San Jose, Costa Rica
1. One of the best parts about studying abroad? Getting to travel to other cities and countries! Here are my top travel tips:
One of the best parts about studying abroad was fully immersing myself in the culture surrounding me. I gained more as a student abroad than a typical tourist. I ate the cultural foods daily and lived with locals. I got a chance to form relationships with my host family and learn more about the Tico culture in Costa Rica. I also loved being able to improve my language proficiency. It is imperative that you speak the cultural language whenever you can, especially with locals. Above all things, I enjoyed visiting the different cities within Costa Rica. It was phenomenal. I was able to see more, learn more and simply do more. My top travel tip when traveling to other cities within your selected country is to remain open-minded. Pack what you absolutely need. I understand money may be a factor in deciding where to go and where not to go, but remind yourself this is an experience of a lifetime. Upon return, you can always make the money back that you spent; however, the experience can never be repeated. I encourage everyone to budget ahead of time as well.
2. How has your study abroad experience impacted your life, academics, and/or future career goals?
My study abroad experience has further propelled my career aspirations. I now want to mentor at-risk youth in developing countries, and my experience has only fueled that passion of mine. I took a few days off from excursions and volunteered while abroad. The Abraham Project had the greatest impact on me. The Abraham Project is a non-profit children’s orphanage in Costa Rica dedicated to enriching the lives of those in need. Listening to some of the children’s traumatic experiences and seeing how much they’ve progressed reassured me. Seeing the efforts put worth into the children only made me wish to become a part of it. At home, I mentor young girls and I have always wanted to do that on a global scale. I take pride in serving others and contributing to a child’s life. It was heart-warming to get those same sentiments abroad.