Skip to main content

Summer Immersion in Costa Rica

A trip to Costa Rica had been on my bucket list for years, although I always envisioned it would be in the form of a family vacation. I never saw myself as a study abroad student, but I dreamed about meeting new people, trying different foods, and exploring the unknown. I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and see the country from a local perspective, so a homestay program became my ticket to Costa Rica. However, the weight of what I had signed up for didn’t register until I was alone in the airport. The nerves kicked in and I worried about communication, safety, and travel. Customs and immigration were a bit nerve-wracking, I’ll have to admit, but my anxieties wore off in a matter of minutes as I took in the new country and was introduced to my host family.

The next two weeks were a whirlwind of adventures and emotions. As soon as I stepped out of the airport, I was greeted by two friendly chaperones and a driver. They spoke English and immediately made me feel comfortable. My host mom was extremely kind, preparing a grand breakfast for me after my early morning flight. One of the many highlights of my trip was our dinner at Ram Luna, a traditional Costa Rican restaurant overlooking the capital city. This beautiful restaurant was famous for their food and dance, making it feel like a Latin American version of a Hawaiian luau.

In just a few weeks time, I had already learned so much. Costa Ricans, also known as Ticos, reply with “con mucho gusto” instead of “de nada.” They honk their cars as a greeting and thank you to others, not out of frustration. Arriving late is common in their culture and is not considered rude. Ticos are all about a “Pura Vida” lifestyle, which is evident in their peaceful ways. Every person I met was passionate about their culture. One of our tour guides, known to us as Tio Loco, was very knowledgeable about Costa Rican culture and history. You could tell by the way he told stories how proud he was of his country.

While my overall trip was wonderful, I found I was not able to connect with my host family as much as I had anticipated. Neither one of my host families had children my age, and my days were filled with activities with the tour group. Thus, the only time I had with my host family was at night, when they were relaxing in their private rooms. Rather than intrude on their personal schedule, I tried to meet them in the middle. For example, I did my homework in the living room instead of my own bedroom one night. My host mom joined me after she finished cleaning the kitchen and helped me with my work, even encouraging me to read my sentences aloud to improve my pronunciation. I learned that cultivating relationships is a two-way street. It is important to initiate interaction while understanding that they need their personal time as well.

My trip to Costa Rica is a memory I will treasure forever. I learned how to be independent and open-minded. I saw the positive effects of saying yes and how many doors can open because of a simple conversation. Most importantly, I learned how eager people are to share their culture if you give them an opportunity to do so. I witnessed the importance of dialogue, despite imperfect grammar and vocabulary.

Pura Vida!


For more information about our immersion programs in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries, check out these pages!


  1. In comparability, the 2 highest estimates, 31% and 26% had been derived from online panels of past yr gamblers. The range of estimated increase in online playing was between 11 and 20% excluding the very best and 메리트카지노 lowest estimates. Of land-based venues is that individuals will migrate to online playing formats for the first time, and that this involvement will increase vulnerability to unfavorable harms and GD .


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Tips for Teens Traveling Independently

Many of our programs allow you to choose your own program dates, flights, and length. Some advantages to this are that families have control over booking flights and are able to use frequent flyer miles. One challenge, however, is that students must travel independently to their program destinations. Some teens are understandably nervous about flying alone.  Here are some tips to help teens and parents feel more at ease about traveling internationally without a chaperone or flight leader. Before booking your ticket Check with us before booking your ticket to see if anyone else from your area will be attending your program at the same time. We can put you in contact with one another. Booking your ticket Whenever possible, choose a direct flight. Fewer fights mean fewer opportunities for flights to be delayed or for other problems to arise. If a direct fight is not possible, choose a flight that stops or makes connections in the United States. Whenever possible, stick with t

How to Write a Letter to Your Host Family

The letter to your host family is one of the most important pieces of your program abroad application; it’s the host family’s first impression of you. Exchange programs take many factors into account when matching you with a host family, but ultimately it’s up to the host family to decide whether to host you or not. Here are a few helpful tips to writing a great letter to your future host family: Use a positive tone. “The main reason a student’s dossier is passed over by families is unintentional negativity,” explains Rebecca Gundle, Program Coordinator for ANDEO International Homestays. A student might be trying to explain her preferences, but when she devotes equal attention to describing her dislikes, she comes across as negative or picky. A family wants to know that the student they host will be adaptable and willing to try new things. Keep your tone upbeat and positive. Go deeper than the application form. Try to avoid simply reiterating what is on the form. This is a c

From Guest to Family- All in 48 Hours

by Judith,  Immersion in France , 2016 The first 48 hours of your time abroad will probably be the most exciting of your entire stay. There is so much to discover, so much to explore, so much you don’t know about…These first two days are filled with emotions: you may be a little anxious and worry that your second language is not good enough. You may be struggling to fit in and overwhelmed by everything new you discover. As my own day of departure for France drew near, I wondered what my upcoming trip would be like. I wanted to know what it is like to meet a complete stranger. I wanted to know what it would be like to speak French all day long. Most of all, I wanted to know what my host family would be like.I hope to be able to help you answer these questions and ease a bit of your anxiety. What is it like to meet a complete stranger? First of all, you probably won’t be meeting a complete stranger. You’ll be meeting someone you know is interested in getting to know you and you