11 Ways Studying in Costa Rica Makes You Healthier

Melissa King is a student at Arizona State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in San José, Costa Rica.

  1. Early to Rise, Early to Bed

I never thought I would say this, but waking up before 7am everyday is actually a great way to start off my day, as long as I get to bed before 11pm. Class is at 8am everyday, so I wake up around 6:45 or 7am to get ready for school. I can actually enjoy my breakfast without having to scarf down my food in a rush. I even have time to read some of my book, play a phone game, or finish my homework.

  1. Portion Control

I never realized what a perfect portion size was until coming to Costa Rica. Breakfast and dinner is cooked and provided by the host family and is enough to fill me up but not stuff me, usually. I typically only get one serving.

  1. Money Management

Since lunch is not included or provided by the host families, students will have to pay for their lunch themselves. Saving money is important to me because I am not working while I am here.  I usually eat what’s convenient and cheap. I have less money to spend and therefore little to waste on snacking.

  1. Eating fresh foods

The meals my host family cooks are homemade, fresh, and minimally processed. In general, Costa Rica has many options for fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood.

  1. Water water water

Contrary to what many believe, water in San Jose is typically okay to drink. At the university and the ISA office, water jugs are there for students to use to fill up their water bottles.


  1. Walk to class every day

Campus is only about a 10-15 minute walk and the shuttle often is not consistent at actually showing up, so many students walk to campus every day and back. That’s an extra 30 minutes of exercise a day just for going to class.

  1. Fun Exercise

The university holds yoga classes twice a week and free Latin American dance class twice a week, and there is a gym nearby where memberships cost only $40 a month and includes yoga, spin classes, and other fitness programs. I have been able to fit a quick workout in almost everyday because I have time to do so.

  1. Natural you

I have not worn a bit of makeup since coming to Costa Rica. I also did not bring a blow dryer or any tools to style my hair. I just let my hair air dry.

  1. It means no worries

While studying abroad in Costa Rica, I have experienced very little stress. My most stressful situations include having to study for tests, decide what to eat for lunch, or choose where to go for the weekend.

    10. Friends

I am in Costa Rica studying abroad with people from all over the world and creating memories with people I may never see again. I get to share these little journeys and experiences with many other students my age.

     11. Personal Growth and Discovery

I have had a lot of free time to think and be alone without the distractions I would have in America. I have been able to fine tune in on my personal self, hopes, goals, struggles, and desires. I have the free time to work on projects such as drawing, photography and writing.

The world awaits…discover it.

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