¡Hola, amigos! My name is Danielle Brewer, but I prefer Daniela (it’s more exotic/easier for my host mom). I’m a 21 year old from Memphis, TN, USA. I’m currently a junior/senior (it’s complicated) Health Promotion major at the University of Memphis. I’m studying abroad at Universidad Veritas in beautiful San José, Costa Rica. I’m taking Intermediate Spanish One, Cultural Photography, Creative Conflict Resolution, and Alternative Health Approaches. I’m in my second Spanish class, I took Basic II Spanish last month and I absolutely love the language classes here. Take as many of them as you can! I decided to study abroad, kind of on a whim. It was a pretty quick decision, but I knew I wanted to travel and get away from home for a while and I wanted the outdoorsy adventure that Costa Rica had to offer. I love Universidad Veritas, it’s a very small, but really awesome school. All of the teachers care so much about the students. It’s easy for them to get to know the students because the classes are maximum of about 20 students.
I’ve officially been in Costa Rica for one month now. It’s crazy that time is passing by so quickly! It’s hard to remember what I did every day back home because it feels like I’ve been here so much longer. Before I arrived in San José, I was really into getting as much information as I could about what living here would be like. I would read this blog website searching for as much information as I could get. So, to help you out, I’ll give you a quick “in the life of Daniela Brewer in Costa Rica”:
One Direction is (still) the first thing I hear every morning, my 6:15 am alarm is set to “Fireproof”. *Yes, I’m obsessed with One Direction.* I eventually pry myself out of bed and upstairs to shower around 6:25-ish. After my shower-which is in fact, hot most of the time- I brush my teeth, get dressed, and do my hair. “¡Chicas, está el desayuno!” is how our mamá tica (Costa Rican/host mom) calls all 6 of us chicas for breakfast. Our breakfasts, cooked with love by our mamá tica are pretty much always delicious, and accompanied by orange juice, for me, and usually sliced fruit. I chat with my roommates, in español of course, and eat breakfast. After desayuno, I finish getting ready for class and usually have time to sit and waste five to ten minutes on Facebook or Pinterest before I leave for class at 7:50 am.
I seriously lucked out because my house is literally, actually literally, twenty steps away from Universidad Veritas. Whoever placed me there must have talked to someone who knew me, because I am ALWAYS late. So if it wasn’t for living so close, I’d probably have a few tardies by now. So I hike to Veritas for Spanish class. Last month, I was in Basic II Spanish (I was placed in this level because of my Skype interview and online placement test), but now I’m in Intermediate I Spanish. At first, when I heard that the Spanish classes were four hours long, 8-12 pm, and five days a week, I honestly thought I would die. But it’s honestly not bad. I enjoy it, we’re here to learn Spanish, so why not? Anyway, so we’re in class for two hours and we get a break from 10:00 am to 10:30 am. After class ends at 12:00 pm, I eat lunch. Some days I have my afternoon classes: Cultural Photography, Creative Conflict Resolution, and Alternative Health Approaches. On days I have a break, I’ll go play basketball at the park or take my family’s dog for a walk and then do homework until dinner time. We get another call, “¡Chicas, está la cena!” and we herd into the dining room. It’s really fun living with eight other people in the house. Like I said, there are six of us chicas studying abroad, my host parents and their five year old daughter, oh and two dogs.
For my first month here, I left every Friday afternoon at 1pm for an excursion. The excursions in the first month are all the ones that your program pays for. So every Friday at 1 pm, I would head on over to the bus. First, we went to Tamarindo- a beautiful tan sand beach on the Pacific with lots of people and great waves. The next weekend, we went to Puerto Viejo- a small town on the Caribbean with afro influence, an amazing national park on the beach, and good music everywhere. The third weekend, we went to Sarchi and San Luis- this was actually just a day trip for me, so we left on Saturday morning. We went shopping in Sarchi and saw the huge oxcart and two beautiful churches. In San Luis, we went on a canopy tour/zipline. And lastly, my roommate and I went by ourselves to Arenal the last weekend. This trip wasn’t paid for, but we had connections and got to stay for free. So that’s what I’ve been doing so far! Traveling, studying, and enjoying the Costa Rican sunshine. It’s a totally different life down here, one I think I could do for the rest of my life.