Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Como se dice Orientation?

Como se dice Orientation? This was the defining phrase of our first 2 weeks in Costa Rica.

Thankfully, our required Spanish class began right away, making me a little less nervous about attending the university later on, especially since it meant we would have at least one class with just each other. The teacher was also the same one that we would have while taking this class at the Universidad Nacional. More than just a Spanish class, this is a Costa Rica class, teaching us about the country, culture, and costarriquenismos. It is a survival course.

We spent the first week of our orientation in Liberia, which is in the north, and northern Costa Rica is extremely hot, but more importantly, humid. So even though the showers only had cold water, they were extremely inviting after sweating through one’s clothes all day. Instead of cold showers feeling as if I am voluntarily giving myself a heart attack, it was refreshing and a welcome temperature here, making one feel human and revived again.

When I found out that I had applied to study in Costa Rica during the winter/rainy season, I thought the amount of traveling and activities would be greatly reduced, but for orientation I think it was just as eventful as studying in the spring.

We went to two beaches, but would greatly recommend Playa Ocotal over the nearby touristy Playa de Coco. Playa Ocotal was on the smaller side, but the privacy definitely wins out along with the warm, clear water. At Playa de Coco, the water was murky and since we couldn’t see, one has to shuffle their feet so the stingrays can sense where there is movement.

Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, that’s where I crossed off almost half of my Costa Rica checklist within the first week with: hiking, zip lining (called canopy here), tubing, and mud baths. Tubing is a must, and was everyone in the group’s favorite activity. For this only pictures can capture it, and just know it comes highly recommended (Don’t forget to read the captions).

As a last note, I would recommend bringing your regular smartphone because if you turn it to airplane mode you won’t get charged, and can still use it at the many places that have Wi-Fi. Every single person in our group has done this, so they can still call other iPhones with FaceTime, and with the app Viber you can call any phone, but it needs to be downloaded before getting to Costa Rica. Then we bought the cheapest phones we could find here, mine was $20, and the provider is Kolbi ICE, or bring an old phone from home, and just get a different SIM card to use while here.

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