¡Hola mi gente! Studying abroad is exciting and confusing, especially for concerned friends and loved ones back home, so there are a lot of questions. Here are some examples of the most commonly asked questions I have gotten from my friends and family at home. This list is in no particular order of frequency or importance.
1. How long are you away for?
The length of this program is 11 weeks, so one full term at Drexel, plus a week to get adjusted. I flew into Costa Rica January 4th and I will be leaving and flying back to the States on March 19th.
2. Where is Costa Rica and where in Costa Rica is San Jose?
The first part of this question really makes me question the American educational system, but for those who do not know, Costa Rica is a Central American country, which is not a small, annexed territory in the Caribbean Sea of a similar name. The country is sandwiched between Panama to the south and Nicaragua to the north. San Jose is the capital city of this beautiful country and is nestled in the Great Central Valley.
3. Who are you living with?
While staying in Costa Rica, all of us in the program are living with host families. The host family I live with is made up of a mom, Vivian; her three daughters, Melina, Tamara, and Johanna; and the mother’s sister, Magaly. Melina is three years younger than I am at 20 years old, Tamara is 14, and Johanna just turned 11 in February. Living with the family has been such a wonderful experience, as they are so kind and caring to me, a stranger from a different country living in their home. I do have to say it was a bit of an adjustment living with them, but that’s something I’m going to circle back to in a separate post. Stay tuned ;).
4. Why that specific program?
The program that I am studying in is the Health Care in Latin America, which is hosted by the International Center for Developmental Studies in San Jose, Costa Rica. So, at Drexel, I am a biology major with a double minor in Global Studies and Spanish. Naturally, when I found out that there was a program that was basically tailored to my specific plan of study, I knew I HAD to go.
5. So, like what are you actually studying?
Like the name entails, I study…. Healthcare in Latin America! But en serio, I’m taking classes on Vulnerable Populations in Latin America, Tropical Diseases, Health Care in Latin America, and Spanish for Health Care Professionals. There are two other classes that I am not enrolled in such as The Economics of Health Care and Health Care innovation. All of the professors are medical doctors that work at Hospital Clínica Bíblica. I am also incredibly lucky to be shadowing doctors at the hospital we take classes at as well. Shadowing the Doctors has been a really unique and challenging experience due to the language difference, but definitely very rewarding as well.
These are only my most common questions, I could really go on for days about everything people have asked me about studying abroad here in Costa Rica. Check back in soon for my culture shock experience.