¡Hola! ¡Soy Marissa! I am so excited to write about my journey while I am in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. I’m currently living in San José, which is the capital of Costa Rica, as an international student. I arrived last week, and so far the days that I have been here have been an such an adventure. Costa Rica is a country in the Caribbean with such welcoming people. The houses and buildings are so colorful, I hear the sound of birds chirping each morning, the sky is clear blue, the sun shines bright each day. Even though the sun is strong during the day, there is a breeze so it doesn’t feel too hot. There are tall mountains almost everywhere you look, and beautiful trees and flowers around the country.
Since my first day here I have felt excited and in awe of all of the beautiful things around me. Meeting my host family for the first time I was a little nervous, but mostly excited for this new experience. I was greeted with open arms and smiles as I walked to the gate in front of my home for the next three months. My host mom, or “Mamá Tica” really has made me feel comfortable in her home. “Tica” or “Tico” is how local Costa Ricans refer to themselves. Each day we eat breakfast and dinner together, and talk about our lives. These are some of the best parts of my day because I am able to spend time with my host family.
In Costa Rica, there is delicious and fresh food, which I already cannot get enough of! A very popular dish here is pinto gallo, which is beans and rice. Pinto gallo can be eaten with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So, any meal of the day! The juice is extremely refreshing and the coffee is so rich, “que rico!” in Spanish.
I have been practicing speaking Spanish with my host parents, my abuela, and the rest of my host family. Even though I am not very advanced in speaking Spanish, we only communicate in Spanish. It is crazy to see the changes in my level of confidence already when speaking Spanish surrounded by people that speak this language. Learning how to speak Spanish has been a passion of mine, so it is extremely exciting to be immersed in a culture that speaks this language!
This is just the beginning of my experience, and I know that there is so much more to learn about Costa Rican culture while I am here. This includes trying new food, seeing new places, traveling, meeting more people, spending time with my host family, volunteering in a local organization, and taking classes in a local university, La Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. I hope that reading about my experiences and the experiences of other students will inspire you to explore new cultures and learn more about different parts of the world!