Study Abroad

About Study Abroad and Study Away Programs in CHSS 

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers faculty-led or independent summer study abroad and study away programs. These programs offer students the opportunity to engage in an educational and cultural learning experience.

Canada, Costa Rica, and Germany study abroad are intensive courses designed to improve students' linguistic and cultural competence and offer a fantastic chance to experience the cultures of the world in conjunction with courses of study at SHSU. Students can complete one or more of the courses in the basic and intermediate sequence, complete courses that count toward a minor or major housed in the department, or simply go to improve language skills and cultural competency.

While study abroad opportunities vary, below are a few common summer offerings:

  • Slovenia, Austria & Italy
  • Canada (French)
  • Costa Rica (Spanish)
  • Germany (German)
  • Taiwan
  • Ireland
  • Mexico
  • Canada

For more information on the Study Abroad and Study Away programs please visit the SHSU Study Abroad website. 

Mexico Study Abroad   Costa Rica Study Abroad   

Anthony Amaya

Anthony Amaya is a double major in Criminal Justice and Finance at SHSU and participated in the Study Abroad Program hosted by the Department of World Languages and Cultures. During his four weeks in Costa Rica he earned six hours of Spanish language credit and learned about different cultures, made new connections and got to see a part of the world in a whole new point of view.The culture, food, and scenery are all beyond beautiful.

Where did you study abroad and why? I studied in Costa Rica. I know I wanted to advance my learning in Spanish, and in speaking, writing, and understanding the culture. So, I just thought, a classroom is one thing but to be fully immersed into a Spanish speaking country and in the culture would be different and unique. I also thought the timing was pretty convenient because it was only one month during June, versus a whole semester so I knew I wouldn’t get homesick. I got to study intermediate Spanish I and II while I was there.

Did you have fun? I had so much fun! With my classmates and my professor and with the locals as well. We got to spend a lot of time with our host families, and they were super sweet and super comforting. They were always there if we needed anything and even then, we would help them around. We got to go on excursions to other parts of the country, like the beaches or the mountains or plantations. You know, all the people were super welcoming. We made memories everywhere we went!

Would you say it was a mix of getting to explore on your own/with friends versus getting an educational experience with the class? I would say it was a healthy mix of both. For me it was more of a concentration of mindset. In the week itself, we did more classroom type things but, on the weekends, we got to have more fun on our own and try new things. Of course, as I progressed throughout the weeks, I used what I learned in the classroom and applied it to actual real life when we were out and exploring. It was pretty obvious I wasn’t from Costa Rica, so I’d be talking to locals about the study abroad trip but as time went on, they’d praise me on my language skills and tell me that my spanish is really good and confident. Everyone was really welcoming, and it really just comes down to your demeanor and attitude, as long as you’re nice and have some humility they’re very welcoming. You know what they say, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do!” But they are just genuinely nice people, and they don’t really look for anything superficial, it's all really community based.

Was this your first time out of the country? If yes, how did study abroad shape your experience? If not, how was going with a university different from going with family/friends? This was my first time out of the country without my family. I was definitely a little more hesitant at first because you don’t have that safety net of being with your family but at the same time, I do think experience was necessary. Especially for growing as an adult and learning how to do things on your own. At times it was kinda shaky because I wasn't sure I was ready, but I would say as long as you go in and are willing to adapt, and you stay steady on course you’ll do well for yourself.

What is your favorite memory? The beach! I am a beach person at heart. I love the sun and I love being active! What was unique about our situation was that we went on the west side and typically on the Caribbean side (the east side) it’s more popular. It’s much more developed and there’s more port traffic. But the beach was so gorgeous and of course it’s different from American beaches. It was beautiful getting to see the sunrises and sunsets. But it was interesting because it was on the east side so like you look into the ocean and your like “wait there’s no sun!” but on the other side it’ll be there. When you look into the ocean it's one thing and having the waves crash against your feet but when you look back it's almost like a whole different point of view.

Would you do it again? Where would you go? 100%! Two places I had in mind were Japan for the business courses because I am also a finance major as well as Criminal Justice so I think that would be cool and I could see some overlap. I would also consider somewhere European like Sweden. I have heard it’s beautiful there! Really just anywhere if we’re being honest!

How was your experience with the culture? It was definitely a bit different considering I come from a Mexican household so there’s some similarities and some differences between the Mexican and Costa Rican culture. There’s like different food styles and how they cook things but luckily our host was a bit of an older woman but also very sweet and reminded me a lot of my grandma. Me and her kinda grew close and I communicated as best I could with her, and she was always so sweet and nice about it. With that it made everything a lot more comfortable. We talked about differences in languages, food and phrases. One of the more popular dishes in Costa Rica is gallo pinto which is a dish of rice and beans with diced tomatoes and onion and some kind of sauce. It’s just beautiful. They take in a lot of American things as well. There were a lot of familiar brands like KFC and Domino’s. But they kind of alter it themselves. It was kind of funny when we went to a McDonald’s there just to see what they had and when we got there, we ate a bit and the food they had was so different. They had different shakes for every week. They even sell chicken wings there! It was a great experience.

Elevator pitch! If you had to convince someone in three sentences or less and you only had the length of an elevator ride, what would you say? If you are looking for an honest and genuine experience, one that is immersive and requires a lot of investment but nonetheless one that will double the amount of what you are expecting in return then go study abroad. If you are hesitant and holding back because you’re scared or intimidated by the challenges of it, don’t be because I don’t want you looking back and wondering what if. If you want to have fun and learn then study abroad where you can do both.

Do you have any tips to prepare for studying abroad? Invest! And bring a piece of home with you! Make sure you always find something to enjoy about where you are at. I said this to my class, “Una mente negativa nunca crea una vida positiva.” It means, a negative mind ever created a positive life. So, in that, I would say just take a step back when you get overwhelmed but as long as you can keep a level head and find a good support system and just believe in yourself, you’ll do great! If you never push your boundaries, then you’ll never be more than what you are now.

Anthony Amaya
Costa Rica 2023