Before departing for Costa Rica I really wondered what it was going to be like and what I was going to take back from the trip. After going I can say that it was one of the best decisions I made and gave me a lot of memories that are going to last a very long time. Along with the rich cultural history of Costa Rica, the country also had a lot of amazing locations and sights to see. I studied with MLSA (Modern Language Study Abroad), and within that program they had many days where they would take us on guided tours of different cities and other places. From zip lining through the rainforest to having a day out on a catamaran visiting Tortuga Island, we were always staying busy talking to, meeting and learning about the Costa Rican people! Some of the other places the program visited was Jaco beach, Puerto Viejo beach, volcanoes, nature tours, art museums, and city explorations. Costa Rica is also very rich in biodiversity so wherever you go you can see some kind of wildlife or flora of the region. If you got out of the city of San Jose a little bit you can even see sloths or even monkeys depending on which area of the country you are in.
The classes I enrolled in were intermediate Spanish one and two at the University of Costa Rica. Each day we went from 8 am to 1 pm and had a small break in the middle for snacks or just to stretch a little bit. In class we focused primarily on grammar and sentence structure because out of class we would speak and hear so many different words that we didn’t have to put any emphasis on that which created a great balance of learning both in and out of the classroom. The teachers at the university were also very nice and helpful. I didn’t hear anything bad about any of the teachers, even from those in other classes. I truly believe they wanted us to learn as much as possible for the time we had there.
One thing that really stood out to me was how friendly and helpful the host families were. Out of all the students in the program I did not hear one bad thing about any of the host families that they were staying with. They provided us with our own private room as well as cooked breakfast and dinner, which were fairly large portions. I found my host family extremely helpful because we could sit around after dinner and they could help me better understand the Spanish language.
Overall the experience was great and I felt I learned a lot of Spanish at the same time. Studying abroad was able to show me a different way of life in another part of the world while also letting me learn about the language and culture. If anyone is ever thinking of studying abroad I would highly recommend.
Auggie Burke is majoring in Communication and spent the summer 2019 semester studying abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica through MLSA. Auggie had the following to say about studying abroad, “Studying abroad was a fantastic experience! Being able to fully submerse yourself into a totally different culture will teach you things and show different perspectives of life that you would never have experienced other wise. If you are able I definitely recommend studying abroad.”
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