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Posts from the ‘Costa Rica’ Category

Studying Abroad in Costa Rica: Newbie Jitters

Kelsi Brooks is a student at Georgia College & State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Kelsi just finished studying abroad with ISA in San José, Costa Rica.

harboursmall

You have arrived at your destination, please undo you seat belt and go have an amazing adventure in Costa Rica! Walking out of the airport and boarding a bus or car, you are kind of nervous and relieved to finally have landed. You have messaged all of your friends and family that you have made it safely, and are eager to explore your new home. Read more

Solidarity in Costa Rica

Laurel Dispenza is a student at Olivet Nazarene University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Laurel is currently studying abroad with ISA in Heredia, Costa Rica.

Heredia

Our Heredia group

It gives a whole new perspective to foreigners at your home university. Not even just foreigners, but all who are new to the unique culture of your university. Speaking from their shoes now, because I’m currently wearing them everywhere I go, I know and understand on a deeper level where they’re coming from and the struggles at hand for one like us. You’re stripped from all that you once leaned on for support and are reduced to a one-dimensional character with no way to accurately express yourself. You’re not funny anymore, not clever, not bold, because in a new language you don’t have the grasp, the hold, that you did in your native tongue. Sometimes you don’t even understand what’s going on, you can’t even understand your new friend because they’re using words you’ve never heard before or they’re talking so fast it’s making your brain sore and you cannot focus. Read more

New Shoes in Heredia

Laurel Dispenza is a student at Olivet Nazarene University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Laurel is currently studying abroad with ISA in Heredia, Costa Rica.

landscape

I wonder what I sound like to them. I wonder how bad my accent is or if they think I talk like a little kid. I wonder if they understand what I’m trying to say, or if they’re receiving the message I’m trying to convey. I know I’m still learning, and thank God for grace, but I wonder what they think of the way I speak. I find myself comparing myself to the other gringos around me, but in reality, what I perceive may be entirely different from reality. Who am I to say how good my Spanish is? I still can’t even express myself adequately. So I will humble myself and ask for help, learn to laugh when I can’t speak correctly, learn to relax, embrace the “pura vida” life, and release any kind of control I hold so tight. Read more

Taking Time to Travel in Costa Rica

Kelsi Brooks is a student at Georgia College & State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Kelsi is currently studying abroad with ISA in San José, Costa Rica.

Brooks monkey

A monkey I saw on one of my trips outside of San José!

One of the best parts about studying abroad is how much time you get to travel. It is a student’s dream come true and an awesome reality for those who take advantage of their time abroad.

San José is a wonderful place, but so much of the charm of Costa Rica also lies outside of the city. Take a bus outside of the city limits and you’ll see gorgeous mountainsides, towns of charming people,  jungles and forests full of wild life,  and bodies of water that take your breath away. You would miss this if you only stayed inside the city limits. Read more

The Hardest Adjustments in San José

Kelsi Brooks is a student at Georgia College & State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Kelsi is currently studying abroad with ISA in San José, Costa Rica.

Kitchen Counter

My kitchen counter in San José

You love your independence, and your heart is set on traveling all the time while abroad. Also, you are staying with a host family, and you will be taking courses. While trying to balance your adventures abroad sometimes you are not interested in being tied down to any rules or regulations.

Below are some of the most difficult adjustments that I have had to face since arriving in Costa Rica. Read more

Getting Used to the Norm in San José

Kelsi Brooks is a student at Georgia College & State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Kelsi is currently studying abroad with ISA in San José, Costa Rica.

Estatua en la ciudad de San Jose

Statue in San José

Ticos (Costa Ricans) are a very amiable people. They love to talk, enjoy sports and get involved in their communities and in the lives of their children. Throughout my initial exploration of San José, I’ve picked up on a few key things that have really helped me to integrate and become more familiar with my surroundings. Below are my words of advice to help get used to the norm in San José. Read more

Living in the Present in Costa Rica

Laurel Dispenza is a student at Olivet Nazarene University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Laurel is currently studying abroad with ISA in Heredia, Costa Rica.

mountains

Paraíso de Cartago

Over this past year there has been a theme of walking forward, of coming to the present moment so that you can receive all that it has to offer. Not living in a land of would have/should have/could have, but instead embracing what is. Since arriving in Costa Rica, it has been a constant fight to stop the “what if’s” and instead see the splendor of what is. With questions plaguing my mind, from the location I’m in and the program I chose to truth and reality and if they can be known, I have found that staying in the sea of “what if’s” is a good way to grow cold and stagnant. Read more

San José Bound and the Purpose of Travel

Kelsi Brooks is a student at Georgia College & State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Kelsi is currently studying abroad with ISA in San José, Costa Rica.

