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Living the Pure Life in Costa Rica

Written by: Brendan Jones

We walk into a huge stadium full of fans, and I think about how I am experiencing another thing for the first time. This was my very first time at a professional soccer game. It was loud, exciting, and very memorable. The food was given out by vendors, and it seemed like the sports competitions at home except everyone spoke Spanish. That, along with a lot of other first time experiences came together to sum up my study abroad trip in Costa Rica. It was a big transition for me, but it was more than worth it. It was my first time out of the United States. In addition to that, I was going to be gone for a whole month.

I am an intermediate level Spanish speaker, but when I am nervous I cannot understand a thing… and I thought I would be nervous the whole trip. Turns out, I was not. Despite how drastic the change was for me, I was fully indulged in Costa Rican culture. I was able to experience the Costa Rica and Nicaragua soccer rivalry in person, I ate tons of “Tico” (the nickname for Costa Ricans) food, and did a lot of other adventurous things. I climbed mountains, swam in rivers, and most of all grew as a person.

Now, through both my trip and the classes I took, I feel as though I have gained a lot of skills. Some of which include better critical thinking and language skills. I was able to attain my language skills through the home stays which were the best part of the trip. I got a dual experience from them because half the trip I experienced the rural farm life in La Paz. In the second half of the trip I stayed in the urban coffee city of San Marcos. Both helped me grow in terms of language skills, and I grew connections with both my host families. Experiencing all these new things with people I had just met opened me up more as a person and helped me to be a little less introverted which I appreciated. Overall, the experience was remarkable and life changing.

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Brendan Jones

KIIS Costa Rica
Ball State University

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