Day to day life in Costa Rica is exciting. I’m learning something new everyday and I’m so grateful for this experience. Every day my Mama Tica, or one of her daughters, will make us breakfast, always including a different fruit and coffee. Then we will walk to campus, making sure to lock the double bolt gate. Our walk generally takes us about 10 or 15 minutes. In Southern Illinois, I commute in my car to my campus for classes, so being within walking distance was a nice change, and good for exercise. At first I was nervous about finding my way around, because the street signs are not nearly as prominent as in the states (if a street has a sign at all!) but the way is generally a straight shot and there are many other study abroad students all going the same direction to VERITAS.
I am enrolled in Intermediate Conversational Spanish. My class is from 8am to 12pm, Monday through Friday. This class is exactly what I need, because although I have taken Spanish grammar and literature courses in high school and college, my speaking and listening skills are not at the same level. In this class, there are 6 of us and the professor only speaks in Spanish. We speak Spanish for the majority of the class time, only speaking English when learning new vocabulary or if we need clarification of the homework. We get a half hour break around 10am. For the past few days, some friends and I have been going to a small French panadería, or bakery, called the Le Rendez Vous. It is only a couple minutes from campus and I can get a coffee or pastry for only a dollar! The same guy has worked there each time I have been and he is so full of life and always has a smile on his face, I love going there! After class, I either have leftovers from breakfast or I buy something from the cafetería on campus. Next week I plan to try out some sodas near campus. FYI, a soda is a small restaurant that mostly sells typical Costa Rican food.
Many study abroad students also take electives in the afternoon, but my afternoons are free. Generally I will head home to do homework, since most of it involves talking with my host family. I have signed up for the cooking class on Wednesdays, so I will stay on campus until that is over, learning to cook Tico food! I also signed up for the yoga classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings, which have challenged me since I do not practice yoga regularly at home. Emmanuel, the instructor speaks mostly Spanish, but also English at times and I always feel more peaceful afterwards, it’s such a good class! After yoga, I will either take the shuttle home or walk in a group because the sun goes down about 6pm every day. Another extracurricular activity I do is the free latin dance classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays after dinner. The instructor speaks in English and is also full of life!
It feels like I have barely experienced all that Costa Rica has to offer, but I’m already learning so much and am excited to see what each day holds for me here. Pura Vida!