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Sol Education Abroad: Study Abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica
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Sol Education Abroad: Study Abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Summer in Heredia

My time with Sol in Costa Rica was one of the most transformative (and fun) experiences of my life! I had never been out of the country before, but I am so glad I left my comfort zone and came to Costa Rica. The directors at Sol -- Janiva, Jessenia, Angie, and the others -- are all amazing at what they do and really care about you as a person. There is such a tight-knit community within Sol, and I left having made amazing friends. My mama tica and the rest of my host family were also incredible. They really helped me feel loved and at home and were so helpful to me both in navigating the country and in practicing my Spanish. I had taken years of Spanish -- including AP in high school and multiple college classes -- but never felt confident speaking the language until now.

The planned excursions and cultural activities for the first three weeks are amazing. My personal favorite was the Manuel Antonio beach trip, where you get to go to a private beach inside a national park and see sloths in the jungle. The set-up of the planned excursions is great, because we were able to familiarize ourselves with the country as we traveled in a big group. Then when it was time to plan weekend trips and travel independently from Sol, we were ready and had gained confidence.

My advice would be don't be afraid to venture off with friends to new places, go to intercambios and make friends with local students, and try to take advantage of unique opportunities you hear about. A bunch of us found out Ed Sheeran was coming to Costa Rica, so we all bought tickets to see him with the Ticos. We also went to one of the national team soccer games! So much fun.

Sol and Costa Rica are both absolutely amazing, and I would recommend them to anyone in a heartbeat. I cried as my flight home from San Jose was taking off because I didn't want to leave. To put it simply, this has been the best summer of my life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

My summer experience in Costa Rica

I really enjoyed my time with SOL in Costa Rica. During your first summer session, they arrange a lot of activities for you and there are excursions every weekend. After that, you are more free to plan your own trips and go wherever you want. This set-up was very good because it allowed us to gain confidence while we traveled as a larger group and then we were more prepared to travel on our own in the following weeks. I really enjoyed my host mom, and I loved the neighborhood I lived in because I always felt safe. My only difficulty in the program was that it was really hard to just speak Spanish because I was with so many American students that were at totally different levels of Spanish. That being said, it's totally possible to speak only Spanish, you just have to commit to doing so. I felt that my experience with SOL helped me to grow in my independence. I saw a lot of beautiful places, met a lot of cool people, and tried lots of new things. What more can you ask from a study abroad program?

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

Heredia, Costa Rica, summer 2017

I have enjoyed my time with SOL immensely, from the immersive Spanish experience I got during class and with my homestay to the adventures around Costa Rica in which I have been able to partake. I really appreciated how intensive the academic side of the program was because it pushed me to really focus on improving my communication in Spanish. I also really liked the Conversation Club because it was fun to have opportunities to practice Spanish with people other than the professors or other Solmates.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

New life

Everything that has happened to me in the month of June is completely indescribable. Starting from flying to Costa Rica to meeting my host family to cultivating myself in the everyday life of Ticos. I relive the moments of my time in Costa Rica almost everyday. The taste of the other life was definitely alot sweeter than the life I've lived. The family I was paired with was so loving and funny. I couldn't wait to get home each day just to be around them. My Mama Tica is a godsend, she is such a sweet person. The language barrier between her and I was trivial and non existant after a while. I miss talking to her after school. Being engulfed in forgein culture where I'm the foreigner was the best thing I could have ever done. Meeting new friends( Ticos and Americans), learning new things about Costa Rican history along with the excursions... I died and went to heaven. I can not describe my whole experience into just one word, it would be insulting.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Disfrutando de la Pura Vida

I had some of the best experiences of my life here. I had a wonderful Mama Tica, met some great people both through the program and Ticos, and the directors were amazing. Yessenia and Angie were always so enthusiastic and you can tell they enjoy showing us their beautiful country. The excursions and cultural activities are a ton of fun (except the dance class because I have 0 coordination LOL). Costa Rica is a gorgeous place with so many fun things to do, and the Ticos are super friendly. 25/10 would recommend to anyone and everyone!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Costa Rica

