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USAC COSTA RICA: Heredia - Latin American Studies & Ecology
University Studies Abroad Consortium participants University Studies Abroad Consortium participants

USAC COSTA RICA: Heredia - Latin American Studies & Ecology

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Best Experience of My Life

My time in Heredia truly changed my life. The program staff were extremely supportive in all situations, and the program took care of all the logistics and complicated details. Wonderful host families, excellent professors and classes, wonderful excursions, and great price. USAC was perfect for my first international experience and gave me the confidence to pursue more in the future, plus friends and memories that will last a lifetime.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Discovering the true meaning of "Pura Vida"

My program in Heredia, Costa Rica has opened me up to a world of possibilities-literally. Before studying abroad, I had barely left the United States and although culture shock was inevitable, I find many elements of tico culture to be favorable. The people here are welcoming, friendly, most know multiple languages and are always ready to help out. The lifestyle is more relaxed and my time here has been, for the most part, stress-free. As far as USAC goes, the staff is phenomenal. We always have cultural and social activities that have helped us bond as a group, and we have a program where we are set up with tico friends, so I have been able to make many friends and exchange culture. It is very easy and cheap to travel within the country, and the USAC staff is very helpful in figuring out how to do it. The most beautiful place I have ever been was definitely Bocas del Toro, Panama which I visited through an optional tour with USAC. In this program, I feel valued and truly cared for in any way I need. My classes challenge me enough, and my fluency in Spanish has already increased tenfold. I can feel the pura vida lifestyle seeping into my own lifestyle, and know this program is opening me up to a world of possibilities for work, travel, and cultural connections, as well as teaching me to push myself and stay fearless. I could not be more thankful for the opportunity to study in "La Ciudad de Flores," Heredia, Costa Rica and even if just for a short time, share in the natural beauty of a country with a culture as rich as its landscape.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

New beginnings!

I loved my experience here. It was so rewarding going outside my comfort zone and trusting that I am on the path I should be on with the people I need. It was a magical experience and I met incredible people (locals) who I still remain in contact with to help me with my Spanish and update each other in life. I made a real family out there with the Ticos. The USAC staff and faculty were always so helpful with getting us what we needed and getting us involved with our passions. I extended my time with USAC in Costa Rica because I enjoyed it so much. It was the best time ever and I am using what I learned there in life here and I am a much more well-rounded, confident, balanced person. I learned so much it is one of those things you have to experience for yourself to truly know the impact it can have on you.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Cultural immersion

I wanted to choose a study abroad program in Latin American where I could really immerse myself in the culture. I wanted to improve my Spanish and this program has given me everything I could ever ask for. Great people, a good education system, and an amazing cultural experience. Costa Rica is full of beautiful places and a rich culture. USAC has made my time here extraordinary. It is everything I could hope for in an education abroad program. Pura Vida!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Pura Vida

This has been the most amazing experience of my life. Costa Rica is known for the saying "pure vida", which basically means enjoy this simple, pure, amazing life. Heredia is in a great location to take a bus ride to San Jose and travel to all of the other beautiful places in the country. It is also great to go to classes at a university (UNA). I've gotten to meet many locals and participate in campus events. My host family is so kind and makes sure I have all I need and am safe. The USAC staff here is awesome and plans fun events almost every week, including soccer games and roller skating. All of the students in the program are nice. Overall, this is an amazing program.

  • University Studies Abroad Consortium responded to this review October 19, 2016 at 4:03 PM

    We're so glad you're enjoying your time in Heredia. Pura Vida!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    9

Best Days of My Life- So Far

Having to leave Heredia, Costa Rica after a semester was incredibly difficult. This "city of flowers" became like a second home to me in ways I could have never imagined. I was fortunate to study through USAC, who was helpful in arranging everything from housing to classes to extracurricular activities and providing support throughout the duration of the program.
A typical day included eating breakfast with my host parents and siblings and then heading to the National University where I took classes in grammar, literature, culture and even Latin American dance. After that, I volunteered in tutoring a blind student in English, which was an incredible opportunity also given to me by the USAC program assistants. I was able to get some studying in at a local cafe and had the evenings free to play soccer, go to concerts, watch movies or just hang out with the family.
Living with a host family was the best way to practice my Spanish as they invited me to family functions, and I was constantly forced to converse in the language. They took such good care of me, and again it was difficult to say goodbye. They have plans though to come visit me next summer, which I would absolutely love.
Studying abroad through USAC is something I would highly recommend. It was one of the more affordable options and the staff is extremely supportive. They were available by phone any time of the day and the office was conveniently located a quick walk away. The central office staff in Reno was quick and happy to answer my questions ranging from financial aid to course selection. I never felt like a bother with my many emails and confusions.
I would highly recommend studying abroad through USAC and encourage anyone considering Costa Rica to go.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

AMAZING

Studying abroad with USAC was the best experience of my life. This is an affordable program that offers students so many different options around the world without breaking the bank. The staff and all those involved with USAC make it the best study abroad option out there.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

Tuanis!

I got to spend 4 months in Heredia, Costa Rica with USAC. It was such a fun and great experience. The staff was very supportive, helpful and friendly making sure we knew how to travel throughout the country and be safe as well. The people in the program were very welcoming and the host family was great. If there are any troubles with the host family then USAC staff is available to support the students. Great program would recommend!

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    7

Older Student Seeks Independence

As an older USAC exchange student, I lived in my own, off-program accommodations with much less English-to-English interactions than my fellow program classmates. This helped my speaking skills skyrocket tremendously and gave me much more freedom to travel without supervision (or an overprotective host mom). However, it also isolated me, as I was 1) further from the campus than other students and 2) not invited to as many outings. I also had outgrown that whole "You can drink at 18 here!" craze and learned to avoid hanging with the younger students on weekends to avoid taking a mom role.

That said, the freedom was great: I ran for an hour every morning, practicing my Spanish translating street signs and learning Heredia's geography. I also traveled the country alone during Semana Santa, visiting the Osa Peninsula and Puerto Viejo in one week, free to plan whatever excursion I please without waiting on anyone. Though the cultural catcalling sucked as lone woman in a Latin American country, I rarely felt unsafe, and strangers were helpful and looked out for me (especially other women I sat next to on public buses or stood beside in ticket lines).

I would definitely go again, and for a younger study, this program is a great, safe place to start their traveling lives.