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City Lights Leaving Orlando

Time June 29th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | No Comments by

Just like at the beginning of this journey, before landing at home my feelings were all over the place. Considering how late my program ended I was definitely excited to see my family and friends and start my summer. However, I made a lot of my closest friendships toward the end of my semester and it was sad to leave them not knowing when I would see them again. Since being home I’ve definitely been hyper-sensitive to my surroundings. For example, quarters feel much smaller in my hand, compared to colones, and my backyard looks much bigger. But overall, I’m grateful to have had such an incredible experience abroad. Costa Rica will always have a place in my heart.

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Colors of the Sea in the Mountains

Time June 20th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | No Comments by

This picture was taken on my last full day in Costa Rica, which was spent with a friend in Prusia, a forest in the province of Cartago. I’ve never seen so many gorgeous mushrooms nor ones with colors I would only expect to find in the sea. This was one of my favorite days spent in this country. I’ve met so many incredible people towards the end of my time here and I feel disappointed that I wasn’t closer to them before so I could have enjoyed their company for longer. However, these people are so great that I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity to spend any time at all with them.

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Passionate Professors

Time June 20th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | No Comments by

This photo was taken on the last day of my “Human Genetics, Society, and the Environment” class. My professor taught us many things about eastern medicine and self-care. We spent this day practicing Aikido, a type of martial arts. It was incredibly refreshing to learn alternative ways to heal one’s body through nutrition and meditative activities, as opposed to western practices. It was also very obvious that he is passionate about what he teaches, which shone through in his lectures and always kept me interested. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from him during my time abroad.

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Milking Goats And Making Cheese

Time June 5th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | 1 Comment by

The last IFSA led field trip was to the Providence of San Gerardo de Dota and it was by far my favorite one. First, let’s talk climate. Being from Massachusetts and studying at my home university in Vermont, I never realized how much I’d miss the cold, but I do! One great thing about Costa Rica is that for such a small country there is an incredible variety of climates all within a 5 or 6 hour drive, at most. And in the mountains it gets cold, I loved it! We also had the privilege of listening to the knowledgeable woman in this photo who showed us her permaculture farm and sustainable tourism lodge. It rained the day we were supposed to milk a cow, whose barn was a slippery walk away, so we got to milk a goat instead! The entire weekend was an amazing experience. I only wish we had visited sooner so that I could return.

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Field Trips, The More The Merrier

Time June 5th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | 1 Comment by

This picture of this gorgeous frog was taken on a two-hour hike I took during a field trip with my natural resources class. My advice for anyone choosing classes at the Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica is to sign up for ones with field trips! Honestly, even the most boring ones were really fun as I got to hang out with all of my classmates in a much more casual and engaging setting. It’s also a great way to explore the country, especially on a budget as most travel costs are covered and food and lodging is at reduced prices!

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Go For It While You Can

Time April 28th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | No Comments by

When studying abroad, you never know when your first chance to do something may be your last. An example of this would be when I was able to visit this gorgeous Volcano, called Poas, with some friends. Just a few weeks later it was shut down to the public as it had become active, as many volcanoes are in Costa Rica. It is still inaccessible to the public and which makes me all the more grateful to have had the opportunity to visit it while I could. So my advice to anyone studying abroad is that if you’re up for something, do it and if you’re on the fence about it, do it anyway.

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The Art of Relaxation

Time April 24th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | No Comments by

This is a photo of something I painted while on a field trip with IFSA to the city of Sarchi. While we were there we visited the Lankester Garden where we took an art class. At first, everyone was stressed out about staying within the lines and not making any mistakes. As the teacher told us that we should simply relax and enjoy our time, someone joked, “We’re Americans, we don’t know how to relax.” In a way I think that’s true, but after about fifteen minutes of painting with birds chirping in the background and a gentle breeze surrrounding us, we did all learn to relax. It was the most gorgeous garden I’ve ever been to and a beautiful place to learn such an important lesson.

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Getting Around By Bus

Time March 29th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | No Comments by

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I’ve never been more pleased with public transportation than I have been with the bus system in Costa Rica. Instead of a thirty minute walk to class, for fifty cents I can get there in seven. I’ve seen drivers pull over to pick up people standing with their arm out on the side of the road where there wasn’t a designated stop. I’ve been able to go to San Jose, a national forest, and a beautiful waterfall, all through this system. And when someone holding a baby, an elderly person, or a pregnant woman steps on, the handicap seats become instantly available. Not to mention the gorgeous view of the country you get to see along the ride and the support for the national soccer teams on some of the drivers’ dashboards, as pictured here.

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Universidad Nacional Vibe: Plants

Time March 20th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | No Comments by

Here are some pictures taken from one of the buildings that I have Spanish class in at the Universidad Nacional. There are other buildings on campus with a similar design. It may be the Environmental Studies major in me, but I love it! So much beautiful greenery from the moment you enter provides such a warm and inviting learning environment. People are always sitting at the tables in the middle eating lunch, working on homework/group projects, or just hanging out. I was speaking with a Tico (Costa Rican) about this today and he told me that it is very common to have this type of design in the universities here. United States, take note!

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The View Was Worth the Mud

Time February 27th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | No Comments by

This photo was taken at the Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge. It shows the water running downstream from a beautiful waterfall that was behind me. The hike to reach the area was about 3 hours long and had some slippery, muddy paths just before the finish line. At one point I took a wrong step and my foot went ankle deep in mud. But the laughs and conversation with my friends as well as this gorgeous view made it completely worth while. My only regret is not having brought my bathing suit and a towel because the water was so clear and cool and I would have loved to jump in!

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The Less You Look, The More You Find

Time February 8th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | 2 Comments by

If there is anything I’ve learned from Costa Rica thus far it is that, as the title states, the less you look, the more you find. This gorgeous rainbow was spotted on a walk in Monteverde. On many other occasions since being here I’ve seen nature’s beauty when I least anticipated it. One example is when I saw a troop of white-faced monkeys while on a walk back from a waterfall or a Basilisk (also known as a Jesus Lizard) while looking for the source of water from the pool I was in. Moving forward I suppose I should expect the unexpected.

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Sunrise Leaving Boston

Time January 30th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | No Comments by

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Today has been a mix of every emotion from aching sadness to nervous excitement to an eerie calm. With my bags packed, goodbyes said, and tears fallen, I feel prepared. There’s nothing left to do now but get a good night’s sleep and take a leap of faith into the unknown. My excitement has faded as reality has hit that tomorrow is the day I’ve been waiting for for the past 5 months. Now I’ll be spending that amount of time in another country at another university in another language. And I’ve never felt more ready for it than I do right now.

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