Getting ready for an experience abroad is stressful. It’s hard getting you paperwork in order, figuring out your classes, all while balancing school work and a job back home. The process got me excited for my experience.

I arrived at the Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport around 9 a.m. on May 1, and nothing could prepare me for the feeling of walking to security, while my parents walked back to the car. It was a feeling of uncertainty. The feeling came with the fact that I was really leaving everything that I knew behind me, and I was leaving to go to a foreign country to live with a new family, while attending classes at a new school.

The feeling of uncertainty isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if approached with the right attitude. The feeling turned to curiosity as soon as I stepped off of the airplane in my new home. The curiosity led me to want to learn more about the area that I was living, the family I was living with and my fellow new students.

That curiosity will hopefully help me along this journey in Costa Rica, allowing me to be open to new things, foods, ideas, experiences, and people. I am excited to reflect on my experience in Costa Rica, and I hope that approaching situations with a “Pura Vida” mentality will allow me to get the most out of my time in San Jose.

A New Home

As a gringo in the land of Ticos, speaking Spanish is very intimidating. I know that I sound funny when I speak, and I don’t want to embarrass myself. However, even in the short amount of time that I have been in San Jose, the people I have met have been so welcoming and open to helping me better myself and my proficiency in Spanish.

One of my classmates, who has been in Costa Rica for more than seven months, told us to not be afraid to make mistakes. She was right. Whenever I mess up my Spanish, I don’t get laughed at. Instead, people correct me, and help my knowledge of the language by telling me how to get my idea across the right way.

The attitudes of the Ticos are so positive, and being in a foreign country is a much easier bite to swallow when the people around you are so nice and helpful. I am excited to learn more about the culture of Costa Rica, while continuing to open up to speaking to natives, and bettering myself along the way.

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