Why Go to Costa Rica?

I recently returned from IU South Bend’s Spring in Costa Rica program, and I’m so glad I went! Here is why YOU should study abroad in Costa Rica…or anywhere else!

Why go to Costa Rica? The real question should be, why NOT go to Costa Rica? Many of you may have much hesitation when thinking about signing up for a study abroad trip. The most popular reason being financial issues: how does one pay $2500 for a trip overseas? Many individuals will think, man, that is just too much money to save. However, I am here to say that I thought the same exact thing when I signed up for this trip. I was hesitant and I told myself there would be a slim chance that I would be able to pay for the trip on time. But before I knew it, I was on the plane going to Costa Rica, and I thought to myself wow…that wasn’t so hard after all! The truth is that I paid for the whole trip through loans and scholarships. Loans and scholarships are always great options that will help individuals who cannot save up all of the money so that they can still have a chance to experience and learn abroad. Sure, it does not hurt to save up some money here and there, but money issues should not hinder your dreams and your desire to study abroad! You cannot put a price on this experience!

1) The $2500 is all inclusive. Therefore, it includes all transportation including air fare, all of your meals (besides the snack here and there), and all of the activities that you will be doing, some of which include zip-lining, kayaking, river boat tour, visiting Arenal volcano, the La Fortuna waterfall, the hot springs, the two hotel stays before going to your homestay, literally everything! If you were to bring extra cash along, this would be for souvenirs and small snacks only! You cannot beat that!

2) You will learn so much about yourself and you will meet so many new friends along the way. When first arriving to Costa Rica, I was pretty quiet and reserved for a day or two, however when I began talking to other IUSB students that were on the trip as well, I came out of my shell and have developed so many amazing friendships! Our group was amazing and everyone got along so well, and having friends definitely helps you adjust to being in a different country. You are definitely not alone!

3) You have the opportunity to be able to learn so much about a different culture and the wonderful people who live in the beautiful country of Costa Rica! Believe me when I say that Costa Ricans are extremely hospitable and friendly, which made me breath a sigh of relief. I feel people for the most part keep to themselves in our country. When walking down the streets of Nicoya do not be surprised to find that Costa Ricans will smile and greet you as much as possible. When visiting this country, you will find that a great majority of Costa Ricans will sit outside on their porches for hours on end enjoying the weather and the company of others. Upon meeting people for the first time, I have experienced that they will not hesitate to give you a big hug and a smile. Although you may not understand a word of Spanish, you will definitely hear their sincerity in their voices and it will be written all over their face.

4) This will be an experience you will never forget. Being back in the states for exactly a week, I will say that I definitely miss Costa Rica so much already! Thinking back on it now, it all seems like a dream and I would give away everything that I owned if that meant that I could go back to experience it longer! Sometimes, we forget that there is a world out there beyond our backyards. There is a world out there with so many amazing people and so many amazing things just waiting for you to discover them! After coming back from Costa Rica, I am already planning on going on a study abroad trip to Florence, Italy for Street Photography in 2015 for my next adventure! Being in Costa Rica has validated what I want to do with my life. I want to travel the world and experience all sorts of people, all sorts of cultures and languages. I want to take photographs of my discoveries and learn as much as I can. Traveling to a foreign country is a learning experience that you just cannot get in a classroom. Trust me when I say that the financial expenses are COMPLETELY worth it and I am so glad that the financial expenses did not take away my desire to discover the amazing and beautiful country of Costa Rica! You will NOT regret your experiences! These memories will stay with you forever!

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