Loved Costa Rica, but I wish the excursions would have been longer. Leaving Friday would have been better, especially when dealing with traffic in the mountains. And I wish there would have been a bit more Spanish immersion.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

A transformative experience

What stands out about SOL looking back is the sense of community and growth that the program and directors fostered. Our personal SOLmate unit was extremely close-knit throughout it all, and our directors made sure to engender that through activities and excursions that focused on more than just our enjoyment - they focused on broadening our horizons. One of my more eye-opening experiences was visiting a cafe in Nicaragua staffed entirely by deaf Nicaraguans, where we learned about the treatment of deaf and similarly handicapped latinos in country. Too often are the deaf and handicapped forgotten in public opinion, but this program did a fantastic job of showing us more than just the pretty beaches and scenic views throughout the country (of which there are plenty). I wholeheartedly endorse SOL education abroad.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

A breath of fresh air

I had an amazing time with Sol Education Abroad. If you are looking for a Spanish Immersion I would consider looking into Sol Education Abroad, you will need to apply yourself and devote yourself to Spanish but it is a great opportunity to learn another language. I have met the most genuine amazing people who always were seeking the next adventure whether it be my fellow "Solmates" or the locals as well. I have completely fell in love with Costa Rica! Sol Education Abroad provided me the chance to see all different aspects and places of Costa Rica as well which in turn, allowed me to learn more than I ever thought I could imagine. I can not put into words this amazing experience and all the global knowledge I have gained.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

SOL Education Abroad - Costa Rica winter break program

This trip was one of the best experiences I've had in my life. I spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica but I wish I could've stayed a full semester. It's one of the most beautiful places in the world, and the people were some of the friendliest I've ever met. SOL did a great job with our program, we had a very detailed schedule and a dedicated director to give us advice along the way. I never felt lost in the program, and the locals (Ticos) were always very willing to help us when we weren't sure where to go.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Great experience!

It was an amazing trip! I recommend it for everyone! Such a great experience and fun time. I learned a lot while studying abroad and being emerged in the culture really helped learn the language better.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Would recommend to any Spanish student

My host family was undoubtedly the best part of my experience. They made me feel welcome and like a part of their family. Most of the students in the program boasted about have the "best family". It speaks to the quality of the host families that there are so many bests. My Spanish improved greatly for the 6 weeks I was here. I am no longer a college student but there was no issue with being a "non traditional" study abroad student. I would recommend SOL (and Costa Rica) to anyone interested in learning Spanish. In fact I was pleased enough with the services (and cost) of SOL to apply for another program with them this upcoming summer.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Fantastic experience - gap year is a great time

My daughter went as a senior in high school. I was very apprehensive as she was, by far, the youngest person in her program. Not to worry, Janiva found exactly the right host mother and roommate for her. And Janiva made sure she was safe at all times. The structure of the program, with its emphasis on cultural experiences and travel within the country, was perfect! My daughter learned so much about other cultures and peoples that she could never have learned in a classroom. I would recommend this experience to any college student as well as mature high school students who are ready to see more of the world.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Salem State University summer Spanish immersion in Heredia, Costa Rica

SOL EDUCATION did a fantastic job helping us develop a four-week immersion program for our students. The needs were very specific: four weeks, 80 contact hours of instruction and the possibility of student placement at different levels; reliable Host family stays and enough activities, excursions and, community service to have the most enriching cultural experience. SOL EDUCATION delivered every single one of our requests and, their leaders were a very effective support team that guided students and solved all eventualities that we encountered. The process from the first talks to final registration and grade transfer was easy and expedient. This is the third year that we had the program in Heredia, and whatever adjustment we requested along the years, SOL EDUCATION team did it for us at an affordable rate. Students were very happy, their fluency improved significantly and they loved the attention and care from the host families and SOL directors. As a Professor and co-organizer of the program, I can’t be more satisfied and confident with the program and the process that SOL facilitated for us. I also appreciate the personal care and flexibility of the whole SOL team. Looking forward to working with them for many years.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    9

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    8

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    7

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    6

  • Community

    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

  • Community

    10

  • Health & 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!