There is a statement that I share when people ask me about my study abroad trip to Costa Rica, “You haven’t lived until you go abroad.” The truth in this statement came from my experience in Costa Rica for a month. In just one month I saw so many people, been to beautiful places, and discovered new things that changed my perception of life.
I remember the day when I was in high school in my Spanish class and saw an article about Costa Rica with a picture of a man surfing on the coast. The two things that I have always remembered about the reading was that Costa Rica had a beautiful scenery of tropical rain forests and the weather is always an average of 75 degrees year round. And from that day on, I vowed to myself that I will go to Costa Rica, but I never imagined going in college for a month to study the language and culture.
|At La Paz waterfalls|
Before departing I had an open mind and wanted to learn everything I could about the language and culture. When it came to where I preferred to stay, I had no interest in living on campus of Veritas University, which is where I studied. I wanted to get more in tune with the culture by living with a family and observe their way of living. The day that I was dropped off to my host family I felt so welcomed and loved by them within the first day. I admire my tico (Costa Rican) family dearly for making me feel as if I was apart of their family. I didn’t miss home at all. As a matter of fact, I didn’t want to come back home when it was time for me to depart from Costa Rica and my tico family.
This opportunity has shown me the light that going abroad is something that I want to do in my future career. I haven’t always been an extroverted person. Costa Rica has opened me up in a way that made me more sociable. I met some new friends there that are from the other side of the United States that I still keep in contact with. We plan to go abroad together some day to discover more beautiful places in this world.
My experience abroad was addicting. Now I want more, and I want it all the time. One of my biggest goals in life is to go to every continent. And with my high interest in Spanish and the culture, I want to visit every Latin country and also Spain. I want to make my own motorcycle diaries like Che Guevara did when he explored South America.
|Tico family picnic|
Studying abroad has inspired me to take chances in life and to live, hence my statement from the beginning. I feel as if the more I go abroad the better person I will become. Another one of my life-long goals is to be able to make a difference in different parts of the world even if it is just helping a few people. And I also want to encourage students from all over the world to study abroad. Studying abroad has opened up many opportunities for me and with that I have a chance to fulfill my dreams and goals.
Bratavia Bobo is a CEA alumna (San Jose, Costa Rica Summer 2015) and Alumni Ambassador at at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
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