Living the “Pure Life” with My ISA Costa Rica Family

Amanda Arroyo is a student at California Lutheran University and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with the Study Abroad Center at Cal Lutheran. Amanda is currently studying abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica on a Fall 4 program.

Pura Vida.

Strangers at the Start, Friends in the End: Getting to know ISA San Jose

I was told that this was a common phrase used in Costa Rica and upon my arrival, I found out just how true this actually was. People said it everywhere, all the time—like it was a normal phrase. It was the answer to any question or statement. And for the people of Costa Rica… it is. It’s a beautiful phrase that should be the life motto of everyone. I told myself that I would live up to this phrase the entire time I was here. I would live the pure life. No stress, no worries, just life.

Most of my study abroad group on a Canyoning tour at Arenal Volcano, our second excursion.

I have to dedicate this post to my ISA study abroad group. We all live the pure life.

We all have said this, and the more that time passes by, the more I also find this to be a true statement. We are a random group of students from all over the US who have come together in this beautiful country to study abroad. Our personalities are different and we come from all walks of life. I can’t complain though, because as different as we are, we are all so similar and get along so well. We know how to have fun and have bonded with each other. We are all vulnerable here, learning a new language, experiencing a new lifestyle—so we are more or less forced to bond with each other to make it and survive. We help keep each other strong and I hope that our bond only gets stronger as time passes by (the whole two months that we have left). Our response to anything and everything is pura vida, meaning we are in another country so why not do what we want and can do?

With ISA, our group was given the opportunity to go on 3 excursions together. In my opinion, that is what bonded us so closely together. We got to explore different parts of the country, do fun and exciting tours together and just be. Although we all didn’t do the same things, at the end of the day we came back together and exchanged stories about our day. We unwound and got to know each other on so many different levels.

The rest of my study abroad group (including myself) on a horseback riding tour at Arenal Volcano.
A small number of my study abroad group (including myself) getting ready to go on a Catamaran/Snorkeling tour at Playa Tamarindo.

My study abroad group is definitely the thing that keeps me going here. That along with my host family, including my beautiful roommate Mavis. Without all of these people, I honestly don’t know how this experience would play out. It would be quite different.

My wonderful and beautiful roommate/sister Mavis and myself hanging out at a hostel in Puerto Viejo on a weekend trip with our host family.

I got lucky with my ISA group. All study abroad groups are different but I do hope that everyone who studies abroad gets an awesome one like mine!

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