Wherever you decide to study abroad, there will be a few components to each city and program that will be special and unique, that no other location will have. And although I would recommend going to Costa Rica through AIFS as a study abroad destination to everyone, it would be particularly intriguing to a few kinds of people.
1. People Majoring in Environmental Science and/or Spanish
Of course, if you are majoring in any language it is best to go a country that has that uses that as their native language, but I would especially recommend San José to all those Spanish majors out there. Their accent is fairly easy to pick up and understand if English is your first language. Also, many people are not completely fluent in English — especially the older generations — so it is a great opportunity to focus on language learning.
It is perfect for Environmental Science majors because Costa Rica has incredible biodiversity. Costa Rica is a great place to learn in a hands on way (with so many field trips in many of the classes) about the many species and biodiversity that the country has to offer.
2. People on a Budget
Compared to the price of college in the US, this program is so affordable! I am an out-of-state student at my school and it is costing me much less to study in San José with tuition, housing, meals and airfare than it does at my home university. Not to mention, I am able to take 22 credits, as compared to the usual 15 back in the US.
Also, there’s traveling! I know for me, it is completely out of the budget to have a weekend away while I am in school in the States. Hotel rooms cost over $100, plus eating out is expensive on its own. Further, the US isn’t exactly known for having the best public transportation. It is a completely different story in Costa Rica! Bus tickets are about $10, many hostels are around $10, and it’s easy enough to find a restaurant for around $6 for a meal. This makes it so easy to get away almost every weekend!
3. People Looking for a More Relaxed Lifestyle
“¡Tranquilo!” is what the locals always say, which means something like “don’t worry,” “relax,” or “everything is alright” — and that is the way life here is! It is so go-with-the-flow, which is completely different than life in the States. The US is so punctual and it has the “go, go, go!” mentality. Here, everything is so much more slow-paced, so you learn to be more patient and to stress less.
4. Beach Lovers
If you translate “Costa Rica” into English, it means “rich coasts.” If you love the beach, going to a country whose name is almost “beautiful beaches” is probably your best bet — and you can go almost year round! AIFS actually includes some beach trips in the program cost.
5. Fruit, Coffee and Carb Lovers
What would life be without any of those things? Believe it or not, Costa Ricans live each day with all three of them.
I have a bowl of fruit everyday for breakfast and sometimes a smoothie for a snack too. It’s amazing having such fresh fruit every single day, and trying all of the many exotic fruits that I had never heard of are great fun.
Did you know that world renowned coffee is grown in Costa Rica? That’s all that needs to be said.
As far as carbs go, there is rice and bread everywhere you turn in all parts of the country. And it is with every “typical plate.” Yum!
This post was contributed by Lyndsey Bradley, who is studying abroad with AIFS in San José, Costa Rica.