A Non-traditional Student, A Traditional Experience

Thinking back on my time in Costa Rica and all the experiences, I am truly amazed. From horseback riding in the hills of Nosarita to surfing in beautiful Playa Samara, this trip was packed with great fun and excitement. But the most memorable experiences came from the 7people. The people I was honored to travel with, and the people in Costa Rica I was able to spend time with, were what made this trip so amazing.

Last fall when I first heard about the trip, I can honestly say I had very little interest in going. Since I’m a non-traditional student I figured that this trip would not be for me. I had traveled abroad in college before when I was younger, so I thought that this trip was for younger students. I found that I was wrong! When a fellow classmate of mine told me she was going, I shared with her my feelings on not going and why. She told me she was going and she was actually older than I was. Eventually I decided to go and I am glad that I did. I quickly realized that characteristics like age, race, and gender didn’t matter on this trip. Living in a country that is so stratified, it is difficult to imagine people from different backgrounds coming together and enjoying ourselves like we did in this trip.

The other great part of this trip was the time I was able to spend with the people in Costa Rica. I knew no Spanish, so speaking to my homestay family was very difficult but I could see that they appreciated my effort to communicate. Living in someone’s home, eating the food they prepared, and being taken care of was challenging as well. Being a mother myself, I know how difficult it can be to take care of a home and family, so I wanted to help my homestay mother 14whenever I could. She of course didn’t want me to since I was her guest, but she was grateful and I could feel it. Living with a family I couldn’t even verbally communicate with made me feel very vulnerable and was very frustrating at times. But learning to communicate with non-verbal skills in order to express my needs shows me how much you can really say without words. I felt by the end of my stay there with my host family, I really had a good idea of who they were.

This trip was packed with amazing adventures that I probably will never be able to experience again. I am so grateful for that fellow student of mine for talking me into going. It was a trip that has filled me with a lifetime of memories.

Blog Post by Leah Nagy.


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