Post-Travel Reflections on Costa Rica

Post-Travel Reflections on Costa Rica

To say that this trip has influenced me in a positive way is an understatement. It has pulled me out of my roots of comfortability and forced me to grow in ways that I had not imagined. I had the privilege of traveling to a country that had a culture and landscape different than any of the others I had been to. This USF program has been an enlightening experience for me and one that I’ve found is much different than what the average traveler coming to Costa Rica would get based off of my discussions with friends and other travelers that have been there.

This was my first time getting to stay with a host family and it really enhanced my experience in Costa Rica. They took great care of me and made me feel included. We danced, sang, and had lots of fun during the time I was there. I am so thankful for their generosity, love, and support. Although my Spanish-speaking was poor, my connections with them were rich. I learned that there are many ways to communicate and connect with others. After my program, I stayed in Costa Rica to travel the Pacific coast with my sister for a week. On our way back to San Jose for our last night in Costa Rica, I reached out to my host family and met up with them. We went bowling- for some it was their first time! I’m so happy that I was able to share this one last experience with them before leaving. They are truly missed!

My biological sister and I (both on the far left) with my host family at the bowling alley my last night in Costa Rica

I cannot encourage others enough to take part in opportunities like this. It has helped me develop into a more well-rounded person with skills and memories that will last a lifetime. It has also encouraged me to become fluent in the Spanish language so that I can expand my communication with others and hopefully support my Spanish-speaking students in the future. I look forward to passing on my knowledge and experiences to my fellow classmates as I finish out my teaching degree at USF as well as to my future students in hopes that it will support and inspire them as well. I am grateful that USF provides these programs for students because what you learn in this kind of environment goes beyond what you obtain in just a classroom setting.

To Dr. Genshaft and Mr. Greenbaum, thank you again for supporting me on this amazing journey. It is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Go Bulls!

Last but not least, I must end by saying, “Pura vida!”. It is a phrase often used by Costa Ricans, which translates simply into “pure life” but is used as an expression denoting an active effort to appreciate and enjoy life as it is what you make of it. That is a phrase I truly wish to live by.

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