Travel Journal: Costa Rica
Our last homestay of the program is in a community called Colorado, near the Costa Rican and Panamanian border. I've found it to be completely different than the mountainous region of La Paz—it’s flatter and hotter. There's an added challenge as well because we're very spread out in our homestays. In fact, the bus makes an hour trip each day to pick up students for school. I'm actually walking to school because my house is inaccessible by bus and isn’t too far from the school. It gives me the opportunity to enjoy the howler monkeys waking up the world! They're everywhere!
In this homestay, I'm living by myself—an incredible opportunity to improve my Spanish. I've learned that the first few days of a homestay are somewhat nerve-wracking for everyone involved. For me, I’m concerned with making a good first impression and not do something to offend the family. Similarly, the family wants to make me feel welcome without being too overbearing. What sometimes results is an awkward silence that is only broken by the noise of the television and the clanking of silverware during meals.
But what a unique opportunity I have to challenge myself to break the silence and engage an entire family in conversation. It's been great to have the chance to give English lessons to some of my host siblings, who are really eager to learn! For several nights we’ve been working on short dialogues, important phrases, and pronunciation. It’s really neat to transcend language, teaching English using Spanish and seeing the success.
Next week is our last week, which means saying more goodbyes and heading home. For now, I’m just trying to enjoy every moment in Costa Rica. I’ve learned something new every day, not just in class but also outside of class in moments where you would least expect it. This is the beauty of study abroad—you are constantly learning without even noticing it!
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