New Experiences in Costa Rica

Lydia Needham is a student at University of Nebraska and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in San Jose, Costa Rica

When I was preparing to come to San José, Costa Rica, I had no idea what to expect. I mean, yes, I had read the orientation packet and had done my fair share of google research, but, at the end of it all, I had no concrete idea of what I would find. So, all I had was some preconceived ideas of what would be waiting for me here in Central America. I have been in this country for almost a full month now, and it has certainly been an exciting month of learning how things work. As such, here are a few things that have surprised me (or that I’ve just found new and interesting) here in San José that my google research did NOT prepare me for. 

  1. Junk Food
    • Or lack thereof. That’s not to say I can’t find items to complete my guilty pleasure shopping list, but it is more expensive than I thought it would be. I’m going to have to just go with it though ’cause I found where our nearby store keeps the popcorn, and I’m getting kinda desperate . . .
  2. My Classes
    • I can tell ya, I was not prepared to have a four-hour long Spanish class ever morning of the week. If I had actually read the syllabus thoroughly, I probably would have been prepared for it. But since procrastinator is my middle name, I was hit pretty hard with the realization of how long I’d have to sit at those desks every day. But the confidence I have gained throughout this month when it comes to speaking in Spanish makes it all worth it!
  3. The Fruit
    • Yeah, this one seems obvious, but it is a new experience (and a very welcome one at that). Fruit offered for breakfast every morning . . . three pineapples for $1.50 USD – YES PLEASE!
  4. How Tired I Would be
    • I am a definite night owl. Back home, I could stay up until one in the morning working on homework, and feel absolutely fine. But here, when 9 pm hits, I am ready to crash! It’s not because of a time difference because there is no time difference between here and back home, so I blame it on the 4 hour long class I guess.
  5. The Beauty of Costa Rica
    • Everyone talks about how beautiful it is here, and I saw plenty of pictures before I left, but words and pictures are not enough to describe the magnificence of being in the mountains of Monteverde or the beach of Manuel Antonio. It is something that has to be experienced in person. However, I still included this picture of my view from our hotel in Monteverde because it was so amazing. Photo: ElEstabloHotel.
El Establo Hotel

I look forward to my next two months and all of the new aspects of living in a foreign country that I will have the opportunity to experience!

Heading back to my homestay.


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