As I write this post, I am spending one of my last days here in Costa Rica. I cannot help but have feelings of sadness, excitement to go home, and utter awe at what I have learned. If you were to ask me what I learned in my classes I would say nothing. In comparison to all of the other parts of the trip outside of class, I have learned so much about the Latin American culture and customs and I have truly fell in love with the places, the people I have met, and my host family. In my Spanish conversation class, I learned Spanish words and phrases and had to give many presentations. In my international marketing class, I learned a lot about how to work in real world situations by doing many case studies, presentations, and examinations of marketing outside of the class in Costa Rica. I enjoyed my classes even though they caused much stress at times and made me a bit crazy with such a jam-packed schedule. But as the weekends quickly approached each time, I could not wait to go out and explore the country. The people, the culture, the food, and the beauty have all amazed me. I will miss seeing the mountains every morning when I workout or walk to class.
I believe that studying abroad is about studying (trust me I did not realize how much there would be), but also about not getting too caught up in the studying and spending time experiencing the culture and the people within it. Whether it be spending time sitting outside in a park, exploring the nearby city, or doing something crazy like white water rafting or bungee jumping or rafting that you have never done–I urge you to do this! Make sure you make connections with your host family (if you have one), meet other people all over the world, try new foods, and step outside of your regular schedule. For me, it was hard to eat rice and beans every day for breakfast and not go to the gym one single day for thirty-eight days. But I know that once I go back to the states, I can continue with my green smoothie and daily workout with the remembrance of such a great experience I have had here in Costa Rica. Caio, pura vida, te amo, Costa Rica 🙂