Proctor’s sophomore study abroad program in Monteverde, Costa Rica is underway for the spring trimester as six students immerse themselves in Costa Rican culture. Students share their perspectives following their first weeks living with host families and studying abroad. Read more below!
There is so much to reflect on as our first full school week in Monteverde Costa Rica comes to a close. In the past few weeks, we have experienced so many new things as a group, and separately with our host families. We started our journey at Boston Logan Airport, took a short flight into JFK, and then a much longer flight into Liberia as a group. This was my first time traveling without my parents, but it was very comforting to be traveling with the group and it made a world of difference. After we landed in Costa Rica, Kathia picked us up and brought us to Playa Hermosa where we would be spending our first couple of days at a hotel as a sort of orientation. It was so amazing to be at the beach with everyone for those two nights and get to know each other, while also learning more about the journey we were about to embark on.
After the three days were up, we all got into Kathia’s van and took a three-hour drive to Monteverde where I was the first to be dropped off with my host family. I was super nervous until the moment I met my host mom and she gave me a huge hug and told me how excited she was to have me here. My Spanish has already improved tremendously because of school and living with a Spanish-speaking family. We have had an amazing week academically and it has been so fun to get to know all of our teachers. A highlight from this week was hiking through the Cloud Forest on Saturday with our science teacher Beto, and learning about the wildlife.
On Monday we got to go to Kathia's farm that she owns with her husband. It was our first time going so she gave us a tour of the whole farm. We learned about the different responsibilities that they have on the farm such as feeding all the animals, and milking the cows. They have six horses that they have rescued from many different situations and it is amazing to see all the animals living together. We all got to ride one of the horses bareback which was so much fun. My favorite part about the farm was all of the baby cows that they had. They were so friendly and fun to be around. I am very excited to go back next week, and hope that we will get to do some more hands-on work.
On Monday, we ended our day by going to Kathia's ranch. She showed us all of her animals and how her husband, Celimo, runs them. Near the end of our stay, we got to ride horses for a bit, just to get a feel for what it's like for people who have never ridden horses before. None of us had ridden a horse without a saddle before so it was an interesting experience! Nonetheless, it was super fun and Celimo showed us how to ride them properly and what not to do when riding a horse.
Being in Costa Rica has made me realize how much a good sunset can bring together a group of people, from the first night of being in Costa Rica when everyone in the community packed the beach in Playa Hermosa and joined in a beach soccer game, to having a picnic with my host family one of the first nights on top of a mountain. Here, things move pretty fast, but a beautiful sunset is enough to stop many people for enough time to take a breath and enjoy this beautiful place and the people here too!
We stayed at the beach of Playa Hermosa for the first few days. It was scorching hot getting up to 97 degrees almost every day so the beach was a must. The first day was spent exploring the town we were in and going to check out the sunset.
The two days that followed were filled with getting to know each other and spending time at the beach. We met a local selling shaved ice who Isaac and I immediately loved, he would beep his horn on his cart and bark at dogs as they went by. We found an iguana and he wanted to eat it so Lauren, Isaac, the local, and I tried to catch them. That day was primarily spent on the beach looking to catch iguanas, but later in the day, we played soccer, creating some good memories before we left for Monteverde.
When I first arrived at my host family I was very nervous about meeting them, I had no idea what to expect and I had no previous experience with something like this. The sisters gave me a warm welcome as soon as I got there and we watched a movie together. At this moment I knew that I would be ok. It was tough at first because it wasn’t easy to settle in since you’re with a whole new family but they make all the difference by making you feel welcomed into their home. Living with a host family comes with its challenges because when you don’t know a lot of Spanish, things can get miscommunicated, or not knowing exactly how much time you should be spending with them but these problems are easily resolved. My host mother is very caring and loving and she really helped me feel at home through this process. She makes sure I’m fed, that my clothes are clean, and that I’m feeling comfortable in the house. My experience living with a host family has been great and I’m very grateful for each of them.
- Off-Campus Program
- Proctor en Monteverde