Shatika's take on her experience in Costa Rica with Sol Education Abroad:
My experience in Costa Rica was Pura Vida!
In other words, nothing less than amazing. In the beginning, it was a difficult transition from my culture in the U.S. to the Costa Rican culture simply because it was a life that I wasn't used to. It wasn't only about the food, but the climate, the people, and the country itself. It took a lot of adjusting, but once I caught on to the Tico lifestyle, I came to accept and embrace many of their customs. Ticos are passive and non-confrontational. Often times there will be someone standing behind you for nearly ten minutes waiting to get by, but Ticos won't tell you, they just wait for you to notice. I suppose this stems from the fact that Ticos mainly go with the flow; punctuality isn't a virtue.
While abroad, I hiked waterfalls, mountains, and volcanoes on a regular basis. My classmates and I took advantage of the fact that we were surrounded by beaches and visited a new beach every weekend. I tasted so many different foods... some that I thought that I would never even try, I actually ended up loving! For example, many of the salads that I ate were topped with mayonnaise enhanced with lime; although it may sound a little strange, it was muy rico! I also experienced the nightlife in Costa Rica and to my surprise, Ticos have a huge love for Reggae music. I don't think that there was one person that I met whom didn't enjoy it.
My Spanish improved drastically when compared to what little I knew when I first arrived to Costa Rica, and how well I was speaking and comprehending Spanish upon my departure. Everything just flowed better, and it was easier to embed the language in my mind since it was constantly in use. When I returned to the U.S. (occasionally even now) my first impulse is to speak Spanish. I learned so much and grew as a person, because of the different culture that I was welcomed into. Although my time abroad was short, I learned substantially and acquired knowledge that I will take with me for the rest of my life. If I had the opportunity to go back I most definitely would. :)
La Fortuna Waterfalls Plantain empanada with cheese and beans A parade? Merceds ChurchYucca Root- a local culinary delight