What to Expect

Studying Abroad

Study abroad programs provide university students with life-changing experiences, immersion into different cultures and languages, and the opportunity to move beyond your comfort zone and expand your world view.

Choosing to study abroad is a big decision that requires both foresight and planning. Moving abroad can be nerve-wracking to say the least and many people are anxious about the unknown. But that’s our job at Maximo Nivel… to help you embrace the experience! We take you out of your comfort zone, while keeping you comfortable.

Talk to your advisor — Check with your academic advisor to make sure attending a study abroad program makes sense for your academic career. Get the program pre-approved before going overseas and make sure the classes count toward your graduation.

Do your research — Background research is important. Read up on the history, culture, and societal norms of your destination country. Be sure you understand current events, exchange rates, and safety issues before you leave. Remember, you are a guest in another country, so honor their way of life. You should represent yourself and your university in a respectable manner. The more you know about where you’re going, the easier it is to be there!

Get your paperwork in order — Get your passport and be sure it has at least 6 months before it expires. Be sure to get medical insurance that covers you while you’re traveling abroad. The great news is that you don’t need any special visas to attend Maximo’s programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru.

Language of Instruction

Depending on your program, your studies will be led in either Spanish or English. Programs are available for students who have zero or only basic Spanish language skills, where all course material is taught in English. However, we strongly recommend incorporating classes from our Native Spanish Program and to take part in our free Tandem Conversation Program.

The above said, most university students come to Maximo Nivel’s programs looking to improve their Spanish language skills, in which case you will not be disappointed! For students focused on building their Spanish speaking abilities—you will definitely speak a lot of Spanish both inside and outside the classroom.

What to expect from our Study Abroad programs

Sample Study Abroad Program Itinerary

Airport pick-up is included in all of our programs. Maximo Nivel’s professional drivers will meet you outside of baggage claim as you exit the airport—just look for the yellow smiley face flag. You will receive a Welcome Folder detailing your accommodations, orientation time, and our Emergency contact numbers. Depending on your time of arrival, you come to the Maximo institute or go directly to your accommodations.
Your orientation includes specific details about your program, a health and safety review, and a short walking tour to be sure you’re familiar with the area around the Maximo institute. During your orientation, you also take a Spanish placement exam.
During the week, you start the day with breakfast at your accommodations, generally around 7:00AM to 8:00AM. Then you head to the Maximo institute either by bus, taxi, or on foot and start your day in classes or at your internship or service learning placement.

In the evening, you have dinner at your accommodations and then you’re free to check out the town and meet up with friends.

Note that your routine will vary depending on the type of program you’ve signed up for and your workload. Some service learning and research programs are based offsite and do not have regular access to the Maximo Nivel institute.

Weekends are free and are the perfect time to get out and see some of the great destinations and things to do in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Go whitewater rafting, climb a volcano, hike through the mountains, or hang out and get some hammock time.

If you’re looking for a great highlights tour, check out our Mini Adventures. These 1-week add-on programs combine travel and accommodations that bring you to the “must-see” places in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru.

Departure day is always bitter sweet—we’re always sad to say goodbye; and our program participants are always mixed between looking forward to going home and telling friends and family about their great adventure and realizing they’re going to miss their new home in Latin America! Remember, you’re always welcome to extend your stay with us.

You need to make sure you check-out, collect your Maximo Nivel t-shirt, and leave us your feedback card. Please be sure to say goodbye!

We’re always happy to help organize a lift back to the airport. Please note that airport drop-off is not included in the program fee.


Accommodation options include shared or private rooms with host families, private apartments, hostels, and hotels. Read more about accommodations.


The Maximo Nivel institutes make a great home base in Latin America.