First Week in Costa Rica

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

Wow. I can’t even begin to describe what it has been like arriving. To start however, I will say that it was my first time traveling by plane consciously and I did not expect it to be quite loud the whole 5 hour ride. You know how when on a car or train, sometimes you get a very loud starting engine sound that eventually seizes? Yeah, apparently that is not the case with planes, but nonetheless I did get a window seat and the view was so mesmerizing. It did not feel real half the time. The whole time, despite having access to free movie access, I couldn’t help but keep staring out the window. The flight started early in the day and ended around nighttime, so I got to view the change in daytime while on air. The lights? Wow. Thousands of tiny lights scattered atop a black undulating background as we approached the ground. Anyway, besides the sound, the view was incredible.

As surreal as that flight however, was the landing and the finally getting off the airport in San Jose (which apparently is not actually San Jose despite being named as such). First thing that changed was the weather. Having left Chicago, the cool breezy air felt so refreshing in comparison to the icy chills. Outside of the weather, one of the first things I noticed was all the signage in Spanish. I grew up speaking it in a neighborhood with a predominantly Latino population, however seeing so much signage in Spanish in a busy center just felt so different, and yet also somewhat familiar to my home village which was nice and something I can foresee as helpful for adjusting.

After the landing, I waited to get picked up alongside two other students (one from my own school), and it was in between the waiting and observing that it finally hit me that I am miles away from home in a location that I’d never stepped foot on before. What am I doing? In between the mini-existential crisis we boarded the tiny shuttle and I was the first to get dropped off at my homestay where I was greeted by my homestay family with open arms. I am not used to hugging strangers so the interaction was awkward at first as I did not react in an instant, something I have since then been able to talk about with them as it was a bit funny. All in all it all felt very warm, and I was received with a full plate of food (delicious) which I did not expect upon arriving.

I could probably go on and on about first impressions but to summarize, I feel very welcomed and am glad I decided to go forward with this opportunity. Right now I have yet to feel homesick, but with school stress, I can imagine it will come eventually, although my goal is to stay proactive and not let myself get consumed by the pressure. I have already found some struggle with changing courses and my schedule and making the tough decisions of choosing between them, but I am satisfied with my choice now. Anyway, I’ll keep posted on that.

New Food:
Fresco (natural fruit water) de cas y carambola
Arroz y pollo revuelto
Gallo Pinto

New slang/words:
Que dicha
Que torta

P.S. – Last final note: the SMELL of air is so nice here. That’s another thing that instantly hit me. Sorry, I couldn’t leave that out.