Name: Laura Stevenson
School: Gonzaga University
Major: Biology Major, Psychology Minor
Program: Sustainable Development Studies, Costa Rica
Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
Understanding other cultures is a critical part of education. SFS seemed to be one of the few programs that truly immersed students into every aspect of the foreign country. We learn about the culture, the economy, and the environment. I have a chance to get hands on experience while still getting to travel and see new people and places.
What are your first impressions of the country?
I expected Costa Rica to be astoundingly beautiful, but actually what struck me first was the welcoming atmosphere of the country. I was greeted with smiles and sincere “Buenos dias” wherever I went. Of course, the country met and exceeded all of my expectations about how beautiful it would be. Gorgeous green landscapes, dotted with vibrant red flowers, starkly contrasted by the blue skies and voluminous clouds.
What are your first impressions of the field station?
The beautiful view. The field station is on a slight hill, and the dorm sits on top… it’s gorgeous.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester both academically and culturally?
I’m not expecting the academics to be extraordinarily challenging. From the introductions to the courses we’ve had, it seems that the professors are enthusiastic to share knowledge, not drill facts. As long as I keep up and put effort into the classes, I feel that academics shouldn’t be a huge stress. Culturally, my minimal Spanish skills may become a hindrance. I look forward to improving my Spanish, but for now it’s a bit intimidating not knowing the language of the country.
What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
Getting to tour the country while being guided by teachers who know what to look for. We’ll get a chance to see the beautiful details of the country, along with the obvious wonders.
Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now?
An odd mix of relaxed and excited, also full (we just finished a delicious dinner).