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

Five days in Monteverde

As part of orientation we spent five days in Monteverde, a beautiful place on a mountain surrounded by dense forest.  Here we stayed with host families, started our advanced Spanish class, took a test, had adventures, and learned from many more of the infamous charlas.  This post I decided I will split into separate into different paragraphs for each subject.

The first and most rewarding part of the experience for me was staying with my host family.  The family consisted of four people, Alexis (the dad), Cecilia (the mom), Alanis (11-year-old daughter), and Lizbeth (7-year-old daughter).  During  part of the week they had a another guest Carlos (a Texan named Charles) who was also hear learning Spanish, although he was at the beginning of the process of learning the language.  Alanis and Lizbeth are both learning English in an immersion school nearby.  Alanis was really excited to have someone to practice English with, so most of our conversations worked by her speaking in English and me replying in Spanish.  This compromise offered a way for both of us to learn from each other. My favorite night with the family was when Alanis, Lizbeth, Carlos, and I played Monopoly for a solid four hours.  It was a learning experience for everyone.  For Alanis and Lizbeth it was an exercise in mathematics and for Carlos and I it was an exercise in Spanish through translating and describing the words written on the cards.  One word that was particularly difficult to explain was “life insurance”.  Another fun night was when Lizbeth was watching a bachata competition show and decided I needed to learn so I could dance with her.  It was adorable to have a seven-year-old’s explanation of how the moves worked.

Our time in Monteverde was not all fun and games, however.  We also attended Spanish classes and took the dreaded STAMP test.  This test had four parts (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and took three hours to complete.  We also had Spanish class for four hours Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  It was good to get the test out of the way and begin our classes for Spanish before classes started at Universidad Nacional (UNA).

We also had our share of adventures while in Monteverde.  On Wednesday we went on a guided hike through a cloud forest reserve.  In the reserve we saw hundreds of hummingbirds and a few mischievous white-nosed coatis.  Thursday we went with Daniela, Josue, Esteban, and Maileth (amigos ticos) to a giant strangler fig tree.  There I held my first lightning bug!  Friday we ziplined or, as the Ticos call it, canopy.  It was super fun!  On a few of the lines you disappear into a cloud that was hanging over the forest.  After we went on a coffee and chocolate tour.

Last but not least the charlas, one of which caused me to check an item off my study abroad bulletin.  The first  charla run by the institute was on fruit types.  It was really fun to try all the fruit all though I wished we were given a sheet with the names of the fruit because I cannot remember any!  Other charla was traditional Costa Rican dance, for this we even got to dress up in traditional outfits!  If you were wondering the skirts a very heavy, but really fun to twirl around in.

Well, that was my five days in Monteverde!  Pictures will be posted below!

-Jaime

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