Study Abroad Spotlight

San Jose, Costa Rica - Summer 2015

Aaron Schaidle
Junior, Nursing Major

The five short weeks I spent in Costa Rica can’t really be compared to any other previous experience. I chose to study in San Jose because it offered a variety of courses related to medicine, specifically a class on caring for Spanish-speaking patients and a class on the Costa Rican healthcare system and tropical medicine. While my Spanish skills improved tremendously simply by being immersed in “Tico” culture, I also learned invaluable lessons by living with a host family and traveling around the country.

My classes allowed me to travel everywhere from a market that sold medical herbs and traditional remedies to the most famous private hospital in Costa Rica. I learned essential medical vocabulary and was taught about cultural beliefs and behaviors that affect how “Ticos” interact with their healthcare providers. During the time in between class and excursions, our host mother fed us with home-made Costa Rican food and fresh fruit while we talked to her son about his experiences in a San Jose high school.

On the weekends, our group of international students was taken on short trips across the country. One week we visited the Arenal hot springs and swam in water heated by volcanic vents, while another week we snorkeled off the Caribbean coast. My favorite adventure was zip lining some two hundred feet above the rainforest, simultaneously taking in the sights and screaming my head off.

Costa Rica is a perfect destination for students who want to have a summer Study Abroad experience while still learning just as much as a traditional Spanish course. I can’t recommend the trip enough to any student wanting to learn Spanish, or honestly any person who wants to spend some time in a gorgeous country. 

View of the jungle from one of our hikes

Leafcutter ants in San Jose

The city of San Jose as seen from the helipad of La Clinica Biblica 

Pit viper sleeping near the beach in Manuel Antonio

A local sloth waves to our group!

The blue waters of Rio Celeste

La Fortuna Waterfall

View of the mountains from our host family’s street