You’re up before the sun, juggling bags and paper work and you are headed to the airport to leave for your study abroad. You think you have everything you need and you are one-hundred percent ready. The car ride is filled with excitement and you’re using this self-help Spanish app you recently downloaded on your phone. Everything is great until you get to the airport because you realize, you are actually going through with this.

As you unload your bags your parents are feeling mushy taking photos and you’re  struggling with bags, paper work, and the fact that there is no turning back. While your mind is racing you remember to keep a collected face for moms pictures. You get through security and look behind you, mom is absolutely gone. Just you and your thoughts.

To occupy your time you find your gate, but you’re here two hours early so now the anxiety rushes back to you. Did I forget something? Am I really going to like this place? Do I really know Spanish well enough? The answers are yes, yes, and no. You probably forgot something but when you get here you might find it was not really needed or it’s available here. You are going to love Costa Rica (if you are anything like the rest of the world)! You will wake up to amazing views, experience home cooked meals that are beyond delicious and learn about the hidden beauties around you everyday! No, you never know enough Spanish to live in a Spanish speaking country but that is why you are traveling to grow and develop as an individual.

Once I arrived at my gate I felt all the above described feelings. I was beyond overwhelmed. I wasn’t even sure why I was going anymore. The exact words I wrote down in my phone are: “I could cry right now I’m not sure what it is I’m feeling. I’m nervous, not sure I’m ready. Maybe I just need sleep.”

All of these feelings are valid and they will all come during some point in your travels to the country but don’t worry, the moment you get your passport stamped that all changes. It becomes a feeling of excitement again. You’re feeling like this is going to be the greatest experience ever, and it is! One thing I forgot to bring with me was my umbrella. Although I don’t have an umbrella, I prefer my raincoat. The rain is unpredictable and the early mornings and late evenings are cooler so a light rain coat is very useful. I would also recommend bringing water shoes for excursions. Some of them include walking through forests and you might be introduced to a river or it might rain so a shoe equipped for the forest floor and water would be great, although I don’t have any with me. Lastly, if you want to fit in and appear as a Tico, bring jeans! You will stand out as a gringa, or a foreign woman anyway but it’s better to blend-in when you can. You are going to love it here, until next time. Pura Vida!

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