The decision to study abroad was one of the best decisions of my entire college career- and I truly mean that. The amount of cultural knowledge and life skills I gained is seriously so overwhelming. From little things like learning the daily chores and activities of a Tico family to experiencing sacred religious holiday festivities, my time in Costa Rica was surely one for the books.

Costa Rica is absolutely breathtaking. From the rich, deep tropical forests, to the gorgeous coastal surf towns, there was never a moment that I wasn’t in complete and total awe of the country’s incredible scenery. Every weekend we did something different. The first weekend we traveled to the Caribbean coast, Puerto Viejo. This city is just a few miles south of Limon, where Jamaican reggae vibes are totally present. Not only was I able to immerse myself in the art of the city, but I got to pet a wild sloth! Yes, you read that right. A WILD sloth. The night that we spent in Puerto Viejo was a really wet one. Some of the locals claimed that they had never seen it flood so bad. We were walking through the streets in ankle deep water right along the coast and whenever we got back to our hotel, there hung a wild sloth from the overhang that had worked its way over from a tree to escape from the rain.

Another weekend trip we went on was an all-inclusive trip to Arenal and Monte Verde. On the first night of the trip we went to the Baldie Hot Springs, which were pools of water heated from the volcano- how amazing right? The second day we visited a beautiful waterfall and went on a hike in the gorgeous Costa Rican forests. The last day of our trip was definitely the best day, Monte Verde. Monte Verde is a canopy tour/zip-lining course that is the longest course in Latin America. It was breathtaking. Not only did I get to canopy above the Costa Rican mountains, but I also got to superman down them.

My last and favorite weekend trip that we made was to Jaco. Jaco is a little surf town on the Pacific coast that seriously stole my heart. I stayed at my very first hostel and it was phenomenal, not to mention how cheap it was ($15 a night). To top this off, I learned to surf and even saw little wild monkeys everywhere!

I could honestly go on for days and days about my studies abroad. The huge difference in culture and scenery is incredible. If I had to give advice to any potential study abroad student, it would be this— do not let the fears of the unknown and what to expect hold you back, because not only will you learn so much about the world around you but you will also learn so much about yourself and never take the moments spent abroad for granted, as they will be some of the best moments of your entire life.

Amber Boyd is majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She spent Summer, 2018 studying abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica and Sorrento, Italy through CISabroad. Amber was the recipient of the Center for Global Education Summer 2018 Featured Program Scholarship to Costa Rica. She had the following to say about her time abroad, “Be brave- for me, it was my first time ever leaving the country and first ever flight. I was completely and totally by myself but through this experience, I learned so much about myself and my boundaries. Push yourself, you will achieve great things!”

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