My experience in Costa Rica can be described in 3 words: lively, beautiful, and friendship.
When I first arrived in Costa Rica I was so nervous to stay with a host family and meet new people. Right when I stepped out of the airport I was met with a smiling face holding a sign with my name on it. I was also so happy and relieved that she spoke some English. On the drive to our host family I noticed they had lots of American fast food places which made me sad, but it was also funny at the same time. I was expecting to see all of these Costa Rican restaurants and the first thing I saw was a McDonalds.
The next day at school I met some of the greatest people. Right from the start I made some amazing friends. Everyone was so welcoming and amazing. I am so happy I met the people I did. We still are talking and I hope we stay in touch! We are already planning a reunion. It is a truly amazing experience to be with amazing people from different places for two weeks. The staff were also amazing and I hope someday I can see them again.
One thing that helped me keep my mind of being home sick or thinking about my family was all the activities we did. We were always busy doing something. We got to go zip lining twice, we learned to salsa dance, we learned home to cook some traditional meals, and we got to spend time with our host family. We also got to have a Costa Rican BBQ with our host families and the school. I think my favorite night was when we went to taquiera. We got to go to dinner and see a show and we got to dance. It was a lot of fun and it allowed for some good bonding. I felt really comfortable with everyone I met.
Our first host family took us to see them play soccer. It is very common for people in the family to play on a neighborhood soccer team. Our host dad also took me to a local store to get bread. The bread was fresh out of the oven. It was some of the best bread I have ever tasted it. We also got to smell some of the coffee in the store. The coffee in Costa Rica is something amazing. It isn’t bitter at all.
I think my second host family was my favorite because they were really interested in helping us learning Spanish. Our host dad still texts us to say good morning and good night. Our host mom also made some amazing food. I felt very at home when I was staying a there home which is nice because you are dealing with some many other new things.
A little advice for new participants: open up and don’t be shy. It will be a much better experience if you are open to new things and you speak Spanish! The number one thing you need to do is speak Spanish! It doesn’t matter how much experience you have.