In order to study Spanish and communications, I went on a study abroad trip to Costa Rica lead by my Spanish professor, Dr. Murillo. I’m so glad that he was there to help out and that I chose a faculty- led experience, because it was great being able to go to him for help or advice for the classes, or even help with the language or the culture. This was my first experience traveling outside of the United States and being able to live in and understand a new culture was an adventure that taught me things that I never thought I would be able to understand.
The classes that I took at La Universidad Veritas were ones that I would actually be excited to go to everyday. I was worried that the professors there would be hard on the international gringos there. However, both my Spanish and my Communications professors were amazing. My Spanish professor, Juan José, taught us much about the modern words and phrasing used in Spanish in Latin America, as well as the differences in words and phrasing between the different Spanish speaking countries, especially as he was a Cuban living in Costa Rica. My communications professor, Pamela Badilla, was an extremely accepting lady who made my small communications class feel like we were all best friends that had known each other for years. We learned so much about intercultural communication that will affect the way I think about the differences between cultures that exist not just between different countries, but within different groups of people.
I am also so glad I got to stay with a local family. It was a part of the experience that really allowed me to be a part of a community and be fully immersed in a culture. Being in that community allowed me to go on excursions and do things around the city that I otherwise would not have known about.
I loved being able to see all the national parks and beaches in Costa Rica. I loved being able to see animals at the Manuel Antonio National Park, and my favorite town I visited was Puerto Viejo, which had lots of cool shops and restaurants as well as the calm Caribbean Beach. But I also did some smaller activities that shaped the way I was able to see Costa Rica. I visited many small cities and towns and also many interesting parts of San José. One of my favorite experiences there, though, was when I went to the Pride Parade in San José. Being able to see the way that another country and culture treated LGBT+ issues was amazing.
I am so glad that I visited Costa Rica through the study abroad experience. Having a UTC professor there, as well as the people from the University and the directors from CISAbroad made it easy to get information about classes, excursions, and travel, and I felt very comfortable and safe the entire time I was there. I met so many great people and I learned so much about both the Spanish language and the culture of Costa Rica.
Nora Cooper is majoring in English and spent 5-weeks over Summer 2019 studying abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica through a Spanish department faculty-led trip organized by CISabroad. Nora had the following to say about studying abroad, “Studying abroad gave me an unforgettable experience that allowed me to experience a new culture and language that has challenged me and changed me as a person.”
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