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

Learning How to be a Tica

I don’t even know where to begin! I can’t believe it’s only been about a week since I arrived in Costa Rica! I’ve already learned so much and seen and done SO many great things. Our first week of orientation in Monteverde (a mountain town up north) ended yesterday and we moved in with our host families in Heredia. I am already starting to feel like a Tica (Costa Rican)!

The Monteverde orientation definitely gave us a good taste of Costa Rican life. All of the students in my group stayed with host families in their little mountain homes. My family was wonderful! They helped me with my Spanish, taught me about their culture, and fed me some AMAZING food. My host mom got up around 5 am every morning to make fresh tortillas, and she made me lots of plantains, my FAVE. I also got to spend a lot of time with the other students in the IFSA-Butler program, which was great! Even though we’ve only known each other for a week, the seven of us feel like a family. We attended intensive Spanish classes and cultural demonstrations at the Monteverde Institute, and we also went on a few really cool excursions! In the institute, we learned about many of the delicious fruits found in Costa Rica and learned a traditional Costa Rican dance. We also got to visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, take a canopy tour up in the clouds over the mountains, and take a Costa Rican coffee tour. Fun fact: coffee has SO many health benefits, but when you add milk/creamer it basically cancels them out, oops. Adios, Starbucks. Monteverde was a little colder and a little wetter than I expected, but it was still so gorgeous. I saw a HUGE rainbow over the mountains during my walk to the institute almost every day! I’m going to miss Monteverde a lot, but I’m excited to be here in Heredia!

So I finally got to meet my host mom for the semester yesterday after we got back from Monteverde, and she is THE BEST. Her kids are all grown up and married, so it’s just me and Mamá Tica in this cute little house. She immediately made me feel right at home with her sweet, caring attitude, and told me all she cares about is that I am happy and I feel at home. Awkward moment: In response, I meant to say, “I don’t think that is going to be a problem at all!” but she thought I said the opposite. BUT I cleared it up right away and then we shared a nice long hug, so it’s all good! I am so grateful to have such a wonderful mama to take care of me while I’m here! Now all I have to worry about are classes. They start tomorrow, they’re all in Spanish, and I don’t even know where some of the buildings are, but it will be fine! I’ve heard that the professors are really accommodating, and I’ve got some great Tico amigos to show me around. I’ll keep ya posted.

¡Pura Vida!

Some pics from the week:


3 Responses to “Learning How to be a Tica”

  1. Mark McManus Says:

    Awesome! Can I go? That sounds like a blast Kendal! Did you see any howler monkeys while zip lining? Heather & I got hooked on plantains while in Nicaragua, we love them too. Looking forward to your next post!

  2. NANNY Says:


  3. Steph Says:

    Wow! 5AM every day! And I thought I had it rough taking an 8AM class. Sounds like a super fun trip! And I bet you are enjoying the weather there much more than what it’s like in the states right now haha.

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