Hasta Luego, Costa Rica!
I have just 23 days left in this beautiful country. It’s a bit rainy on this Thursday morning. With my semester abroad coming to a rapid close, I reflect on my time and, of course, give many thanks to this piece of my life.
Thank you, Mama Tica!
I have loved my Mama Tica from the day I met her. She has provided a wonderful homestay with open arms and, to this day, I can’t get over just how loving and caring she has been. She has made delicious food (especially the fried plantains), done laundry each week, and even helped us when we were sick or hurt. And somehow, after four months she still has not gotten frustrated with us when communication seems impossible.
Thank you to my friends, new & old!
I was so happy to be studying abroad with a group of friends from my University. Looking back, it is easy to see how I have gotten closer with each one and also gained new friends from across the US whom I never would have met otherwise. I am thankful for all of the different accents I have gotten to know and for the friends I am so happy to see each day.
Thank you, Costa Rica
You may be in a small country in a large world and there may still be a lot more out there to see, but, Costa Rica, you did good. I traveled from beach to beach, up and around mountain roads, through rainforests, and have had some of the most incredible experiences of my life.
I have seen more beautiful beaches than I can count. I have tried, and failed, at surfing. I have zip lined over beautiful valleys and conquered my fears. I took my first breath under water and sat 60 feet under the surface to see coral reefs from a new perspective. I kissed a toucan and woke up to the sound of howler monkeys. I kayaked with bioluminescent plankton, swam in waterfalls and hot springs. I arrived worrisome about my Spanish skills and I am leaving with the ability to hold a conversation.
For the few bad experiences, like getting burnt ATV-ing my second week here or patrolling through the rainy night for turtle nests that we never did find. And for the good ones, thank you, Costa Rica.
Study Abroad Changed Me (I mean it).
I thought that becoming a new person, that changing from being abroad was a bunch of bologna. My experience highlighted my strengths and tested my weaknesses like no other. It made me realize that I am just one person in a great big world. I have learned the importance of adventure, exploration, and change. Being abroad has made me crave a life where I can continue to be a traveler, not a tourist, and while it has encouraged my desire to go places, it has also made me appreciate my home more than ever.
In the end, my four months in Costa Rica were more than just fun and frolicing, but mainly an experience that I have grown from and will continue to reflect on and build for likely, the rest of my life. For this, I am eternally grateful.
Hasta luego, Pura Vida!
Amanda V. is the Fall 2016 MOJO in San José, Costa Rica. She is currently a junior studying to be a Physician Assistant at Philadelphia University.