first day fresh off the bus
I ventured out on my own (well kinda). I did not know a soul who would be going on this trip prior to departure. We met as a group in the parking lot of our campus gym. We were unknown to each other. There was one couple together on the trip. Two girls who were best friends. A few of the people knew each other from the International Studies department, but for most of us, we were total and complete strangers. Maybe shook hands at a party, maybe crossed paths at the Lakefront Cafe on campus, but did not know each others stories. No, we did not know where we each cam from or where any of us had been. By the time we made it to the first airport, bonds had been formed and we were all enjoying ourselves like we had partied together for years. It was just great. If by chance there is anyone reading this that has not gone on a study abroad trip and still has the opportunity of has been considering it and is scouting out lands to explore.
DO IT!!! And do it in Costa Rica man. This place is great. Snorkeling, white water rafting, monkeys in the rainforest, zip lines from mountain to mountain, resorts, spas, great food, bars you swim up to.....
Well, as for the group we studied international relations and a few relevant topics, such as oil, the image portrayed by the United States worldwide, fair labor, etc. We attended a local school where we had a classroom for most of the week for a few hours during the day, but for the most part we were just allowed to explore the suburbs of San Jose.
However, the capital is not a far ride away by taxi...just know your Spanish. And I tell you what, I studied Espanol in middle school and high school for a few years, but two weeks in Costa Rica afforded me the opportunity to actually use Spanish and engage with a Spanish speaking population for survival. I will admit that I fancied one of the girls on the trip and we spent a lot of time together and she was quite fluent so I was allowed to get by without having to use too terribly much ;). We actually had one class in the middle of the rainforest.
It was incredible. After a long bus trip to the forest with heavy downpours of nature bathing, we arrived at out destination. We unloaded our bags, popped open a few luke warm ones and headed up for lunch.
We were all greeted by a very warm reception that included a three course meal overlooking the path we would soon be gearing up to venture out into. After lunch and a few more suds, which were at this point slightly chilled, we geared up and mounted our horses that were picked for us and headed out into the rainforest. Now they said that we were lucky because it had rained all morning and the best time to explore in the rainforest is after some precipitation so we all knew we would be in for a treat. We saw all sorts of tropical birds, amphibians and monkeys. We even saw a puma in the trees. Back on the ranch, we acted out skits. Our skit in particular referred to the mannerisms of our professor which were interesting enough to mock during a five minute sketch. After enduring the horrible acting or yours truly, we sat around enjoying each others company and sipping our respective beverages, which were at this point...ice cold baby!!! Then, after we all had a good buzz, we began our class time for the day. This included hanging out on the back porch of one of the cottages. I believe we discussed oil and the subsequent policies regarding its influenced in the world.... as well as passing around shots. You know, all those cartoons I made fun of when I was an adolescent were true, man.... school really is cool-or well, I guess it can be if you let it :-)
tucan sam and his bro