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Office of International Programs

Jacob, San Josť, Costa Rica
International Studies Abroadphoto
Spring 2013

“Being a Spanish major I knew that the best way to acquire the language would to be to immerse myself into it completely. In one semester I learned ten times more Spanish than I ever could have by just studying in the classroom.”

Jacob completed a semester abroad at the Universidad Latina in San José, Costa Rica through International Studies Abroad (ISA). Reflecting upon his program, Jacob stated “I can’t rave enough about it! The teachers were fantastic, and they were teachers both inside and out of the classroom. They showed us Costa Rica from a local’s perspective. We really got a non-touristic view of the country and its people. The classes were small and very interactive which made going to class a lot of fun”.

The allure of Costa Rica for American students studying abroad can be attributed to numerous factors, including its impressive biodiversity, stunning natural beauty, environmental awareness, top-notch universities offering diverse academic courses, and great opportunities for adventure and ecotourism. While Jacob loved his classes and being surrounded by the beauty of Costa Rica, the most rewarding part of the experience goes much deeper for him. He explained, “the most challenging part of being there was just accepting that you are no longer in your comfort zone. Accept the change and put yourself out there.” And that is exactly what he did. “I got a real sense of the Latin American culture because I tried not to be a tourist but rather to meet as many locals as possible. I spent my free time in town with the locals living like a Costa Rican rather than traveling to tourist attractions. You can see all of the beaches, churches, and monuments that a place has to offer but it won’t be nearly as rewarding as getting a true sense of the culture. You have to get to know the people.”

After this amazing experience of inserting himself into another culture and another way of life, Jacob came to fully understand the importance of study abroad. ”I believe that every student should study abroad. Here in the USA, we have a tendency to bottle ourselves in; we miss out a lot on other cultures. It is an experience that changes your perspective, and an experience you can’t get without living it.”

Learn more about ISA's program in San José, Costa Rica!