It’s been a few days since I’ve arrived in Heredia and I absolutely love it! It’s definitely a little intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not so bad! The past couple of days have been chocked full of IFSA programs. It’s been a great way to get to know the other students and even some ticos! On Monday we registered for classes and got phones! It’s so nice to have access to a phone again, even if it is a flashback to 2004. It’s really nice because I can text or call my friends from IFSA for really cheap. Its made making travel plans really easy. Tuesday was an extremely long day. We had a bunch of powerpoint presentations about living safely in Costa Rica. All of it was really important information but we were all exhausted and had a lot of issues staying awake. At the end of the day, we helped make corn tortillas! That was fun! Wednesday we went on a tour of Heredia and UNA. It was a little intimidating at first, but really useful. We split up in groups and we each had a guide who’s a student at UNA. My tour guide was named Luis and he was extremely helpful! We bought us a bunch of food to try, all which was amazing! Costa Rica has so many different types of fruit that we don’t have in the US, all of them are amazing. If you like exotic fruits and delicious coffee, Costa Rica is the place to go! Today we went on a tour of San Jose and practiced taking the bus and train. I’m really glad we did this because we have to take the bus when we want to travel so it was really helpful that my first time figuring out the system was with a group of 15 equally confused gringos. San Jose is a really cool city with a lot to see, but it is dangerous, as is any big city. I definitely kept an eye on my purse for pick-pocketing and everything went smoothly!
I’ve only been in Costa Rica for 12 days and I’m in love with this country! It might be the first stage of culture shock talking but it’s so interesting and there’s never a dull moment. Our classes still haven’t started yet and I’m a little nervous for that but once a routine sets in I’m sure everything will be fine. I had another moment of insecurity about being here for so long but my tico family always makes me feel better because they are willing to include me in everything which makes me feel less of an exchange student and more of a real tica. I also cannot stress enough how great the IFSA staff is. Our program leader is the sweetest woman on the face of the Earth, and so are the other people who work for IFSA. They try to have more of a friendship relationship rather than professional with us which is fantastic! I feel like I can go up to them with any problem and they’d be more than happy to help me. It’s nice knowing that there is so much support here and I’m never alone. Everyone in my group is amazing as well. (shout out to you all if you’re reading this!) I can’t wait to travel around with them once things get going!
The girls in Monteverde!
Our tour guide Luis is in the middle! He’s awesome!
Tomorrow completes our two week orientation. It’ll definitely be weird not having a consistent plan all day long. I’m excited but nervous as well. It’ll definitely be different being on our own but I feel pretty prepared. I know how to call a cab so I don’t have to walk alone at night and I have a pretty good idea where most things are. My Spanish has already improved immensely and I’m learning so many new words! Like I said before, those moments of panic and homesickness still occur but they pass quickly and I’m ready for our next adventure!