Goodbye USA, Hola Costa Rica!

June 4th, 2022

Having studied abroad while getting my bachelors degree, I thought it would be a great idea to seek out an opportunity to travel abroad while I pursue my masters degree in science education at USF. I decided to do a google search and a summer abroad program showed up that fit everything I was looking for. It was an opportunity to not only explore a new country but provided the ability to experience teaching outside of the U.S. as that had been a vision of mine for some time. I saw that this program was going to push me out of my comfort zone as well as help me grow as a teacher. I believe that I will be learning as much if not more than I will be teaching as I experience a culture, atmosphere, and language that is rather new to me.

Getting ready for this trip was both exciting and nerve-racking because my packing list looked quite different from other trips I had been on before. For starters, I have never been to a country during rainy season but I can’t thank my program ILISA and USF enough for setting me up with a smooth preparation for my trip. The Canvas preparation class we were assigned was very informative. It went through all of the actions we needed to take in order to be successful with our travels and our trip. Several meetings were held to describe the program as well as to ask questions about our trip.

I soon realized that I needed to make a trip to an outdoor adventure store to purchase some waterproof clothing and shoes before making the big leap to Costa Rica. I found waterproof spray useful for sneakers and other shoes I would be wearing on my trip that I knew I wanted to protect. My notes section of my phone helped keep me track of the items I wanted to bring. The great thing about this list is that it can be used for other trips I take in the future as well and it is easy to access. I had my buddy give me some more support while I packed.

While in Costa Rica, I will be staying with a host family for the 2-week program so I wanted to put effort into choosing a gift for my family to show them my appreciation for bringing me into their home. I wanted to give them something meaningful so I decided to decorate a mug with images reminiscent of Florida and USF. I filled it with tea from the U.S. I also decided to make them a loaf of banana bread because I love to cook and bake for others as a way to show my love and appreciation.

The suspense has built up and the preparations are finally complete. I’m off on my adventure and am really looking forward to meeting the program members from ILISA, my host family, and the people of Costa Rica!

Melanie

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