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Thanks to current Spring 2022 Costa Rica participant, Srijana Sapkota for contributing this post! Read along to experience her Pura Vida moments! 

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

goatsBeing raised for all my life amidst tall skyscrapers, cramped streets and alleyways, and a cute, little shop at every corner, taking on the decision to study abroad in Costa Rica was a definite challenge. The swaying palm trees, the continuous bird chirps, the tall, green mountains surrounding Turrialba, and the small goat farm near my residence contrast the cities I grew up in and the homes I’ve created thus far. In fact, I had never even seen goats (or heard so many birds chirping at once) before this. As I landed on Costa Rican land, my heart sank in fear, as I glanced over the green hills and tropical forests through the small airplane window. Will I adapt to this place? Will I like it? Will it give me the personal growth I seek? Challenges give growth… right? Will this challenge do so? I wandered — hesitantly.

Palm TreesTwo weeks have passed and we’ve gone through orientations and our first week of classes. After familiarizing myself around campus, meeting the faculty and staff on ground, relaxing by the campus’ lake a few times, and making many new friends, who are as passionate travelers as me (if not more), my heart no longer sinks in fear. I trust the good in this place, which only convinces me that I will have the time of my life here. As I listen to the birds singing, while swinging on my hammock, I am nothing but calm. Right now, a peaceful essence of relief resides in me.

I am excited for what else the trip awaits. From the conversations I’ve had with the experts of this place (the staff, the locals, etc.) and from the exploration I’ve acquired to date while walking around the campus and the town of Turrialba with my friends, I’ve come to see Costa Rica as a country filled with beauty and meaning. Not limited to just its rich geography, decorated by its volcano and never-ending gardens, Costa Rica is a place with history just as substantial. The local community acts as inspirations to the global community, whether that is through their sustainable practices or through the kind, open arms that they welcome visitors with. As I overlook the beautiful greenery of this place, today, I have nothing but excitement in my heart. I am eager to embark on our first excursion tomorrow, where meeting different communities will provide me with the learnings and understanding of how a global community embraces life, enhancing me as a more open-minded and responsibly empathetic person.

student strollI am excited to take in all the other experiences that this place will give me, as I continuously learn more inside and (mostly) outside my classroom, as well as through my experiences around Latin America, while wholeheartedly living the Costa Rican “pura vida”!