Studying in Costa Rica

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A 3-week trip to Costa Rica seems like the perfect vacation for students after this rough semester.

For 18 students, that trip is happening. The foreign language department has organized a three-week study abroad trip for Spanish majors/minors.

Dr. Ana Bausset has organized the trip, with the help of Assistant Dean and Director of Professional Development Peggy Ellis.

Bausset picked Costa Rica for several reasons.

“I wanted to look for a place, a safe place, where I could take students,” Bausset said. “I had directed two study abroad trips to Mexico at a different university, and I always want to go to Mexico, but it’s not safe right now. I thought maybe Costa Rica would be fun; everyone is going there, so I went to check it out as a scouting trip. I like the country. It’s a peaceful country and the people speak very clear, and I thought this is great for our second year students. You can’t learn more culture than going to a foreign country.”

This would be the second time a study abroad group has gone to Costa Rica, but it will be with more students.

Bausset has been organizing this trip since last semester and has everything planned for this summer.

The trip’s purpose is to get students to continue to use their Spanish language and learn about the cultural aspects of a different country.

For student Kelsey Hulett, this is her first time studying abroad. She feels prepared, but nervous at the same time.

“The closer the trip gets, the more nervous and excited I become,” Hulett said. “With this being my first study abroad trip and the date getting so close, the reality of the situation is really setting in. I have prepared as much as I can, but I think this is a situation where I just have to jump in headfirst and experience the trip.”

Each student will be living with a native family for the whole trip. The students have a schedule made for each week of the trip.

Hulett is hoping that she will not offend her host family during the stay.

“Living with another family, let alone a foreign one, is difficult to fathom,” Hulett said. “I have tried my best to listen to the stories of others and imagine what my host family will be like. I know that they will likely be very kind, helpful and understanding but I cannot help having some jittery nerves.”

While the students will explore the different tourist attractions at Costa Rica, like the Baldi Hot Springs and the Arenal Volcano, they are also taking Spanish classes.

The students arrive on May 11, where they will meet their families. On May 12, the students are given an orientation followed by a level test. The test will indicate how much Spanish they know so the classes can be based on their level.

Despite having some nerves, Hulett is thrilled about the Costa Rica trip.

“I am very excited to be going to a new place,” Hulett said. “Costa Rica is a beautiful country and I cannot wait to experience it first-hand. Although we will be staying with our families and attending school most of the time, we will also be getting out and about a bit to see the coast, jungle and volcanoes among other things.”

As with any trip, there are dangers that the students have been advised to look out for.

The three most important things students are advised to pack are binoculars, sunscreen and insect repellent.

They were also advised to pack light and only take what they need. This also works well if they plan to buy souvenirs and gifts.

The trip is all set and the students, as well as Bausset, are all exited for a wonderful time in Costa Rica.

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