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Semester in Costa Rica
CISabroad participants CISabroad participants

Semester in Costa Rica

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

An experience I will truly never forget

As a very adventurous person, studying abroad was just up my alley. Truly, I was nervous leaving on my own in a new country with another language I was only used to speaking, writing and practicing in school, but I also was the most excited I've ever been to journey a new place. Once I made my travels to CR and arrived at the airport I found my study abroad company waiting outside and a driver drove my new friends and I to our houses and we then settled in. Once walking around your neighborhood and school, you soon learn the routes, shortcuts, and best eating places quickly! Do not be alarmed by the looks or rumors the capital San Jose, Costa Rica is a third world country, but it beautiful and really is a life changing experience. You will embrace diverse foods, new culture, and beautiful views of mountains, Pacific and Caribbean coasts, cloud forests, volcanoes and rain forests. This high level of biodiversity is what attracted me towards this opportunity - and I most definitely was not disappointed. If you are worried that you'll be so far away from home, I would say that your home-stay family truly makes you feel like a part of theirs, schoolmates become very close friends, and your program will include you in weekend trips as well. Costa Rica not only acts as an incredible chance to learn new culture, make new friends and have stories to tell for years to follow, but it also acts as a self confidence booster and makes you more than responsible and independent than ever before. I found honestly found out more myself then I ever knew abroad then I ever discovered at home. I highly recommend traveling and studying abroad it opens your eyes to new levels that are beyond the ordinary.

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 the culture. Our on-site director knew so much 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 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

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

7/ 10

  • Academics

    3

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Loved Costa

I absolutely loved Costa Rica; however, I thought that the Spanish was too advanced for beginners that have never taken any Spanish classes prior. Also, I did not find some of the classes to be very beneficial or organized. I loved the home stay, but I found that some expenses were too high.

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

8/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    10

My Life in Costa Rica

I love my experience in Costa Rica. I meet a lot of great people and had many great adventures. I went to most of the places I could in Costa Rica, all having there own unique and amazing characteristics to describe them. I was disappointed when it came to picking up and dropping me off at the airport.

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 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

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

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    7

Great Time!

I had a great time in Costa Rica. It was amazing to see a different country and try the foods they had to offer. It was also amazing to see the different activities that were available to me. It was a beautiful place especially once you got out of the city. There were amazing mountains and in a sense made me feel at home because I am surrounded by mountains at home. All in all, an amazing place to go and I can't wait to travel back there on my own sometime.

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

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    8

Life with the Ticos in beautiful Costa Rica

A wonderful experience full of friendly, helpful people and breathtaking places to visit! The city life was certainly abrupt and different to anything I had experienced but you get used to it and it truly gives you an appreciation for all you have back at home. The program coordinator down there is an absolute gem and will quiet literally have an answer to any and all questions you have!! Make sure to just go visit every place you can on the weekends!!

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

7/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Community

    7

Could Have Been Better

Though I enjoyed my time in Costa Rica, I felt it could have been executed better. They didn't tell you things like you almost HAD to know Spanish before you went or on the way back home you had to find your own $30 cab ride back to the airport. I was also expecting a lot more socials with in my program and my director was in the US for the last bit of my stay. Other than small things that could have made everything go more smoothly, it was a good experience and a beautiful country to explore for a few months.

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

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 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, the language, the people and 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

7/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    4

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    7

Beautiful country and worthwhile experience!

While there were faults and difficulties getting to connect with the locals (particularly with the local students attending Veritas), this was a worthwhile experience! The intensive Spanish purses are designed for fast learning, and I was able to learn quite a lot during my semester. Weekends and occasional Mondays off allowed for independent travel around the country, in addition to trips led by the CIS On-site Director. Overall worthwhile!

Academics:
Intensive courses are set up fairly effectively , and my electives taught in English had professors who could communicate effectively in English.

Living Situation:
My host family was wonderful and my host mom made me feel very cared for and supported at all times. In my house here was never a problem with food or space.

Cultural Immersion:
Spanish language classrooms at the university are very separated from other classrooms where more locals would be. Other students do not want to interact with international students, even if their Spanish level is adequate. Many locals also only tried to speak English to me while traveling around.

Health and Safety:
I never had problems with safety this semester, thankfully. So be my house was right near the school, I always felt like there was extra security also.

Social Life:
I was able to make some great friends, but never could connect with ANY local students from the school (or in general, aside from my host family).

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Community

    5

Overall good experience

The program was very fun and the school was educational yet entertaining. I had issues with my housing situation but I had an amazing experience overall regardless

Living Situation:
I don't feel that the personalities of the students housed together were taken into account nor the level of Spanish of the students in comparison to the amount of English spoken in the home

Health and Safety:
Although the area is not entirely safe the program did a good job of briefing us on safety concerns

Social Life:
I was placed with two extremely antisocial verging on autistic roommates which made it much harder to be social, especially in the forth month when a majority of the students left

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    7

Spending a semester in Costa Rica through CIS was the best experience of my life thus far!

Going to Costa Rica through CIS for three months was the best choice I could have made for my college education. Not only did I learn a ton the culture and geography of Costa Rica, but I learned so much myself as well. CIS gave me the support I needed during my trip, but also gave me enough freedom so that I could really grow on my own. It appeared that a lot of the programs with students attending the same university abroad were very controlling with the students, i.e. weekly meetings, tons of rules and regulations. CIS most certainly had rules for us, but I didn't feel like I was being babysat. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone interested!

Academics:
The Spanish courses were very good and challenging. As you would expect in a four-week course, there was a lot of information given to you in a short period of time, but the professors and course set up made it a very enjoyable course.

My electives, however, were not as challenging as I had hoped. The professors were awesome and very friendly, and we also had a ton of field trips and even weekend excursions. I just wish the courses had been a little more challenging.

Living Situation:
My host family was so much greater than I could have ever hoped for! Although I had heard horror stories of some not-so-good host families, I was very happy with my family. They included us in all of their family traditions, as well as invited us out with them a good amount of the time. They also spent a lot of time making us feel welcome and getting to know us. I will definitely be keeping in touch with them!

Program Administration:
All of the advisors that helped me through my experience were awesome! They made all of the planning process as easy as possible, and my on-site advisor in Costa Rica was very easy-going and made the transition to a foreign country very comfortable!

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

7/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Community

    7

Home stay

B