Studying abroad comes with countless challenges and lessons. Each day brings new interactions, mistakes, laughter and growth. Throughout our last weeks in Costa Rica, we have come to love the local restaurants, the unimaginably beautiful scenery, the unpredictable weather, the welcoming people and our fun adventures. Read more reflections from Proctor en Monteverde Spring 2022 below!
During my time here in Costa Rica, I have learned a little more about my biggest personal challenge: introversion. On my first day with my host family, I knew I had to go out of my comfort zone and push myself to communicate with them or I was going to spend all term holed up in my room. It was difficult, but by encouraging myself and acknowledging the “of course it's going to be a little awkward in the beginning!” mindset, I learned how to be outgoing in my own way. Instead of peppering my host family with questions or remarks about the weather, I decided to take a step back and start by just spending time around them. I did my homework at the counter, read books on the couch, and drank tea at the kitchen table. This helped me become more comfortable and at home around them. I learned a lot about the rules of the house this way, and the relationships between Adriana, Fran, and their twin girls Marian and Mariel. It was really stressful putting myself out there at first, and I was super nervous, but I’m so happy that I did. I’m ending the term being great friends with my host family, and am dreading leaving!
My Spanish has gotten a lot better since arriving in Costa Rica. I have been taking Spanish classes for a long time, but nothing is more beneficial than being immersed in the language. I am able to use Spanish all throughout my daily interaction with locals. At first, I was only able to have minor and basic conversations when necessary. Now, I can have conversations with my host family in Spanish. I feel able to communicate in Spanish and I am comfortable doing so. Costa Rica has been very helpful to my Spanish.
My biggest challenge here in Costa Rica is probably trying to form relationships despite the ever-present language barrier. It can be frustrating to not be able to communicate with your host parents, when they do so much for you but you can’t quite express your gratitude with words always. I talk a lot about what really excites me about my day when I come home, and because of my tone I can tell they really understand. My host mom speaks the least English, but I look forward to having a cup of coffee with her every morning before school at the kitchen table. It's a tranquil quality time I get during the hustle of every morning, and I know I’ll miss it.
Now that I have lived with my host family for the last two months I have really started to be familiar with my family. I have gotten used to talking in Spanish and have developed a solid routine. These last couple of months have been really fun. I have enjoyed the group more and more. As the program comes to an end and I look at where I started, I can see how much I have learned. It has truly been an amazing experience to come on this program. I look forward to the last couple weeks we have left.