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Alumni Stories

My Time on the KIIS Costa Rica Program

by Paige Anderson

Favorite Part about Costa Rica

I think the personal connections that I made in Costa Rica would definitely be my favorite part of the program, both within my program and in Costa Rica. The KIIS program is very different from my previous study abroad programs through my university because KIIS works with students across the state. I think this provides a unique opportunity because each student is able to break the “bubble” of the group and make connections within the community. In my previous experience, it was much more difficult to interact with locals when I already knew those in the group. Additionally, I was able to become better friends with those from not only my university but across the state of Kentucky. I loved making these new friendships, as well as those in the community that I mentioned earlier. I still speak to those from my group, my students from the EDU 300 class, as well as my homestay families in Costa Rica. I never expected to come away with so many friends after only spending one month in Costa Rica, but I am so unbelievably happy that I did.


I am a huge HUGE fan of homestays as a means of going abroad. Homestays offer such a personal note to the experience that cannot be matched. My homestay families in Costa Rica were absolutely exceptional. I had two amazing homestay moms who I still talk to on a regular basis. I was able to learn so much more about the community, the country, and how local people truly feel about politics, religion, etc. I saw that even though we were from different countries thousands of miles apart, my family and I still shared similar values of respect, education, and overall care for the human race. It is almost impossible to have both these kinds of conversations and relationships without living in close proximity and establishing a true friendship. I have so SO many amazing memories from my homestays.

My Costa Rica Experience

My experience in Costa Rica affected me in so many ways. Through my EDU 300 class, I helped to teach English at local schools throughout Costa Rica. I really enjoyed this experience because I was able to make connections in the community outside my homestay with people my own age. Now, almost a month after leaving, I still keep in contact with my student groups and other students that I met through these classes. It was through these personal connections that I was invited to hike Cerro de la Cruz and participate in a reforestation project (pictured in this photo), to go dancing with some of the students from the classes that we worked with, and to learn and compare the education system in Costa Rica with that of the United States. EDU 300 was a totally new type of class for me, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed it so much because it was so hands-on. My Spanish 376 class also encouraged these types of personal conversations and connections because a huge component of the class was to complete interviews over certain topics (politics, the environment, religion, soccer, etc) with our homestay families and with members of the community. This class led to some honest and somewhat surprising conversations with people I met. It also helped me largely to practice my Spanish speaking and comprehension, both of which improved drastically during my time in Costa Rica.

Cerro de la Cruz mountain in San Marcos de Tarrazu, Costa Rica

Paige Anderson

KIIS Costa Rica 2016
Art History and Spanish
Centre College

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