Don’t be. The best advice I can give you is to be confident in your abilities. Take the advanced class, or the class with Ticos. Take that extra hour and turn in work that you are proud of. This applies to all schoolwork really, whether abroad or in the States, but here are 6 things you should know about the schools in Costa Rica in particular:
- Pura Vida. The tranquil ambiance of the country translates into “If you’re doing everything you can, the best that you can, why worry about it?” in classes here. You are expected to do your homework on time, of course, but don’t stress about it.
- Classes are smaller with approximately 10 students per class (Tico classes can be the exception to this, but I do not know of any students in my program that have encountered this).
- Participation is key. Circular discussions are an often used classroom tactic.
- Teachers often have more than two majors. In the 1940’s, President Jose Fueres created a contract with the United States for protection and directed all of that money to the education system. Now, the average cost for a semester in a public university is $400. Which is why my history professor has five majors.
- In order to increase the accessibility of education, an international law was passed in 1986 that allows students in Costa Rica to buy photocopies of books (for substantially less) than the actual book.
- The classes at my university are quite technologically advanced. All classrooms have a projector, many use phone apps for student interaction, and many classes require students to make videos or presentations.
Oh also, use the study part to your advantage to make some Tico friends!
The world awaits…discover it.