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Costa Rica: A Bountiful Nation - BriAnna Myers, Horticulture

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Posted: August 28, 2012

To sum up Costa Rica in one sentence I would have to say that the people are welcoming, the landscapes are breathtaking, and the culture, food, and activities are perfect! Make the trip!

My trip to Costa Rica for the month of May was a great experience and a chance of a lifetime.   I lived with a host family in the city of Turrialba.   Living with a host family gave me the chance to completely immerse myself into the culture of Costa Rica.   In my house it was only my host mom and I.   On the weekends my host brother came home from the university in San Jose where he is studying to be a male nurse.   My mother at first was very shy.  She didn't talk too much, but she always sat in the living room versus hiding out in her room which always gave me the impression that she was willing to talk.   After the first couple of days we became really close and began having multiple conversations and laughs.   I liked only having my mom live with me because it was more relaxed.   In other houses the families wanted to do everything and I wouldn't like that.   My mom and I cooked many nights together and sometimes I even cooked and served dinner to her.   Also, I always washed my own dishes after I was done eating.  However, my mom didn't work.  So every day she did my laundry and cleaned my room which was really nice.

 

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Sometimes it was difficult to communicate with her because she didn't know a single word in English.   When my brother came home, I would learn a lot because he knew a good bit of English.  If I didn't know a word, I could ask him in English and he could tell me in Spanish.   Also, my mom had a granddaughter who would visit sometimes.  She and the neighbor girl, who were both about age eight, loved to come over and play card games with me.   I also met the granddaughter's mom when it was her 30th birthday.  That was the first time I tried cake in Costa Rica.   In addition, I had another brother who would stop by on occasion just to talk to me.   I am now facebook friends with the majority of my family from Costa Rica.   Having the opportunity to live with a host family was my favorite part of the trip and helped my Spanish the most.

 

Other activities I did while I was in Costa Rica included spending time on the famous Pacuare River, visiting a butterfly farm, hiking in the rainforests, and viewing many waterfalls.   I also went to the beach on the Caribbean side for a weekend.  On a free Saturday a group of us hiked through the jungle and found hidden waterfalls where we spent the day swimming.   Also, we took a hike next to the beach where we saw monkeys, snakes, sloths, and armadillos.   The group of monkeys came right down next to us when they were eating.MyersCostaRica2.png

 

 

While we were in Costa Rica, we also took many agriculture tours.   The tours included a pineapple fields and the production, coffee farm, a dairy farm, a tour of Earth University, which had a banana farm, organic farm, and a forest farm.   All of it was very educational and interesting at the same time.

 

During the weeks we were here we also took Spanish classes at a small school located near where we lived.   Our classes were Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 12:30 p.m.  Each week we would receive a different professor.   I liked the classes because we got a lot of practice speaking Spanish.   We would also take trips to places we would never know about such as hidden ice cream places.

 

During this trip I have acquired many new skills that would help me in the future.  First, it definitely helped my Spanish.  After Costa Rica, I did an internship in Southern Florida.  The majority of the employees there were Hispanic.  I was able to communicate with them and be able to take and give directions completely in Spanish.  Also, we were able to do multiple group activities throughout each week with the other students on the trip.  I believe this strengthened my ability to work as a team and to be able to work well with others.  In addition, I think this trip helped me to be adventurous and be more adaptable to new situations.  It is very different to live with someone whom you’ve never met and in a neighborhood I’m not used to.  If I were to describe my experience to an employer I would point out of those new skills to them.  Because my major is horticulture with a focus on tropicals my experience in Costa Rica was very helpful.MyersCostaRica4.png

  When I got to my internship in Florida, many of the plants they sold there I have seen in Costa Rica.  So, I previously had background knowledge.  Overall, my trip was more than what I had expected and I loved every minute of it…even the classes!  I would recommend it to anyone, and would definitely love to return one day to visit my friends and family that I have met there.

 

I wanted to add a special THANK YOU to Mr. and Mrs. Davis for the scholarship money.  The money was very helpful in financing my trip and relieved a lot of worry.  It was greatly appreciated and went to a great cause.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!