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

Things I’ve Done & Places I’ve Seen

I have had a lot of time to reflect on my experience abroad during the hours of bus rides across the country when I was too exhausted to sleep so I just listened to music and starred out the window. My experience definitely had its ups and downs, and like everyone else’s study abroad experience, it is completely different! Study abroad is very popular and common at my school, almost like an unwritten requirement. At first I was a little upset that I would not be studying in Spain in Europe and connected with everyone else I knew studying in the area. But, I was also very excited to truly get away from my school, be in a country that most people don’t study in, and meet completely new people. This was a challenge for me but also a great benefit. Studying abroad in a country with a different language is also a huge barrier as well. Although I am not fluent, I am very confident in my Spanish language skills now, and I am not afraid to speak Spanish to anyone, which is great! I also already miss it. Going back and forth between two language is a wonderful and unique experience and I certainly do not want to lose all of the skills I worked so hard to gain the past five months.

So that being said, I also did a bunch of cool things and traveled all of the country. I went to 6 out of the 7 regions, 18 cities, 4 national parks, and 9 beaches. Not only did I accomplish just about everything on my bucket list, but so much more as well!

Regions:

  • Guanacaste
  • Heredia
  • San Jose
  • Alajuela
  • Limon
  • Puntarenas

Cities:

  • Liberia
  • Heredia
  • San Jose
  • Alajuela
  • Puerto Viejo
  • Tortuguero
  • Talamanca, Bribri
  • Monteverde/Santa Elena
  • Quepos
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Bahia Drake
  • Sarapiqui
  • La Fortuna
  • Ostional
  • Montezuma
  • Jaco
  • Sarchi
  • Bocas del Toro, Panama

National Parks:

  • Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio
  • Parque Nacional Santa Rosa
  • Parque Nacional Volcan Poas
  • Parque Nacional Tortuguero
  • Reserva Biologica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde
  • Reserva Biologica Isla del Cano
  • Refugio Nacional de Fauna Silvestre Ostional
  • Estacion Biologica La Selva

Beaches:

  • Playa Jaco
  • Playa Manuel Antonio
  • Playa Gemeles
  • Playa Espadilla Sur
  • Playa Cocles
  • Playa Naranjo
  • Playa Rio Claro
  • Playa Ostional
  • Playa Estrella, Panama

Bucket List:

  • visit Panama
  • visit the Panama Canal
  • go zip lining in Monteverde
  • play with the turtles in Tortuguero (I didn’t play with turtles but got to see some in Ostional)
  • visit a volcano
  • go repelling down a waterfall
  • see the monkeys at Manuel Antonio
  • go to Montezuma
  • visit the Caribbean coast
  • go to a hot spring
  • go white water rafting
  • go horseback riding
  • pet/feed a wild animal of some sort (I didn’t feed any, or pet them really, but I touched a starfish, a bat and a turtle egg)
  • try cacique (national alcohol)
  • try imperial (national beer)
  • visit the local Jewish synagogue
  • volunteer at a local school

Other Activities:

  • snorkel (three times!)
  • go whale/dolphin watching
  • bungee jump
  • eat termites
  • visit an indigenous community
  • went to a wedding
  • got barked at by a raccoon
  • painted a carreta
  • chocolate tour
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