Skip to main content
Students pose with bikes and helmets against a lush green hill

Biking is just one of the many outdoor adventures enjoyed by Verto Costa Rica students!

Curious what a day in the life of a Verto semester student is like?! Who better to tell you all about it than current Verto students themselves! This week’s blog is written by student Halliday Dinsmore-Patch in Costa Rica.

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


Within the past month, I have fallen in love not only with Costa Rica, but also the community my cohort has built. It seems as though everyday we are brought closer together and discover more things to bond over. I am overjoyed to have found people that I can connect so deeply with. We have truly become a family. 

This has been a critical source of comfort while dealing with the common stress and anxieties that come with traveling abroad, especially for the first time. We all take time out of our days to check in with each other and offer support. It fills me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I know the people here sincerely care for my well being, and they know that feeling is reciprocated.

Students hugging in Costa Rica

No one knows you better than a travel buddy! Verto students become friends for life.

Some days over the last few weeks have been difficult. However, our past couple weekends have greatly lifted our moods, at least they have for me. First, we spent a weekend at the beach and that Saturday morning, we took the bus to a beach nearby for surfing lessons. I was filled with nostalgia. I live on the coast of southern Maine, and spent many summers growing up learning to surf. I even bought my own surfboard around the age of 14 after saving up all my money from house-sitting and dog walking. I was brought back to a time of absolute joy and accomplishment, and all my nerves and stress from the past week washed away with each crashing wave.

A group of smiley students pose on the beach with surf boards

Costa Rica is one of the world’s best destinations for surfing. Have you ever surfed before?!

The following weekend did not disappoint. I was given the opportunity to go biking to a river with a handful of other students. Though this was not a planned Verto-excursion, it easily falls into one of the top-three experiences of mine so far (joined by our trip to the indigenous Bri-bri tribe and day of surfing). The ride ended up totaling over 20 miles, exhausting all of us thoroughly.

a group of students biking through the hills of Turrialba, Costa Rica

Biking uphill is hard work but worth Turrialba’s incredible views!

Nonetheless, we reached our river destination for lunch, took a refreshing swim in the water, and furthered our adrenaline rush by taking turns on a rope swing. 

Once again, I could not help but be reminded of my life and childhood back home. Before my friend and I got our licenses, we biked everywhere. We met at a corner store to share tubs of Ben & Jerrys half-baked ice cream, wore ourselves out with 25+ mile-long rides to the beach, and (one of our favorites) took trips to the small city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Students in bike helmets make silly faces and pose together

It’s the impromptu adventures like this bike ride that always make the best memories.

 I don’t think there was a single time during our bike trip last weekend that my face wasn’t glowing, or mouth wide with a smile. This feeling was heightened immensely by the breathtaking scenery that surrounded us. 

Countless times I would look over at a friend just to lock eyes in a smile and silently speak of the dreamlike landscape we were soaring through. It was a day I will never forget, and will hold deep in my heart for the rest of my life.