GENERAL SAFETY INFORMATION
- In case of an EMERGENCY call 911.
- Costa Rica and San Jose are generally very safe, but like anywhere in the world you should stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Never leave personal belongings unattended and do not carry items which attract attention to you, such as designer bags or expensive jewelry and sunglasses.
- Remember that you are in a tropical location so there will be pesky bugs flying around, which may carry diseases. Students should use insect repellent with 30%-50% DEET and may want to purchase bug repellent containing even more DEET for deep-woods activities. It may also be a good idea to wear long pants and sleeves during peak biting hours (dusk and dawn).
- Don’t carry more than $ 20.00 in colones currency while you’re downtown.
- Use a secure bag or pocket to place your money and personal belongings.
- Make a copy of your passport and entry stamp for identification and carry them you at all times.
- Always take a taxi when it is too late, too dark, do not know the area where you are at or you are alone.
- Get advice from your university staff, group guides or your host families before going anywhere.
- Generally speaking, the water in Costa Rica is safe to drink, unless you are traveling in a remote area. With this being said, everyone’s body is different, so you may choose to play it safe and drink only bottled water during your stay.
- It is not recommended to eat food purchased at street vendors.
- Memorize your homestay address and telephone number, in Spanish, and carry it written on paper at all times.
- Research all information about your destination before you leave.
- Have a plan of action and always bring copies of reservation numbers and directions to hotels/ hostels at which you are planning to stay.
- The buses are paid in cash at the time of use; the system does not offer monthly tickets or student bus tickets
- Studying abroad is challenging in a very personal way. You will find yourself examining your own assumptions and your own way of life frequently as you immerse yourself in something new and foreign.
- To make the transition easier, remember not to wait for people around you to make the first move, but start reaching out right away: buy a map of the city and become familiar with your own neighborhood; find out where the closest bank, post office, telephone, and grocery store are located. Your next step might be to familiarize yourself with some of the basic names and phrases which appear on signs, menus, etc. Once you become familiar with your surroundings and begin making friends, feelings of culture shock will subside.
- Listen carefully to people and remember that they most likely are not making the same assumptions as you are. If you are not sure of what they mean: ASK.
- Talk to (new) friends or your program directors if you feel that you have problems coping; try to look at your problems one at a time, and set out to solve them, one at a time.