Advice from a Tica Alumni
My study abroad experience in Costa Rica is quickly coming to an end after almost four months! Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I love sharing my experience! These are a few things I wish I knew before going abroad…
It is scary!
Moving to another country is terrifying. The first few weeks were very strange. You soon learn to find your rhythm and routine. Just remember your family and friends are only a phone call away. Culture shock is very real, don’t be scared. The negative feelings will pass and soon be replaced by excitement and you will feel like home!
When I first arrived, confidence was not in my vocabulary. Most of the time I played charades when trying to ask for something or when trying to describe something. Quickly, I learned that I wouldn’t improve my Spanish this way, I had to start using it! Once I began to communicate with my host family they would help me with words and correct my grammar. I began to gain confidence and tried to speak Spanish as often as I could! This combined with the Monday through Friday Spanish classes I was taking really helped. Now, I am excited when people ask “Hablas espanol?” because I can reply with “Si!”
Travel as much as you can!
I have visited four countries in four months during my time abroad. I have travelled to Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and of course Costa Rica! I have been up winding mountain roads and coast to coast in Costa Rica. I have come to appreciate how much diversity each country holds. I have gained new perspectives and have become humble. There is a saying that I have come to love; “Travelling allows you to see how little of a space you occupy in the world.” I really adopted this way of thinking. Without coming abroad and traveling every chance I got I would not have realized how ignorant I was just from living in the United States. I realized how small my problems are compared to others globally. I really learned to appreciate all that I left back in Pennsylvania and I am determined to one day return to Central America and help those in need.
You will change!
Studying abroad has taught me so many things, not only about myself but about the world. I have learned how capable I am of things that I never realized I could accomplished. I have learned that I can handle my own finances and make my own decisions. I was forced to grow up and depend solely on myself. This was the most beneficial part of coming abroad for me.
Write and reflect!
Keeping a journal while studying abroad has become one of my favorite activities. It is so nice to have something to look back on and realize how much I have accomplished and experienced! I am so excited that in the future I will have something to look back on and remember my time in Costa Rica!
It goes way too fast!
Four months is a long time but the cliché saying, “don’t blink or you might miss something” applies in this case! It seems like just yesterday I arrived in my host country but, now I only have a handful of days left.
Lindsey C. is the Fall 2017 MOJO Blogger in San Jose, Costa Rica. She is currently a Junior majoring in Physician Assistant Studies at Philadelphia University.