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Importance of Community While Studying Abroad in San José

May 02, 2024
by Ebony Owens-Kennedy
A group of study abroad friends at a table

How Communities Impacted My Life While Studying Abroad in San José, Costa Rica 

What studying abroad has brought me is a sense of community. Having a community abroad in San José, Costa Rica has benefited me so much. It has helped me grow as a person and enhanced my experiences, like exploring Puerto Viejo on spring break.  

Two study abroad students taking a selfie in a mirror

Me and my friend Rachel after playing an intense round of bowling. 

The Communities I Captured 

CEA CAPA Study Abroad Community 

The first sense of community I experienced was with my CEA CAPA program. During my first month in January, I had events and study abroad excursions with my program every weekend. It allowed me to not only get adjusted to my environment but helped me grow closer to people who were new to it too.  

A group of study abroad students sitting at a table

Fun CEA CAPA event at Daiso Café where we ate and played board games. 

From my CEA CAPA group I’ve developed strong and lasting friendships from abroad that I didn’t know ever existed. I’m blessed to have met these people while experiencing life, discovery, and ourselves together. Meeting these people brought out the fun, adventurous, extroverted side of me while also igniting the deep personal side of me.  

A group of study abroad studentssitting around a table

Me and all my CEA CAPA program members having dinner together in Monteverde! 

Getting to know everyone who has different attributes about them is what gravitated me towards them. These people are from different states, different backgrounds, and different majors and what makes me happy is that this experience brought us all together as one.  

A group of study abroad students posing for a photo on a beach

My CEA CAPA friends and I enjoying the beach in Jaco! 

Study Abroad Roommates 

I also made other kinds of community, one with my roommates. I was fortunate enough to know one of my roommates because we go to the same school and were associates of each other, but through this experience we’re super close now and they’re someone I consider as a close friend.  

A group of study abroad students posing for a photo

My friends and roommates went out to dinner for Valentine's Day! 

My other roommate comes from a different state but has similar interests to me and that’s what brought us together. Our closeness comes from living in the same house and experiencing the same culture shock of being in a new country, living together, and going through a different school structure.  

A group of women taking a selfie

My roommates and I getting ready before going downtown! 

Most importantly, experiencing the same host family where our beautiful Mama Tica brightens up our days and makes us feel seen and heard.  

A group of study abroad friends posing for a picture in front of a waterfall

My friends and I are enjoying the beautiful waterfall in Montezuma! 

CEA CAPA Classmates 

The last form of community I formed was with my classmates. In every class I made close relationships with my peers and tried to get to know them outside of class.  

Doing this also enhanced my learning experience where I collaborated with them on group projects and assignments.  

A group of study abroad students posing for a picture in a mirror

My classmates and I exploring new restaurants in San José. 

Overall, having a sense of community is so important to me because it made me not feel alone in this brand-new experience. It made me learn how to depend on others instead of myself all the time. It made me become more culturally aware and accepting. I’m thankful for all my communities. 

A group of study abroad students standing in front of a doorway

Healthcare class field trip to Museo Calderón Guardia. 

Ebony Owens-Kennedy is the Content Creator - Photographer in San José, Costa Rica, and is currently studying at Thomas Jefferson University.
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