The SFS Center for Sustainable Development Studies in Costa Rica has offered me a variety of life-changing experiences. My first impressions of the campus in Atenas were similar to that of a tropical paradise, and this idea still holds true. Living and learning in the SFS setting has taught me so much about what it means to be sustainable. Although the schoolwork gets a bit hectic, I find comfort in working with my peers and I remember to be thankful for the opportunity to study in such a beautiful place, where good grades are earned by learning about one of the most diverse places in the world through hands-on experiences and adventures.

One of my favorite explorations so far was visiting the Poás Volcano National Park, which offered a breathtaking view of a vast crater surrounded by beautiful tropical forests. While visiting a globally acclaimed sustainable farm called El Progreso, I gained an immense amount of appreciation for the family that lived there who served us a delicious homemade meal coupled with fresh coconut milk straight from the nut, and whose lifestyle is unrivaled by any other farming practices I’ve seen before.

Yesterday on our day off, we took a tour bus to Jaco Beach where I attempted surfing and witnessed recently hatched sea turtles making their way to the ocean for the first time!  very day experiences with my new friends are incomparable to any experiences I would have in my home town. With these new friends I have seen a diverse range of wildlife and have tried many delicious Costa Rican foods. I have made relationships that will last a lifetime, not only because we met in a foreign land, but also because they are great people! As I lay in a hammock on our front porch and watch an iguana climb a tree just a few feet from me, I am reminded to take nothing for granted and truly live in the moment. Pura Vida!