Participating in a study abroad program can offer you the experience of a lifetime. You’ll learn a new language while you immerse yourself in an exciting new culture — and you’ll have countless opportunities to make new friends inside and outside the classroom. However, there are always risks involved whenever you spend time in another country. To help you prepare for your total immersion Spanish language experience, we’ve compiled a list that will help you know the risks of studying abroad — and how to deal with them.
Get travel insurance.
Accidents, illness, theft or loss of property — these are just a few of the mishaps that can occur when even the most savvy of travelers ventures abroad. The key is to be prepared: If you’re enrolling in a Spanish study abroad program through your university, ask them if their program includes an option to purchase travel insurance. In addition, check to see if your own private insurance (or the insurance of your parents if you’re covered under them) offers coverage while you’re abroad. Finally, you can purchase insurance through companies which have policies specifically designed for travelers. Be sure to look for insurance that covers catastrophic accidents and sudden illnesses. Also, make sure you have insurance that covers your valuables in case they’re lost or stolen (like your laptop or phone).
Adapt appropriately to social situations.
Everywhere you go, there will be a local culture to which you need to adapt. In Costa Rica for instance, you’ll find numerous subcultures with their own customs and social norms. So while you have fun practicing your new language, stay alert to each new social situation. This includes using the right tone of voice and pitch, dressing appropriately for the circumstances, and demonstrating patience and graciousness when trying out your Spanish. You’ll want to learn what behavior’s acceptable and what’s not — from the beach to the local gym, and from formal restaurants to cafes and bars.
Learn the laws.
Lastly, always keep yourself informed about what is legal and what’s not. Top Spanish immersion schools like CRLA in Costa Rica, for instance, will be able to advise you on the local laws. Also, always be open to suggestions and advice from members of your host family so that you can have a safe time meeting people, attending events, and having the time of your life.
CRLA is the lead Spanish immersion school in Costa Rica, serving students all over the globe for the past 30 years. With CRLA, you’ll find:
- Customized classes
- A rich international student population
- A homestay program with thoroughly vetted and experienced host families
- Expert instructors with degrees from the best universities in the country
- CRLA’s own unique teaching methodology
- Cultural courses in cooking and dance
- Opportunities for volunteerism and service learning
- Assistance with travel arrangements
For more information on how you can have participate in your own customized Spanish immersion program, please contact us.