Skip to main content

This week’s blog is written by student Tessa Yutzy in Costa Rica. She shares about what she’s been up to in Costa Rica and why her life feels like a movie these days.

*** This is an example of a student’s experience from Spring 2021. Specific programming and activities are subject to change semester by semester.


It’s hard to remember these past few weeks, so much stuff has been going on from hiking for forest labs to visiting an agricultural market and even white water rafting. To say I have been living my best life is an understatement, I am really enjoying every minute I am spending here in Turrialba.

Most recently we went white water rafting. I was a bit wary but as soon as I started I could not stop smiling. I was with three of my best friends: Grace, Maddie, and Chris, as well as one of our amazing Program Leaders, Shannon. Maddie and Shannon were experienced and gave us tips, as well as our instructor Walter, told us stories about the river and the names of the rapids we were on. Safe to say our raft only crashed into rocks three times, and we only had one person fall out. During calm waters we were allowed to go into the river and swim, it was very relaxing because the lifejackets held us up so we just floated with no cares.

white water rafting

When was the last time you got out of your comfort zone?!

I have come to the realization that at the end of the two months I have been here, I have stopped taking so many pictures, and have just started living in the moment more. This makes me feel like I have gotten past the tourist mindset of just looking for cute destinations and now I am really appreciating the places I get to visit.

Walking through the woods and looking for toads and snakes has actually become one of my favorite activities. Going internet-free for days on end has made me feel more at peace with myself and I can feel myself stressing less. Not to say that I still don’t have any worries but I am looking at those being things to worry about in the future.

group of verto students smiling among trees

Nothing helps students feel present like some quality time in nature.

I have done every planned excursion and even some additional ones during this semester. I wanted to get the most out of this experience and so I tried everything I could. From white water rafting to bungee jumping off a bridge, I think I’m building my resume, to say the least.

This whole trip has felt like a movie that I haven’t finished yet. This is like a snapshot of my life that I’m never going to forget. I am going to share all these experiences with my friends and family, but, keeping with my movie analogy, I have realized that they are not going to see this trip the way I do. This has been a surreal experience that has been captured in my mind only. I know this trip is coming to its final scene, and I can’t lie and say I’m not sad. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to have a little sadness in your movie. I won’t leave this semester being the best actress, but I’ll have the movie in my head to play back any time I want.

two students share a fruit smoothie

Everything tastes sweeter when you share it with a friend!

I am going to miss the casa and all the people I’ve met here, most importantly I am going to miss Pinta the dog. Being around everyone here so far has made me realize that there are always good vibes being spread. I know that a lot of the people that I have met here will be a part of my future.

dog in a yard

Immersing into the local community means meeting amazing people, and their animals too! Verto students will miss their human and k-9 friends alike.