I can’t believe it has been around 3 months since I first arrived in Costa Rica. It has been so long ago, and yet, it feels like just yesterday I was scavenging around my room, scattering my belongings in a frantic selection process of what I should bring with me. I have found that time works in a weird way while away; it flies by so fast, and yet it also feels like you have been there, wherever you are, for much longer than reality. It’s a very bittersweet feeling contemplating my time to go home, as I am excited to see family and friends once more, and to be back in my city, but I also don’t yet have the desire to leave just yet.
I adjusted very early on with the daily routine I adopted for myself which was not what I expected. Beforehand ,I remember contemplating how long I would be away from home for my program, and would feel a small pit in my stomach due to the uncertainty of being away for the first time on my own for 4 months; the only other time I’ve been away has been during college, but since I am so close I tended to visit frequently on weekends so it never really felt like I was away. Here I am now, however, 3 months in and I’ve yet to feel terribly homesick. Ofcourse, there have been moments during my time here where I have found myself feeling lonely and missing family and friends back home, however those moments were very short lived and less frequent come the second month. I think part of the reason has been due to the fact that I always find myself busy. Whether it’s working on schoolwork, hanging out with friends, or going on weekend trips, I aim to keep myself occupied. Going out of your way to initiate conversations by inviting people to do things is something that I have improved on while here and has helped me make the friends that I have now. I recommend getting out of your comfort zone as it’ll come a long way with how your experience plays about.
I think another huge part of not feeling as homesick as expected has been thanks to the homestay style living that I was placed into. My host family has been incredibly inviting and caring, always making me feel at home. I appreciate having gotten the opportunity to actually indulge in Costa Rican culture not only through food and music, but also through shared meals, activities, and simple conversations that we tend to share every night at the dinner table. Some of my favorite memories have been during these times. I believe I got very fortunate in my placement. I will forever cherish these moments and am thankful for the hospitality that I have been given.
In light of the end of the regular semester at Veritas, there were a few goodbyes that I already had to make to the friends I made along the way. During my time here, it was a bit challenging at first to make friends, but I have found that is the case for most people, especially if shy or more introverted. It took me a while to warm up as well, but in the end I have made more friends than I ever thought I would. If you find yourself feeling lonely at first, don’t fret, I guarantee others are feeling the same. In the end, you may also find yourself in a bittersweet embrace saying goodbye to friends that you may or may not see again. I hope the lather is wrong and a reunion is in store for the near future, but regardless, the memories made along the way will always remain.