Skip To Main Content

Proctor en Monteverde: Independence, Comfort Zones, and Studying Abroad

Scott Allenby

Proctor en Monteverde students will conclude their term abroad this coming week. As Nicola ‘26 and Magnus ‘26 reflect on their time studying abroad and living with host families in Costa Rica, they share insights into the very heart of the Proctor experience: independence, the stretching of comfort zones, and pursuit of passions. Read more in this final blog from Proctor en Monteverde. 

Proctor Academy en Monteverde Costa Rica

Nicola ‘26

For me, deciding to be a part of Proctor Academy Monteverde experience has been about being outside my comfort zone while learning to become more independent. One example of this for me would be the use of Spanish and how much it is used in my daily life here. The program heavily emphasizes using Spanish, which I loved, but put me outside of my comfort zone. If you told a younger freshman me when I first arrived at Proctor that I would have the opportunity to go to Costa Rica in my sophomore year I wouldn't believe you at all. When I first got the news that I had been accepted into the program I was excited but didn't know much about what would actually happen and what it would even be like. The only thing I could be sure about was that I would be doing something completely new and would have to be ready for anything. Our first week in Costa Rica was a blur, the group stayed for three days at a hotel a five-minute walk from the beach. It was the perfect place to get situated with the program and have the baseline for the next 8 weeks laid out in front of us. After our orientation at the beach, we were finally in Monteverde. 

Proctor Academy en Monteverde Costa Rica

One of the biggest pieces of independence about the entire trip was limited access to our phones. The hardest thing about not having phones was the lack of communication. It was hard to know where you were in the town at times without a phone. I would also say that being without my phone has pushed me outside of my comfort zone as well and I have never been without it for this amount of time. The thing that I would say pushed me the farthest was the trip to San Gerardo, a two-day trip into the Children's Eternal Rainforest. These two days were the highlight of the trip without a doubt, but they also put me the farthest out of my comfort zone. I had never experienced a forest like the Children's Eternal Rainforest. Along with the beauty and mystery of the forest, there is the story of how it began. Now I won't spoil the story for you but all I will say is that the trip to San Gerardo was genuinely life-changing and I am so happy I had the opportunity to go. Without this program, I would not have had the opportunity to have experiences like this.

Proctor Academy en Monteverde Costa Rica

Magnus ‘26

We started the term at a beachside hotel for an orientation for the first three days. After we finished the orientation we made the nearly three-hour trip up the mountain to Monteverde. I remember sitting in the car after the first person got dropped off at their homestay and just having this wave of nervousness hit me. I had just realized that I would be meeting the people that I would be living with for the next ten weeks. We got to my stop and I saw my host family waiting outside with huge smiles on their faces and I realized that I would be in good hands for the time to come. Once I got inside there was a delicious lunch of arroz con pollo already prepared and my little brother was ecstatic once we finished eating to go play soccer. 

Proctor Academy en Monteverde Costa Rica

As time passed I learned about the town of Monteverde, like where the best bakery in town is which has become a nearly daily visit. I also learned how beautiful this tiny secluded mountain village is and how close the community is. I have met so many new locals who have treated me with nothing but kindness and have made me feel like a part of the community. For example, I have met many people who are related to my host family and they have been very nice, like when my host sister's husband who is a personal trainer saw me in the gym and came up to me and gave me tips on how to correct my form on exercises. 

Personally, there have been some difficult parts of this term. But in the end, I think that these difficult parts are what has made the trip so special. At the end of a trip like this, the difficult things are what are going to stick with me forever. One thing that has been particularly hard for me has been homesickness. I thought that since I went to boarding school I wouldn't get homesick after so much time, however, it was very hard not to see or talk to my friends and family for such extended periods. This was multiplied by the fact I didn't have my phone all week so my main source of contact wasn't there. This struggle reminds me of when I was on my Wilderness Orientation in which there was a fair amount of complaining, but to this day I still reflect on the hard times with the friend I made on the trip and the experience. I believe that this term abroad will have that same effect on me and truly alter my view on how I see everyday life. 

Proctor Academy en Monteverde Costa Rica

Perhaps the part that exemplifies this the most was my camping trip last weekend. It was a 3-day trip in which we hiked to a station that we slept at. We were accompanied by a man named Mark Wainwright who was one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met. There were many parts of this trip that I was left to be alone with my thoughts. Most notably at the end of one of our hikes we had this exercise where we had to walk back alone for an hour and just observe and think. That activity really displayed my outlook on the rest of this trip. I don't have to love it or hate it or be entertained, I just have to keep going and observe. 

Learn more about Proctor en Monteverde here!

  • Off-Campus Program
  • Proctor en Monteverde