Day in the Costa Rican Life of an ISA Student

Jennifer Hall is a student at California State University, Fullerton and an ISA Featured Blogger. Jennifer is currently studying abroad with ISA in San José, Costa Rica.

IMG_8992 rocky beach
This is the amazing sunset that we were lucky to see at Playa Tamarindo on our most recent ISA excursion!

One thing that I have realized during my short time in Costa Rica is that there is not enough time to do everything you want to do. So far, the weekdays have been filled to the brim with classes, homework and as many cultural activities as I can manage while still trying to get some sleep. Then come Friday afternoon, we are off on the next adventure with ISA to a volcano or the beach or a national park to see monkeys and sloths!

Wednesdays are my busiest weekday because I signed up for a traditional cooking class on top of my other two classes at the university. My day begins at 6:30 a.m. and trust me, I am not a morning person, so it’s a good thing they have excellent coffee in Costa Rica. I have breakfast with my familia Tica and then walk to my Spanish class. After four hours and a head full of new vocabulary, I meet up with some of my friends from the States and take a seat in the tiny kitchen at the university where we are greeted by the most adorable cooking teacher ever who reminds me of a Costa Rican Julia Childs. She demonstrates while we lend a hand here and there, and then we all enjoy the recipe of the day.

Cooking class
Making cajetitas de coco, a traditional Costa Rican dessert. We had to smear butter all over our hands to form the dough into balls!

As much as I am enjoying learning a new language, the afternoon brings a nice break from Spanish with my elective class, Cultural Photography, which is in English. Each week we go on a field trip to a different destination in the city to explore the culture and work on our photography skills. The first field trip was to a local park that is actually one of the few green spaces in the city. There was a giant, grassy hill that many local children were sledding down on pieces of cardboard. Many people were flying kites or just enjoying the few rays of sunshine peeking through the clouds.

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Local children sledding down the hill at Parque de Paz in San José.

After class, I return home and study or work on homework until dinner time with my familia Tica. Wednesdays are Italian night in our house (my papa Tica is part Italian) which is fantastic because I love pasta and garlic bread! After dinner we usually watch a fútbol game or do more homework. This week, Costa Rica played the U.S. in the Gold Cup and we won! My Tico brother wanted to bet me $100 but I changed it to $10. He was a very good sport about it though! There are so many interesting places to listen to music or go dancing that it is hard to choose to study instead, but it is important to me to work on the language that I came here to learn. By 10 p.m. I try to wind down and spend some time talking to my family or friends before going to bed. Then I wake up and do it all over again the next day. I wouldn’t change this crazy, exhausting, exciting adventure for the world!

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