Alpha Xi women love going on adventures and seeing new places. We jump at any opportunity to try new things, meet new people, and educate ourselves about the world around us.
Abbey Airo (mc '21) had the opportunity to spend her sophomore spring semester in Heredia, Costa Rica. Read about her experience and look at some pictures below!
Summarize your experience.
"I stayed with an amazing host family (mom, dad, 19 y/o sister, and six dogs) and we lived on a road that almost all my host mom's family lived on. I am majoring in Spanish and Psychology, so I went to Costa Rica to study Spanish. My host family did not speak any English at all, and I loved this because it ended up being a super immersive experience."
What made you decide to Study Abroad?
I have always wanted to study abroad, so the decision was simply when to do it. I love traveling and have never been afraid of going to a different country. Learning more about different cultures and the language is fascinating to me.
What was your biggest challenge?
One of the main challenges was that we did not have transportation. I either walked, Ubered, or took the bus. This got complicated when my study group and I wanted to go to places further away because bus rides ended up being several hours. There were places that I wanted to visit that I never had the chance to because it was too difficult to get there.
What are the top three takeaways from your time there?
It is difficult to only pick three. Being in a different country for an extended period makes you learn a lot about yourself, your culture, and the new country's culture. One takeaway is the laid-back, relaxed "tranquilo" lifestyle in Costa Rica. Drinking a cup of coffee together everyday is common there; my host parents had theirs between 3 and 5pm. Coffee time included no technology, only talking. I always tried to make it home for this genuine time spent together. Another thing I took away from my experience was the positivity and lovingness of my host parents. I loved them a lot and they made a huge impact on my life. I have never met more down to earth people and they hold very special places in my heart. My third biggest takeaway is just how much I love nature. I have always been a nature girl, but I had so many pure moments in beautiful places on this trip that I will never forget.
What was your favorite part about being there?
My host family. They are my family now and I know that I will always have a family in Costa Rica.
Advice for people considering?
Simply, DO IT! I don't get homesick easily, but three months was a long time and it did happen a couple times. If you are a person that does get homesick often, I would recommend trying a shorter trip. Studying abroad will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. It will open your eyes to so many things that are embedded into society and in yourself. It is so much different than going on vacation to a place because you actually get to live in that culture and experience their normal life. I can not recommend it enough or speak enough to its value.
"Me at the National Stadium in San José, Costa Rica. We watched the USA play Costa Rica for the World Cup playoffs. Costa Rica won but the US still qualified! Win, win for me!"
"This is La Leona waterfall. I visited here with my host parents and my dad from America. It was an intense hike and swim to reach the waterfall but soooo worth it!"
"This is me at Volcán Irazú. We had to go very early in the morning so it was clear enough to see the volcano."
"This is a picture of my friends and I out for an incredible sunset swim in Uvita, Costa Rica. There were stingrays swimming all around us!"
"This is some of my friends and I white water rafting! It was so insane, I almost fell out a couple times. OOPS!"