been more challenging

Living Situation:
I lived with some of the most amazing people I have ever met.

Cultural Immersion:
I felt immersed but there was always an option to stay within your comfort zone

Program Administration:
They were always available and helpful

Health and Safety:
In San Jose, you shouldn't walk at night.

Social Life:
Always things to do

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Study abroad San Jose, Costa Rica

The experience was amazing. I had the opportunity to meet tons of great people and learn spanish not only in school but also from friends I met along the way. By far the best four months of my life. I learned so much not only about spanish but just life in general. Deffinitely recommend that everyone has an experience such as I had.

Social Life:
Lots of place to go. Never was bored.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    10

I didn't think...

I didn't think I would learn this much. I didn't think that I would meet people and after a coupl days of knowing them, be like wow, how did I live my entire life not knowing these people. I didn't think I'd make life long friends, life long family. I didn't think I would feel like Costa Rica was my hom and not some place that I was studying abroad for a school year..

Academics:
All inteligent, encouraging, and understanding people. Who KNOW what they are talking about and how to really make it a cultural experience.

Living Situation:
Fell in love with my family. They made me feel very welcome.

Cultural Immersion:
Anything I wanted to know my host dad was willing to share. He loved talking about his country and was always eager to share.

Program Administration:
Atentative and helpful when needed.

Health and Safety:
If you put yourself in a dangerous situation, things will happen to you. If you don't, 9.9 times out of 10, they want. Common sense.

Social Life:
It's easy to make friends (wih other internationa students) cause everyones in the same boat as you. And out in the town people are willing to talk, help, and some even want to get to know you.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    9

A Grand Time

I don't have many words to describe my four months...Veritas, CIS, and the whole experience were truly amazing. I am never going to forget these past four months. My host family was the best part of my experience. (Costa Ricans are generally wonderful to live with). It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to everyone.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    8

My 3 months in Costa Rica

My overall experience was one I will never forget. I took Basic Spanish 1 and 2 while abroad. My Spanish speaking skill improved tremendously while I was there due to the fact that I was able to learn in a classroom setting as well as practice everyday with the local people. I would recommend staying with a family while studying abroad. I had a wonderful family that I grew very close too. It was difficult to say goodbye to them. Even though there is a cultural and language barrier it is amazing the relationships that can form. Costa Rica is a beautiful country. I was busy every weekend trying to see as much as I could. One semester simply is not enough time to see everything the country has to offer, but I am blessed by the experiences that I had while living there.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    10

CIS Abroad

CIS did well at matching up the homestay families. This gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in the culture. I felt like I got the independence I wanted, and CIS was also there to assist me where I had questions or needed help. I felt fairly safe for the most part. I liked that there were security guards to follow us home as well as the shuttle.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    10

IF YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT IT, DO IT!!!!

My semester in Costa Rica was AMAZING. Y'all, i wish i could tell you everything, but basically I had the most amazing time of my life- no exaggeration. Costa Rica is such an amazing country and the people are so nice and welcoming and you will meet people you'll never forget. The field trips are awesome, you get to learn and experience another culture and the beaches are GORGEOUS. Just go, I promise you won't regret it!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

When can I go back?

My study abroad experience was incredible. Almost everything was perfect, from the location to the school to the other people I met. I now feel that Costa Rica is my second home and I cannot wait to return!

Academics:
Classes were structured differently than what I was used to, but I enjoyed them all and learned a lot.

Living Situation:
I LOVED my host family. Would not have changed a thing.

Cultural Immersion:
The opportunity is there, all the student needs to do is take it.

Program Administration:
My director was AWESOME! She gave us the freedom we needed to experience everything, but was also there for whatever we may have possibly needed. She gets an A+++

Health and Safety:
I never once felt at danger, however I did hear about instances with other students. The school did a pretty good job of having security on motorcycles, and I never felt unsafe.

Social Life:
I met so many people and there is so much to do. Even when I wasn't traveling, there were so many cultural events and other things going on where I could go out, meet new people, and experience new things.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health & Safety

    5

  • Community

    8

Living the Tico Life

I had a great time studying abroad in Costa Rica! I learned so much, about the language, about the people and about the culture! I made a lot of new friends, and I gained a new family. I had so much fun traveling through Costa Rica and getting to explore so many new places!

Academics:
The Spanish Classes were great and the professors were amazing!!
I wish I would have known the time schedule for the electives before I got there so I could have picked a better schedule, but I liked the classes.

Living Situation:
I loved my host family!! They were very welcoming and helpful and I learned a lot from them.

Cultural Immersion:
Sometimes it was hard to make friends with the Ticos, and you definitely had to make the effort to completely immerse yourself and speak Spanish, because if you wanted you could just hang out with American students and always speak English with them.

Health and Safety:
I hated that you can't walk around San Jose at night.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    2

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    2

  • Community

    9

Costa Rica

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica. It was the best experience in my life.

Academics:
Overall, my classes and teachers were great. and I learned a lot. Some days I was overwhelmed with assignments and presentations.

Living Situation:
Unfortunately, I didn't have a good home-stay experience. Although my host family was nice... they didn't make my roommates and I feel apart of the family. Also, my host mom was stingy when it came to giving us food. But I loved my roommates.

Cultural Immersion:
Costa Rica is a beautiful country.

Program Administration:
Lisa was so great!

