Chelsey Hausch, Costa Rica
"I volunteered at a soup kitchen for children, I took dancing classes, volunteered at a nursing home…, trained the first roller derby team of Costa Rica, visited and bonded at a Native American reservation (they even asked me to translate for them) and learned to cook the native foods.
"I had the greatest time studying abroad in Costa Rica. I truly did change for the better because of it. I not only got to meet some lovely people-but I became more culturally aware and open. I learned more about myself and became a stronger person spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I feel as though I will always have a part of me there and will have wonderful memories and lessons to take with me on my journey through life."
Kelly Bergstrom, Costa Rica
"The CIME staff was amazing! Jose and Mayra are some of the kindest people I have ever met! They went above and beyond to make my experience incredible! Jose did extra work to help me set up an internship with a local clinic, help me find the way there, showed me around San Jose, and gave me lots of great advice on places in Costa Rica to visit! Mayra gave me a cooking lesson and made a big lunch for myself, the staff, and a couple family members of the staff.Lastly, one thing that I am very excited about is that Jose is looking to promote several programs specifically for science majors. There are programs for students of geology, chemistry, and pre-medicine.
"I would recommend studying abroad because not only is it insanely fun, but experiencing another culture and getting to know people from around the world is so exciting! When I got to Costa Rica, I was definitely nervous, as I traveled alone, didn't know one person there, and was far from proficient in Spanish, but I learned just how exciting it is to go out of my comfort zone. While I was there, I definitely experienced some culture shock and had some problems communicating, but when I left I longed to speak Spanish and was almost a bit bored speaking English because it didn't present a challenge like Spanish did.
"I also made some friendships, both with local people and with U.S. students from other states who were also studying abroad. It was fun to make friends with the locals because they could show me around and answer any questions I had about culture, but it was great having U.S. friends, too, because they experienced just as much culture shock in the country as I did and we could talk and laugh about the ignorant mistakes we made as foreigners."
Samantha Licht, Costa Rica
"Having spent the last two months in Costa Rica, I would thoroughly endorse studying abroad. I think everyone should seriously consider spending a semester or summer abroad and especially embrace the opportunity to study a foreign language. Although it was certainly challenging to live with a family, travel, and volunteer in another language and culture, it was completely worth it and taught me a lot of humility, self-confidence, and courage (not to mention Spanish!).
"CIME's staff did an amazing job supporting me in all aspects of the trip. The Spanish classes, for example, were often catered to my needs and interests. I also loved my host family and the opportunity to volunteer at a children's center where I could utilize the Spanish I was learning. I also enjoyed the cultural activities and eating all the delicious new foods. Finally, the natural beauty of Costa Rica was incredible; volcanoes, cloud forests, and beaches made perfect weekend getaways.It was an awesome experience; I wish I could have stayed longer!"
Amanda Kvam, Costa Rica
"I would highly recommend this program to any student that is interested in it. It's a wonderful place to study, the people are so friendly and kind, and it's a very fun way to learn Spanish! I also did an internship at what would be the equivalent to an after school program here in the states, it was called Casa San Lazaro. There I worked with a local psychologist and held workshops for the children on things like education, violence, self esteem, etc. All of the workshops were built to center on topics that these children will face, or currently do face, in their daily lives. Casa San Lazaro is located in a town where the children don't have many resources to education, food, and even water every day. It was a very eye opening experience for me, and I learned a lot from it. Any major can go there a find an internship or volunteer work they would be interested in and I think that it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that everyone should take advantage of.
"I think my favorite part about my study abroad experience was our weekend trips. My favorite location was Cahuita, which is a small town on the Caribbean. We went there to visit the Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary - because they are my favorite animal. The town was small and cute, the beach was barely two blocks from the hotel, and the people were very friendly down there. The sloth sanctuary was amazing!
"I think what I miss most about Costa Rica is the relaxed atmosphere and running on "Tico Time." There you just arrive when you arrive because people there are much more laid back than they are in the states. Here it is all about being prompt and rushing to everything, there it's not as important just as long as you get where you are going and I really liked that attitude."
Tess Moren,Costa Rica
"Before studying abroad in Costa Rica, I never would have imagined I would travel through the rainforest, watch a volcano erupt, or relax for days on end at beautiful beaches. I never would have thought that I would be able to learn a language with enough proficiency to be able to travel across the country on my own. I never would have expected that I would be brave enough to eat different foods or to learn how to dance. Studying abroad is a life changing experience. It is such a great opportunity-a student can live in different country, be immersed a new culture, and completely change their perspective of life, all while working towards their degree! There are not many chances in life where this would be possible, so I would encourage everyone to take advantage of study abroad."
Tess Moren catches up on her studying during her semester in Costa Rica.