On the Way to Costa Rica

On the Way to Costa Rica

Looking past the fluffy white clouds and the hustle and bustle of the airport, I am fascinated by the various types of travelers– how they move, their states of emotion in certain instances, and the traveler’s motivation for traveling. In an airport people vary in shapes, sizes, and language but they all have a similar body language which signals how they feel. Read more

Before a Chapter’s End in Costa Rica, Chasing Down the Next

Samantha Ching is a student at University of California, Los Angeles and an ISA Featured Blogger. Samantha is currently studying abroad with ISA in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Rock n Run

I remember it clearly. I had talked briefly with my aunt about studying abroad Costa Rica. I thought it would be amazing, I told her. She was seated at the kitchen table in my grandparents’ house, and I, standing, was walking away when she looked up. “Oh yeah, it’s going to change your life.”

Pausing in the doorway, I turned to see her looking straight at me. Not a hard look, but serious. I don’t know why she wouldn’t be, but still. She caught me off guard. She had caught me in the middle of those general expressions of excitement I would often give in the months preceding my departure. The earnest, but ordinary dispensing of smiles and answering of questions about spending three months in a beautiful tropical country, learning Spanish and having adventures and what not. That such a trip, this trip in particular of which we spoke, would change my life, in fact never occurred to me.

I can’t say I’ve been waiting for my life to change since coming here. But in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sensing something different. It’s not the slight homesickness of Thanksgiving past, nor the bittersweet mix of reflecting on my time here and looking forward to returning home. It’s closure that I’ve been looking for. Something grand, something to nudge me toward a future big and bright after I bid Costa Rica good-bye… for now.

Today was it. What began as a Sunday to catch up on work turned into a chance to cheer on my friends in a 15k turned into me finding myself, 13 kilometers in, fantasizing about heaps of warm cheesy pasta.

Think a long looping country road, a cow mooing passionately from over the padlocked gate. Thinking back to high school cross country, I couldn’t help but wave at passing trucks and bystanders, many of whom cheered us steadily on, others who called out to me, the passing “chinita,” or simply regarded us impassively. In other moments, I lost myself completely. I don’t even think my eyes were open all the way.

I’m not really sure why it was so fun. Certainly race atmospheres are plentiful in positive energy. The rock music imbued the morning with a playful vibe, too. And nothing gets better than locating a gentleman on the bus in telling singlet who permits you to share a cab with him to the start and then refuses to let you help pay for it. Nothing except for the lady in pink who offers you her water bottle at the 13th kilometer, later using it to wave you on from a few feet ahead as those pasta visions beckon.

Aching hips aside, I feel absolutely wonderful. In 4 years of running, I have never felt that runners’ high until this hour and a half of my life. Perhaps my coach was right when she said I might be suited to longer distances. After today, I’m certainly ready to try more races like this one. In certain stretches of the race, when the verdant mountains rose ahead of me, and the grassy fields of the campo rolled alongside, I couldn’t help it. I thought, this is Costa Rica.

Whatever I was looking, I found it today. Doing this race helped me finally give myself completely over to an experience. Going out too fast in the beginning, for once I had no fear. For the first time, I just ran. And now, just like the moment I passed the sign for the 9th kilometer, I feel ready for the finish. I am so thankful for every inch of this country I’ve been able to see. For the kindness and support I have been shown, especially from those people whose paths have crossed mine along the way simply by chance. To reach the end of this journey, that will be a very great adventure.

Give More to Get More in San José, Costa Rica

Go, experience the culture around you, and give back! You will start a cycle of reciprocity that will make your travel worth so much more.

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