Katie's Study Abroad Experience: Costa Rica
Name: Katie Kratzer
Program: UMSL faculty-led program for Spanish Language to San Jose, Costa Rica
Major: Criminology & Criminal Justice
Term Abroad: Winter intersession during sophomore year
Studying abroad is scary, I know. Like you , I went through the excitement of realizing that I would be traveling to a foreign country, and then the nervousness of realizing that I would be traveling to a foreign country, but trust me when I say that it will all work out. You might get on the wrong bus and end up on the other side of the city (like this kid) but you will make it back. While you are traveling, try new foods, go out with friends to local markets, speak with the native people and learn their language. Experience everything you can because your time abroad will not seem long enough.
I went to Costa Rica for 2 weeks during the winter of 2012 and had a blast. I learned so much about Costa Rica, its people, Spanish in general, and of course made life long friends. The Costa Rican people are so friendly and helpful in times of need. In Costa Rica, like any other country, there are going to be things that are different from the States and that is good. Embrace these differences. Accept the fact that you can't flush toilet paper and that you need to eat with your hands above the table.
For the 2 week program to Costa Rica, you will be staying with a host family and will attend school at CRLA, Costa Rican Language Academy. The school is located in the center of the capital San Jose and is close to many sodas, or small restaurants that provide "comida tipica" as well as markets and malls. San Jose is a beautiful that is easy to navigate, once you figure out the bus system, and it also makes it easy to travel all over Costa Rica for relatively inexpensive prices. In C.R., you can go to the beach, zip-lining, travel to volcanoes, or just walk around the city and take in the sights.
My only regret is that I did not get to stay longer and would go back in a heartbeat! I wish you best of luck on your abroad experience and hope that it is just as amazing as mine was.