Health and Safety:
I felt really unsafe in San Jose but I never had a bad experience while I was there but some students did. My advice would just be aware of your surroundings and don't walk around with your phone in your hands or any other expensive items in your bags.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    4

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    4

  • Community

    9

Mi Pura Vida

This experience has been life changing for me in many ways. It felt like God opened my eyes to so many things about the world, and reminded me that He is the one in control of my life and the world in general; so i no longer needed to fear or to worry about tomorrow. It's clear to me that i have grown spiritually, and once that happened, i experience even more freedom in other aspects of my life. I overcame a lot of fears, from normal thing like the fear of heights, to more emotional ones like the fear of rejection. I ultimately gain a lot of confidence. I also tried a lot of new things, such as snorkeling, zip lining, and traveling on my own. I certainly met a lot of great and awesome individuals that left footprints in my life. I will forever cherish the moments i spent with my friends and host family. Other than the beautiful places i got to visit, the people here certainly made the trip even more special. I would do this all over again. Pura Vida.

Academics:
For a communication major on their last semester, the electives were not challenging enough.

Living Situation:
I love my home stay. My parents, especially my Mama Tica really cared for every student's well being and made us all feel at home. By the second month, it really felt like a family. We all cared for each other, and were able to share our struggles with each other and our host family.

Cultural Immersion:
I wish i did more cultural events. But that is on me for not warming up to the environment much quicker. Once I did, i realized how awesome the pura vida life really was. San Jose may not be the best place to experience the culture as a whole, but know that everything always gets better once you leave the city.

Program Administration:
I love my program director. She was always there for us to guide us through this journey. She was more than a program director, She was an advisor, a counselor, a friend, and great person. She made our trip even more special.

Health and Safety:
I never experience the violence, but it was always in the back of my mind. It certainly kept me from exploring San Jose more.

Social Life:
I love my roommates and the friends i made here. I am sure we will be more than study abroad friends. As many of us are already making plans to stay in touch and visit one another.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    3

  • Community

    9

Pura Vida

Such an amazing experience! It really tests you mentally and physically and if willing to put in the effort and take that challenge you will take away more than you could ever imagine! The country is beyond beautiful and has so much to offer!

Living Situation:
My living situation was rather unusual as the host father fell ill with cancer and made the living experience a little uncomfortable. I at times had to help lift him when he fell, watch over him, and was threatened to have the cops called on me due to his unstable mental state. This of course was not his fault nor was it my host mothers as she spent more time caring for him than she did us, understandably. The house keeper basically acted as my mother feeding me, washing my clothes, helping me around town, talking to me, etc... so without her it would have been an awful experience. Veritas though did not act on changing me once I asked so I did independent housing the last month and made my own arrangements.

Cultural Immersion:
I found Veritas students to be rather cold and would not say this is the best institution, but with the traveling and excursions I still felt I got a great cultural immersion.

Program Administration:
My program advisor was the best program advisor I have ever worked with and I applaud her for all her hard work and ability to meet each and every students needs even when the University as a whole could not.

Health and Safety:
The safety in Costa Rica is not the best from what you are told. Although I never felt unsafe personally there were students who were robbed which still gave me a constant fear. Something to be aware of.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Community

    10

More than meets the eye

Don't caught up in the city life here because their is much more outside the walls of downtown San Jose.

Academics:
For the most part, the classes were fun and engaging. All the teachers we responsive to our needs. However, since we were running a tight schedule, things did become a little overwhelming with the work because of poor time management. Nevertheless, very useful if one is willing to participate and learn.

Living Situation:
At first, it was difficult for me because of the unpredictable Internet service and cold showers. However, eventually I was able to overlook those small details. Moreover, my great relationship with the host family kept my mind off of those things. Overall, it takes some getting use to, but then again you are living in a difference, so try not to COMPLAIN.

Cultural Immersion:
If you are truly interested in absorbing a new culture, stay away from other American students. While meeting students from your country can be enriching, it can also ruin the experience. Understand that many students only study abroad to party and hang with other american students. If you do this, don't expect to get much from the experience. If possible, keep it to a minimal and try to things independently.

Program Administration:
This person was awesome. Always assisted when I needed them. Was very flexible and understanding as well.

Health and Safety:
Felt safe most of the time, but many students were robbed in the past. Be careful and exercise common sense daily.

Social Life:
Lots of things to keep you occupied.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

Food

Meal sizes for me were small but that's probably just because I eat large portions at home

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

Once in A Lifetime Experience

Overall I loved my experience in Costa Rica. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience. I met so many amazing people and rarely ever encountered any prejudice. My biggest complaint is there wasn't always hot water to shower in, but depending on the house a change in shower time can resolve this issue. I always had someone to talk to in Spanish from the neighborhood or school and someone to help me out with the cultural differences.
Costa Rica is not the cheapest country and honestly is quite comparable with many bigger cities in the United States, but not NY bad, and there are american fast food restaurants for when you need a taste of home. The people are friendly and great and Costa Rica is a great place to enjoy warm weather, cool attractions, and Spanish.

Academics:
The Spanish courses academically I think are great. They are intensive and I learned more in these classes than any other Spanish course, however the english electives are extremely easy and not academically challenging.

Living Situation:
I am torn about my living situation. Sometimes my personality did not click with my host family and I felt extremely awkward however these were passing moments and my host family was nice. The house was not always very clean which I did not like, but never too terrible. I was fed tuna way too often and the food did not agree with me, but it was expected because it was a big change in my diet.

Cultural Immersion:
I definitely was immersed and no English was spoken by my host family which I liked. I met a lot of amazing people to help me with my Spanish and teach me about the culture of Costa Rica.

Program Administration:
I loved all the people I worked with in the program and Lisa was amazing at organizing program events.

Health and Safety:
There were never any safety threats of any kind.

Social Life:
I occasionally socialized with my host family, mainly at dinner and occasionally if they invited me to go out with them. I made plenty of local friends as well to hang out with.