First Impressions Of Costa Rica

Lizzie Jespersen is a student at The University of Texas at Austin and an official API Student Blogger. Lizzie is studying abroad with API this summer in San Joaquín de Flores, Costa Rica.

Today was our first full day in San Jose after arriving yesterday afternoon. Right now I’m busy taking everything in, and there is a lot! It’s all been amazing and exciting up to this point. My brain has been completely overwhelmed and scattered by all of the new things, so my post is going to follow in similar fashion with a list of all the major impressions I’ve had so far.

First Impressions of Costa Rica

  • Oh my gosh, I am so white… leave it to Costa Rica to make me realize the painful extent of my whiteness. I’m talking beyond skin color, though, I’m talking obviously bewildered gringa who says “Qué…?!” far too often.
  • Can I go exploring yet? Seriously. Costa Rica is breathtaking – green in every direction with mountains looming picturesquely on the horizon, accented by the pastel-colored buildings that pepper the landscape.
  • One of the coolest things ever: walking down the street in San Jose, and looking past the chaos that is a Frogger-like game of pedestrians and cars, seeing the mountains in the distance.
  • There are so many people out on the street! I am used to downtown Austin, where the only people out and about during the day are a few meanderers and people stepping out for lunch breaks. Today, the streets of San Jose were brimming with pedestrians. My resident director, Francy, explained that the work shifts here are different from those in the U.S., and that in Costa Rica a 9-5 job is much less typical. She also said that it is not uncommon for the ticos (the local word for Costa Ricans) to work on Saturday and Sunday, and to have Monday and Tuesday off as a weekend.
  • Comida! The food here is different, but not totally new to me. I think that the real cuisine culture shock has been on the students from schools up north. I realized this when a student studying with API from Wisconsin asked what an avocado was, and said that she had never had guacamole before! Now that is a preconception-shattering realization.
  • The weather is great. Coming from Texas, the sun feels much more mellow, and the heat (while definitely present… my shoulders got a bit burnt!) is milder. We are here during the rainy season, which means that we can count on rain almost every late afternoon, but even that isn’t wholly unwelcomed.
  • I am realizing that I was a little (ahem: a lot) attached to my cell phone. I think that this forced separation will be good for us, though. Maybe when we are reunited this fall, our relationship will be healthier.
  • Last night (our first night here) we went to dinner at a restaurant in the mountains that overlooked Central Costa Rica. It was at night, and we could see the lights from all of the provinces from where we ate. As if that weren’t an incredible enough sight, there were fireworks in two different places. One of our resident directors, Esteban, told us that each of the provinces typically celebrates the birthday of their patron saint with by setting off fireworks. ¡Qué bonita!

And to those of you considering study abroad, here’s a dirty little secret: Ninety percent of the time, I don’t know what’s going on. Honestly, NOBODY actually knows what’s going on. Everybody has admitted to being scared out of their minds, and even though some of us are better at Spanish than others, everybody has blank stares on their faces every once in a while. Everybody is scared! Don’t ever think that you’ll be the only one, or that you shouldn’t study abroad because of it. It wouldn’t be such a memorable experience if it didn’t take a lot of courage in the first place!

 

 

Enter your name and email to get new posts by email!

“Best of the Blogs” - Abroad101.com
“Top Study Abroad Blogs” - GoOverseas.com
“Blog of the Week” - GoAbroad.com
“Top 10 Study Abroad Blogs You Should Be Reading” - The Study Abroad Blog
"The Best Meaningful Travel Articles of 2016"-GoAbroad.com
  • We use cookies to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you have provided. Please check out our privacy policy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Speak Your Mind

*

Pinterest

[fts_pinterest pinterest_name=apiabroad type=boards_list]

Twitter

Summer doesn't have to end! 🌞 Study abroad in Costa Rica this coming fall or spring and enjoy plenty of sunshine, lounge on beautiful beaches, and explore their vast rain forests. Our Costa Rica programs are now open for application, don't wait!
https://t.co/jr186q7zg5 https://t.co/mgJ2VefkzE
APIabroad photo
API is committed to providing inspiring programs that have the potential to transform the lives of our students. In this video, we hear stories from 13 students who studied abroad in Costa Rica.
Check out the full video! https://t.co/2pfkXcdun9

#ispyapi #apiabroad https://t.co/VRjT6EmQ2h
APIabroad photo
Happy #TravelTuesday! Today we are featuring UW-La Crosse and Spring 2019 API Student Blogger Savannah Stanley! She studied abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Savannah shares her first impressions.
Read the full blog post! https://t.co/Vtifpywa2n

#ispyapi #apiabroad https://t.co/HfxV33fBio
APIabroad photo
Need to get away, why not plan a semester or internship abroad! API offers programs in San Jose and San Joaquín de Flores, Costa Rica where you can spend a semester at Universidad Veritas or ISJF.
Learn more about our program!
https://t.co/jr186q7zg5

#ispyapi #apiabroad https://t.co/plaK1idF0h
APIabroad photo
API specializes in creating customized and faculty-led programs abroad in collaboration with university faculty and staff.

Visiting professor Julian Zabalbeascoa from the @UMassLowell, shared their experience in building a program with API in Madrid.
https://t.co/CC4CNGb0JH https://t.co/5qgKKFsRt9
APIabroad photo
The API Abroad Blog