My experience while studying abroad was one of a lifetime. I was fortunate enough to spend a month in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. While I was there, I was able to witness one of the largest celebrations I have ever seen, even bigger than an Auburn win over Alabama. Costa Rica, whose passion is soccer, had won their World Cup game against Greece. My host family even had a horn hooked up to their house so they could sound it if we ever won. That evening, a group of friends and I went to downtown San José to participate in the local festivities, which included chanting their local soccer team’s battle cries. On top of that, one of the main streets that cars typically drove recklessly on was crowded with thousands and thousands of people.
Throughout my time in Costa Rica I visited many interesting and eye-opening places such as the National Theatre, the National Museum, Isla Tortuga (Turtle Island; which has no turtles), Cartago – the original capital, Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, and to two volcanoes! Out of the four weekends I spent there, my group had two free. One of these weekends a group of friends and I went to La Fortuna, one of the most famous attractions of Costa Rica. We took a four hour cramped bus ride just to get lost on our way to our hostel. Eventually, we finally found our way soaking wet from the afternoon showers. It was all worth it though when we got to our rooms and were able to overlook a flowing river from right out our windows. Here, we went white water rafting, zip-lining, swam in hot water springs and met people from all over the world; many of whom I still speak with today.
Costa Rica changed my outlook on life and the way I do things today. I learned more about Spanish, international culture, personal relationships, and myself more than I ever thought possible. Having a family open up their home to me and allow me to experience their daily lives was a treasure that I will never take for granted. I love Costa Rica, my tica family, and I hope to go back one day.