I’ve only been here for half a semester and I already feel like I have grown immensely from this experience. I have met so many new friends, both Tico (Costa Rican) and American. All these new friends have taught me a lot about the culture here in Costa Rica as well as helped me to understand my own culture a little better. I feel that I have already grown a lot as a person. I am definitely more open to new experiences and trying new things, especially in the name of adventure or experience. I have been going on innumerable adventures here, and with each one I feel that I am understanding a little bit better what the Costa Rican culture is all about and how I can apply this culture to my life back home in the United States.
Studying abroad has also incredibly helped my Spanish skills. I feel that I have gotten a lot out of my Spanish studies back home; however, I feel that my fluency and my vocabulary have been growing by leaps and bounds since the first day I arrived. Especially living in a homestay, I have been forced to communicate in Spanish on a daily basis and have become much more confident in my abilities to do so.
As outlined in Drake University’s mission statement, a goal of my college experience is to become a more informed global citizen. My time here has helped me to become a global citizen more than any other experience at Drake so far. I have been able to immerse myself in another culture, get to know their language and their habits, and the history behind it all. In order to be a true global citizen we have to be aware of other cultures and the way in which they relate to our own, and in my opinion the best way to understand another culture is to fully immerse yourself in it.
Along with learning about another culture, I have also been able to convey some of my culture to a few friends and acquaintances here. As a global citizen I also think of it as my duty to construe part of US culture to the people of Costa Rica. There are some preconceptions about Americans, as well as those about Latin America. One more thing I have received from my time abroad is the chance to abolish some of the negative stereotypes held about Americans, as well as attempt to reconstruct some of my previous misconceptions about Latin Americans.
Honestly, this was the best decision I’ve made (since my decision to come to Drake, of course!). I have learned so much here and I have gained a deeper understanding of my own culture in the United States as well as the culture here in Costa Rica. There are so many great things that I have gotten out of my time abroad—more than I can fit in one article—and I know that there are still many more to come. I am so excited to absorb all that I can here!
With love from Costa Rica,
ISA Heredia Costa Rica