|Getting our inner yogi on at La Paz Waterfall.|
As I’m counting down to the last few days before I come home, I’m in shock. I can’t believe that my semester in Costa Rica is almost done. I can’t believe I became so close with my host family and I can’t believe that home is below freezing with snow right now. Even though this is my second time abroad, I’m amazed at how well I was still able to adapt and become a part of the culture, and I’m dreading how hard reverse culture shock will be.
|My friend Kailey and I at the final soccer game of the season!|
What’s hard about going abroad a second time is that you know how incredible all the experiences will be, but what you don’t see is all the personal changes that happen within as well. You grow as a person so much during study abroad, that it’s harder to come back to everything that is familiar than it is actually going abroad. When you come back, you expect everything to be the same, and to fit right in where you left off, but the independence, open-mindedness, and thrill of experiencing somewhere completely different leave you an entirely different person.
|My friends partner ziplining in Monteverde!|
For me, the easiest thing I can do to prepare myself for going back home was taking every opportunity I could while studying abroad this time. In Costa Rica, I survived white-water rafting, understanding a new Spanish accent, hiking to waterfalls, going to a soccer game, surfing, and even bungee jumping. This semester has been wonderful, and while I don’t want to go back home just yet, I know that Costa Rica is only two short flights away. My friends and I are planning to keep in touch, and my host family and I are even trying to think of easy ways to stay in touch. The reality is that study abroad will change your perspective of the world and it will always hold a special place in your heart. For me, my first study abroad gave me the travel bug, and I’m already trying to plan another trip to Latin America to meet up with my new friends and to finish exploring everything I didn’t get the chance to, in addition to finding a job abroad this summer.
|Having fun on a private island in Nicaragua!|
After studying abroad twice and being close to graduating college, I’m making every effort to make sure travel is apart of my future. Studying and traveling abroad is a curious thing – many people think the hardest part is leaving, but in truth, the hardest part is coming back.
|Hannah, Lindy, Maggie and I at the final dinner|
Home is not where you live but where they understand you. -- Christian Morgenstern
|Thanksgiving with my roommates and Tica mom.|
Kathryn Moorhead is a Summer 2013 Seville, Spain alumna, CEA Alumni Ambassador at Iowa State University, and a Fall 2014 CEA MOJO in San Jose, Costa Rica.
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