Abby Walke-Studying Abroad in Costa Rica

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After a four-hour flight and a long line at immigration, I had finally reached Costa Rica! It was a little overwhelming walking out of the airport, into a crowd of people waiting for others to arrive. I found the CIS greeter that led me to the bus of students and we were taken to our host families. My host family is a young couple with a cute little dog named Molly. There are three other students living with me. We each get our own room, which is nice and their house is great! I had arrived in the afternoon so I had the rest of the day to unpack and get settled. I met one of the other girls from the host family, Christina, and we all ate dinner together. One of the other girls, Elise was on a field trip for the weekend, while the other girl, Loni, was arriving later that night. For dinner we had this tomato soup with tortilla chips, avocado, and cheese in it. It was amazing! Our host “dad” couldn’t believe that Christina and I had never seen “American Pie” so after dinner we watched it on Netflix. Then we went to bed after.

The next day we had a CIS orientation and took a tour of the city, San Jose. It’s a beautiful city! The rest of the day we had free so a couple of us explored some more of the city, and then we went back to our host families for dinner.

On Monday, we had an orientation for the university that we were attending called Veritas. We took a tour and attended a lecture where they talked about the cultural differences between Costa Rica and the United States. For example, they mentioned a study that had been done in cafes across the country where they watched couples to see on average how much they touched during conversation. In San Juan, Puerto Rico (which would be the closest comparison to Costa Rica) they touched about 180 times per hour while in England (which would be the closest to the U.S.) they touched on an average of 0 times. That was definitely intriguing and showed how different two cultures could be. They also talked about culture shock and how we could be affected by it while we stay here. Overall, it was a very interesting lecture.

On Tuesday we started our classes. I had my first class at 10a.m. in the morning, which because of the two hour time difference felt like 12p.m., so I was definitely okay with that. My first class was about alternative health approaches and my professor is definitely a character. After giving us an overview of the class, the professor had us stand up and do some breathing exercises called Chi-Kun and then he ended the class by giving us each a hug. It was definitely different than any class I’ve attended at Albright, but I liked it. After lunch, I had my Intermediate Spanish for Health Professionals class. The professor did not know any English and she was very difficult to understand. The class was four hours long and was very overwhelming. Although I was considering switching to the basic level, I decided to stay in it though and just stick it out. The second day was a little bit easier and I feel like the more I have class with the professor, the more experience I’ll have understanding people speaking Spanish with strong accents.

Overall, the Costa Rican experience has been great so far! It may not be exactly what I expected, but I’ve loved almost every minute of it.

My Room:

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Image Pictures from my tour of San Jose:

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Street Art

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 And last but not least, my host family’s dog, Molly 🙂

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