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Hasta Luego, Costa Rica!

So my months abroad have come to an end and they honestly flew by FAST. I remember boarding the airplane not knowing what to expect and wondering if I had made the right choice to study abroad here--I did.

Along with school and learning Spanish, I have done a lot during my stay here.
 I've bungee jumped,

 volcano boarded in Nicaragua,
 gone dolphin watching,
 been a model,
 gone horseback riding,
 and played with starfish in Panama, just to name a few things. 

So that future students can have a great time like I did, here are three pieces of advice I must give:

1) PACK LIGHT. I know, I know, this is easier said than done, but you won't have to worry about not having space in your suitcase when you go back or worry about overweight baggage fees. Whatever you pack, divide it in half, and that's what you should bring; you won't wear the things you think you “need” or will wear.

2) PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE. You're here for a reason, and though it may be tempting to just speak English, don't give in! I admit, I wasn't confident in my conversation the first few weeks, and hardly spoke Spanish outside of class or outside of my home stay. Bad move. Once I started talking, I learned, and improved. I kinda wish I started talking to locals earlier.

3) HAVE FUN. Travel as much as you can and see what the country has to offer! For those studying in San Jose, which is the capital of Costa Rica, there is a lot right here in the city that you can do. Take advantage of that. Sure you may have homework, tests and presentations to prepare for, but if you manage your time wisely, you can work and play.

It hasn't quite hit me yet that I will no longer be here, hearing Spanish 24/7, seeing the Costa Rican flag flow in the wind and being able to order empanadas and natural smoothies on every corner. I am not ready to go, but I know that there are more places for me to travel to and more things I need to conquer. Of course, I’m going to return and visit, but that’s in the future.

I have met some amazing people and it saddens me that I will be leaving everything behind to go back home. I have done a lot of firsts with my group and they have become my second family. I've laughed, cried, been angry, sick and every feeling in between. But I am glad I spent my time with the Costa Clique.

Leo and Maggie: Thank you for everything you have done for me during my stay. I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart and I’m glad you two were with our crazy group every step of the way.

Tab, Cindy, Lyla, Miriam, Yasmin, Shaquitta, Jenn, Natalie, Tyler, Amber, Nidhi, Miguel, Val, Radhika, Craylyn, Alysha, Paul: I am so glad I met you guys and I’m glad we created such a strong bond. The many memories that we have created will forever stay with me and I won’t EVER forget you guys. It's not goodbye, it's I’ll see you later, and I hope later is soon. 

¡Pura Vida!

Leslie Brown is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in San José, Costa Rica. She is currently a junior at Winthrop University.

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