Well, it's official, one week from today I will be on a plane, about to land in San Jose. It seems absolutely crazy to think about, but luckily I have been more than distracted with prep work and last minute shopping. After visiting the bank, I was able to exchange some money and now have in my possession some Costa Rican colones. For those of you who are curious, the exchange rate is about 500 to 1, so while it may look like I am suddenly rich, I can assure you it doesn’t work that way. I was also able to contact my host family earlier this week and am now even more excited to meet them! The only thing standing in my way right now it seems is packing. And currently my room is covered with everything I could ever possibly want to bring. From clothes to shoes to bathroom products, it’s hard to tell what color my carpet is anymore. The challenge? Fitting it all into a single suitcase. Thank god for creative folding. I’ll spare you the before pics, but I’ll proudly display the finished product if it works out. Wish me luck!
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Hola! My name is Nicole and as senior here at Central, I will be spending the fall semester studying abroad in Costa Rica. This blog will hopefully give you some insight as to my experience, but first I wanted to give you some background about myself.
Ever since I was little, I have wanted to learn other languages – an aspiration, which was incited by my Grandmother who once subsituted our normal goodbye for, “Adios Amigo,” and was sustained through my favorite JumpStart Spanish computer game. An avid reader, I think I just fell in love with the exoticness of the words, the way they flowed, the way they sounded, and suddenly I wanted to learn them all. And with this newly discovered passion, came the desire to travel as I began to dream of exploring far away places. My faith began to fade however, when I realized just how difficult it was to learn a second language. And, up until my junior year of high school, I had barely been to Canada let alone somewhere worthy of the word “exotic”.
It was then, that my parents finally gave into my pleas and agreed to send me to France and Spain on a summer trip led by faculty from the language department at our school. After touring Paris, Provence and Barcelona for a week and a half, it’s safe to say I was hooked. So, upon coming to Central and learning about their Study Abroad Program, I was quick to add that to my college bucket list – something I was finally able to cross off my list this past summer when I participated in the Los Ninos de Oaxaca service learning course. After an incredible experience working in two different orphanages for three weeks, I was beyond grateful for such an amazing opportunity and figured I’d be staying in the States for awhile at least.
However, by this point I had become stir crazy in Mt. Pleasant and thought I’d at least look into my options since I had some wiggle room with my classes. Turns out Costa Rica had just what I was looking for. Not only was it low-cost, but it allows students to take courses in both English and Spanish, meaning that I could continue taking language classes, while fulfilling a couple other miscellaneous requirements. In order to arrange this, I went to speak with my Spanish advisor, who could not, for the life of her, understand why I wouldn’t take this opportunity to finish a minor since at that point I had basically been taking 300 level Spanish classes for fun (Crazy, I know). Her enthusiasm was contagious and all of a sudden this began to seem possible. Beyond that, the program also involves a homestay, which will diversify my experiences abroad even more, and will give me the perfect chance to immerse myself in the language, improving my fluency as a result.
That being said, I hope you enjoy following las aventuras de un viajero (or the adventures of a traveler) as I learn to embrace la pura vida (directly translated as the ‘pure life,’ a phrase, which has become sort of the catch phrase of Costa Rica).