As an F.E.A Scholar and a Gilman Scholar I was privileged enough to afford to visit not only different parts of Costa Rica, but also different Countries in Latin America. I visited 3 countries outside of Costa Rica and loved every minute of it.
At the beginning of April I had the opportunity to travel to Antigua, Guatemala for merely $143! I have always wanted to visit Guatemala, not for any particular reason other than getting to say “I went to Guatemala”. I definitely was not disappointed. I immediately felt at home because I was reminded of Mexico and my culture; this could be because we went a week before Semana Santa (Easter) which really brought the city to life.
There were so many families out walking and exploring. We were even able to see the parade celebrating this holy week. The markets that we went to were so beautiful. They had marvelous sand art on the streets by the park. Do not even get me started on the food! After 2 months of Costa Rica’s non-spicy food I was living life in Guatemala. I peaked when we went to a Frida Khalo themed restaurant owned by a Mexican couple. I would definitely go back and spend more time there !
The last week in April is when two of my friends and I went to Panama City. My friend, Alyson, was turning 21 so she was beyond excited. The 1st thing I noticed was how HOT and HUMID Panama was compared to any place I have ever visited. But, regardless of heat I had such a good time! We had tickets to this city bus tour which took us to the main spots in Panama City.
El Bio Museo and Art museum which was really interesting and everyone knows how I love a good museum (#nerd). I was able to learn so much about Panama’s history and indigenous tribes as well as their history with other Latin American countries. My favorite thing by far was being able to see a short film on how the indigenous tribe Kuna make their cultural patterned clothing and what each pattern meant to them.
One of the things that I was very uneducated about was the Panama Canal. I was not even remotely interested in seeing it, but my friends really wanted to and I am glad we did. I learned about it’s incredible history and we even got to see cargo go through. Overall glad I got to experience Panama and all it’s history.
As a Gilman Scholar I was invited to the Gilman Regional Summit in Peru. They granted me the funding to attend and although it was my shortest visit, it was extremely worth it.
- Meeting other Gilman Scholars studying abroad in different countries and being able to learn about their experience.
- Learning about the advantages we as Gilman Scholars get in terms of programming (Fulbright, Intensive Critical Language Classes) and also the opportunity to work with the U.S government (no matter how complex and problematic our government can be) doing things we love like traveling and making a global impact.
- I was able to meet workers at Sharff; which is a small company that is bringing easy, fast and cheap shipping to Peru and hopefully all of Latin America. Their technology innovations and partnerships are impressive for a small company and I was 100% fangirling. I hope to find an opportunity to intern or work there in the near future.
- Cultural experience. One of our dinners came with a live show of dancers sharing the history and culture of Peru. We also were able to go to a museum which was extremely enriching.
- Last but not least, the FOOD! I had the best food in Peru and it definitely is competing with Mexican food, but I am loyal to my people. I am a pescetarian, so I only eat fish or vegetarian meals and being able to have some sort of seafood every meal was my highlight especially since it was also spicy!
I definitely plan on returning to Peru whether it be for work, education or traveling. I loved traveling in Latin America and I am nowhere near done! Here are the list of countries I have visited:
- Costa Rica
I plan on traveling the world! So if you want to see my world travels follow my Instagram at LizaMarie_travels!!