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

The New School Semester

I am in the middle of reports, projects, labs, and midterms are just around the corner. School is busy as usual. I am studying away and doing homework while at the same time trying to make time for friends and traveling. It is a tough balance.

Class registration was a very difficult process this semester. I had had very little difficulty with the process last semester; however, this semester was a nightmare. Registering for classes here requires that I be in constant contact with my advisors at my home university, the IFSA-Butler Staff here in Costa Rica, as well as the UNA exchange student advisor. In short, it requires constant emailing. There are other difficulties too. Official schedules change, the distributed packet of classes sometimes does not match up with the list of classes on line, classes are full, some classes are deemed too difficult for me, classes don’t transfer or fulfill requirements, and the list goes on. After nearly three weeks I finally was able to settle on a school schedule.

I have five classes this semester: Ecology, Spanish Sintax (a linguistics course), a literature class focusing on short stories and poetry, a ceramics class, and History of International Relations. It’s kind of an odd and broad mix of subjects, I’ll admit, but I am rarely bored. I also have a “taller” of Latin dance. These are no-credit, no-grade classes that meet once a week for roughly two hours.

I think it should be mentioned that there are many student groups and activities on campus too. For example, there are sports teams, competitive teams of dance, various volunteer projects, sports competitions between different university departments, cultural festivals, music and other student performances by the main “soda,” or cafeteria, every Thursday, film expositions, choir groups, music groups, theater, and so on and so forth. I am hoping to be able to attend more performances from these student groups this semester.

For me there has been a significant and wonderful lack of confusion this semester. Now that I am familiar with the education system, it is a lot easier to focus on my studies and not be preoccupied with understanding the system. My Spanish language abilities continue to improve as well. I still occasionally suffer from bouts of shyness and embarrassment concerning my level of Spanish. But as a whole, it is much easier to be an active part of group projects and class activities. It is also easier to converse and get to know the other students in my classes as well. There are several students in my Ecology class that were in some of my other science classes last semester. Having this little bit of familiarity amongst other students is wonderful; it makes me feel at home.

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