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Get nostalgic about your travel adventures with Spring 2022 student Alayia Coleman. 

***This is an example of a student’s experience from Spring 2022. Specific programming and activities are subject to change semester by semester.


Hey everyone, it’s Alayia and I am back once more!!! It’s sad to say that this semester has flown by so quickly. I can say that I have enjoyed myself and built incredible connections with all of the other students and staff this semester. We went on many excursions and had plenty of ELLs (environmental learning labs) where we learned about the culture, the community, and getting into more of what CATIE, our campus in Costa Rica, is like. I can say sleeping has gotten a lot easier for me and CATIE is starting to feel more like home even though the semester is almost over. I can also say that I keep having these great meals from the cafeteria, rice and beans everyday isn’t as boring as people may think it is.

Getting into the Excursions  

An excursion that I had a lot of fun with was going to Yorkin. I say that because it gave me time away from my phone and I actually got to take in the adventure we were on. In the BriBri community they don’t believe in having all the expensive unnecessary equipment like phones and cell phone towers. We didn’t have service the time we stayed but I didn’t regret it. I learned how to make chocolate and sugar cane juice in the two days I was there. We also went to the river that had beautiful clear blue water that sparkled like no tomorrow. Learning about the BriBri community was an eye opener especially being an American that has a lot more material things than what they do. I was a lot more appreciative of the things that I came with, while also realizing I could live happily with less.. 

Another excursion I want to talk about would be the trip to San Jose. This was one of the last excursions we went on before our upcoming trip to Panama next week. San Jose felt a little bit more like home to me because it was a larger city.  I felt a lot more comfortable with the city community and was able to explore certain buildings like the National Museum of Costa Rica. The outside of this museum is as yellow as the sun and has a very unique see-through globe that people could walk through. While still a lot of work, classes have been fun and engaging. We do have a lot of free weekends to ourselves and that has given us time to explore Costa Rica by ourselves too!

I ended up going white water rafting this weekend and had the time of my life. We rafted over the river for over three hours. After our rafting journey, we stopped and had a beautiful lunch that included freshest pineapple and watermelon I’ve ever tasted. For lunch we had the opportunity to make a sandwich or a burrito. I ended up having a turkey sandwich with mayo and A LOT OF LETTUCE.  Speaking of water activities, I also went to a waterfall which was my first time seeing a real waterfall! It was beautiful. These experiences have been very heartfelt and I am happy about being able to experience such things. I’m very stoked about our upcoming trip to Panama. It will be a nice change of pace and a chance to experience something new once again! 


We are now at week ten, meaning that we have four weeks left of the semester. I can say that Verto has done everything they could to make sure that this trip was memorable. I enjoyed finally meeting with Matteo, the Community Director at Verto for the first time. I was able to have an open conversation with him about my experience in Costa Rica as well as a lot of other random things. It made me feel a lot more comfortable with the experience as well, knowing I have such a wide community. Community is an important thing, especially when you’re studying abroad. Besides my mother, one person I can count on is my new friend, Sensa.

I met Sensa at the beginning of the semester and we’ve been friends ever since. I am glad that I have formed the relationship that I have with her and I can see myself being friends with her in the future beyond Verto, so I am very happy and grateful for this. Another piece of advice I would give to future students is keep your head up! We are in the middle of the semester and things are starting to get more challenging as classes are wrapping up. Personal care is very important, so make sure you always take care of yourself before doing anything else. Just remember, you’ve got this and you have a community rooting for you! 

Until next semester abroad… Bye!