In Spring 2018, I went to San Jose, Costa Rica and attended Veritas University. After arriving the first day, I have to admit that I was really nervous even though I didn’t want anyone else to know that. Having only a little Spanish background, I found it really difficult to communicate with my family as well because they only spoke Spanish. That was something I was not aware of. But after a week I got a chance to meet some amazing students in my program that I was able to relate to and bond with. Being naturally shy, I surprisingly immediately got along with a lot of other students. I realized I had to open myself up a little to be able to let other people get to know me and be able to enjoy my time.
What really stood out to me while studying abroad was how small Costa Rica is and the culture of its people. While traveling around Costa Rica to places such as Limon, Santa Teresa, Manuel Antonio, etc, We were able to get most places, like the beaches and coast, in the country in like five hours. The trips didn’t seem as long for me because I’m used to traveling from Memphis to Chattanooga all the time. The culture of the people also stood out to me because I felt like they were way nicer than people I would meet in the states. In specifically Limon, where many Jamaicans reside, they were so open and willing to show my friends and I a good time. I really felt a sense of being at home and I wish I felt that in the states.
In general for other study abroad students going to Costa Rica, I would recommend humbling yourself as well. In Costa Rica, you would, from a American point of view, think that it’s so glamorous with beaches everywhere but in San Jose that was not the case. It’s smart to not expect to live in the certain lifestyle and just to be open to learning about the area. Don’t forget you’re studying abroad for the experience and something different from the norm.
TriDereka Hall is majoring in Psychology. She spent a semester studying abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica through AIFS.
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