Befriending Locals in San José!

We just wrapped up week four out of 12 here in Costa Rica. As I mentioned in my last post, I need to be more money-conscious so I’ve decided to sit out on the weekend excursions for now and spend more time closer to my own neighborhood. Also, since I spend so much time with the other students in the program, I spend a lot of time speaking English throughout the day. This is something I want to change because it is a high priority for me to come back to Drexel with a more advanced level of Spanish as I’m currently intermediate.

About two weeks in, my boyfriend who is a native speaker helped me set up a Bumble account under the “BFF” option. There are many ways to meet locals- some much safer than others- and we decided this would be the best option for me aside from coming across people in person. I would recommend this compared to other options like Tinder or Hinge, because their focus is much more on romantic relationships and can be a bit more dangerous when you’re in an unfamiliar country, especially if there is a language barrier!

This past week I was finally able to meet some of the girls! As a young black woman traveling, I was especially looking forward to connecting with other native black Costa Ricans- but of course, I was excited to have opportunities to meet anyone it seemed I could get along with. On Friday, I met a fellow UCR student named Bianca whose father is from Limón. She was nice enough to introduce me to another friend of hers, Celine, who has been previously traveling in Europe and is now back in Costa Rica for a few months. We did a spontaneous photoshoot, they took me to a lovely restaurant area called Barrio Escalante, and I got to explore some nightlife with them as well. Doing so with locals is very different than with other program students, but both are fun! I got mistaken for a local a few times and many compliments on my Spanish, which was very flattering :). I’ve already noticed my Spanish improving just from a weekend with locals, so I look forward to expanding on this more in my remaining weeks!

Costa Rica Beer Factory, Barrio Escalante
Casa Felix, Calle Cali

Even still, it’s always nice to reconnect with the other students when we have time. The students in the medical group have only one month left and my group has just short of two, so I try to spend a lot of time with them when possible since our class schedules are so different. We got brunch together Sunday morning as an early Galentine’s celebration- I had a delicious and classic Gallo Pinto (typical Costa Rican breakfast of rice, beans, eggs, and avocado). I definitely plan on incorporating it into my rotation of breakfast when I come back!

Franco, Barrio Escalante

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.