To be honest, before study abroad, I knew that after graduation my life would consist of living and working abroad in public health. I’ve also always had a cultural adaptability that makes my transitions to different ways of life very seamless, from feeling comfortable with language barriers to “roughing it” in hostels in 90 degree weather, outside showers full of spiders, and just a hammock or thin mattress on the floor to sleep on. So life abroad hasn’t changed my life in an adaptability or travel bug kind of way, but it has in another capacity. What I didn’t expect was to learn was that I could find a home away from home while being here.
Before all of this, I viewed living abroad as foreign, and that’s what made the idea of it so thrilling to me. Yes, of course, those first few days had that thrilling foreign feel, but after two weeks or so it became more than that… traveling here dissolved into living here, which, in turn, made it my home. I fell into a routine of having a homemade breakfast with gallo pinto and huevos, going to Spanish class at Veritas U., meeting friends for lunch, occasionally volunteering in projects empowering women or turtles, and driving through the mountainous countryside on the weekends for excursions. Crossing the cultural divide, I have found friendships that defy differences and have learned more and more every day from Ticos about the baffling political hardships and many blessings of living in Costa Rica. That became my life and it became so familiar that I realized that this could happen to me anywhere in the world. That revelation, to me, was the most exciting and thrilling feeling because in that moment I knew what adventures my life after graduation would hold for me. I realized that the entire world could be my home… I just have to travel it and live it for the rest of my life for it to become a very real reality.
Until next time, Pura Vida.
Brynna Rao, a junior at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA, is the CEA MOJO in San Jose, Costa Rica.
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