|A DAY IN THE LIFE...||STUDY ABROAD||EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING||HONORS FACULTY||NEWS||PHOTOS|
Hi :) I’m Shelby Kitch and I am a Junior from Indiana State University. I am currently studying abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica. I am a double major: Criminal Justice and Spanish. I chose to come to Costa Rica because I LOVE warm weather and because I wanted to immerse myself in the Spanish language.
It is hard to believe that 2 quick weeks have already passed! But first, let’s start from the beginning : ) I left on January 5 to come to San Jose. I arrived here late that night. My heart and stomach were in knots with anticipation and the thought of the unknown. However, now that I am settled in and know my “mama tica” and roommate much better, I am really starting to genuinely enjoy myself. Costa Rican host moms are referred to as mama ticas, fyi. Our first weekend here we went to the Caribbean ocean, the second weekend we went to a Volcano and the La Paz waterfalls. This weekend we’re off to the Pacific Ocean. I have made some great friends here from America and have even met some local Costa Ricans, aka ticos. One of my Tico guy friends took my friends and I to a national “futbol” or soccer game this past Friday. It was a great night. The language barrier was a bit daunting at first, but is slowly becoming easier. Now I just need to start speaking the language more. I honestly love this experience so far and believe it has taught me so much already. I thought I was independent at Indiana State University, but here is an all new level of independence. Such as, not knowing how to get from point A to point B, where the local store is to buy shampoo, conditioner, etc. You feel very helpless at points, but this is part of what makes this so great. I have grown so much in two weeks alone and am thankful for that. I hope everyone's semester is going great. I can’t say I miss the 20 degree weather everyone back home is having : ) Waking up to sunshine every morning has its perks!
Costa Rican National Soccer Game vs. Belize with some new friends plus Devon : )
Vamos a la playa, Puerto Viejo : )
La Paz Waterfalls
Just a little update about my Costa Rican life thus far : )
In the past 2 months I have visited two beyond beautiful beaches. At Tamarindo Beach, on the pacific side, I tried surfing for the first time in my life and rode horses on the beach! Both bucket list check marks.
I went white water rafting with a great group of friends and had the time of my life. I have been before in West Virginia, but this was a whole new experience in itself. It is one of the top 5 prettiest rivers in the world!
I visited La Fortuna waterfall and swam under a waterfall, again another bucket list check mark! I went zip lining through the mountains and jumped off a Tarzan swing that is 120 feet high. This was an exceptionally beautiful weekend; we got to see a volcano as well!
When I am not traveling, I spend my time mainly here at my home with my host family. I love my tica mama so much. She cooks, cleans, and does our laundry for us. She is seriously a blessing from God. At first, this whole experience was something that took me a while to adjust to but now I am honestly loving my life and enjoying every moment, good and bad. Yesterday, my friends and I hiked up a mountain in San Jose. It took us 4 hours to get to the top and I am definitely feeling it today, but it was such an amazing view!
My time here has given me a whole new appreciation for my life back at home but has also taught me so much thus far and I still have another month and a half to go. As far as my Spanish (the main reason I came) that is improving, slightly, but I am hoping by the end I will be able to see a huge improvement!
We students from ISU had a nice surprise visit from President Bradley and his wife Cheri! They were here for vacation and took us out to dinner, it was a lovely evening and I enjoyed visiting with them.
Hope everyone's semester at Indiana State University is going well! As much as I love it here, I definitely miss our University and my friends there, but Costa Rica is definitely treating me well : ) Ciao!
Riding horses at Tamarindo and an evening on the beach with my friends!
Boat ride to Monteverde
Where we white water rafted : )
Dinner with the Bradleys!
Just an awesome picture of Tamarindo I had to share!
Well, here I am with a week left of my study abroad adventure. It really does go faster than you think so as the country song goes- don’t blink! Some updates from the last time I posted… I have since traveled to a place called Tortugero. This is a National Park in Costa Rica. Here, I saw a crocodile, Cayman, and plenty of birds and lizards. We took a canoe ride through the National Park River and I also hiked in the forest there. Then I went to Manuel Antonio. This part of Costa Rica contains some of the prettiest beaches. I traveled to Montezuma, an exotic nook in Costa Rica with waterfalls you can jump off of and a rope swing to jump off of into a little lagoon and most recently, Panama, the country. We had a whole week off for Semana Santa “Holy week” and my friends and I traveled to Bocas Del Toro, Panama for the week. I saw dolphins, snorkeled, and got to jump off of swings at a local bar into the ocean. It has been quite the experience. Looking back on these past 12 weeks, with one more left, it is hard to believe I did this. I am honestly proud of myself for pushing myself out of my comfort zone and doing things I never thought I’d do. I lived with a different family in a different culture. I conquered my fear of bugs haha. I learned how important things truly are in life and what really matters, family and friends, and I learned to rely on myself to navigate a foreign country. My Spanish has also improved greatly. No, I am nowhere near fluent but I have still come so far. Studying Abroad really does broaden your horizons and gives you a whole new perspective on life. I am glad I did this and am glad I have grown so much because of it. I am not the same person today as I was in January and to me that is the whole point of these kinds of experiences. Costa Rica is definitely an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
A real-life crocodile! Thankfully I took this picture, safely, inside a boat : )
Tortugero, National Park.
The river at Tortuguero
Manuel Antonio Beaches!
Starfish we saw at Bocas Del Toro, Panama.
Swinging into the water :)
Yes, the water really was this clear : )