As of today, I have been in Costa Rica for almost four weeks – there hasn’t been one morning when I have slept past 7am, but with each day comes a new experience that I know I could never have gotten anywhere else, at any other time. We spent the past three days in Palo Verde National Park, learning about natural resource management and roadside ecology in one of Costa Rica’s most important dry forest areas. The park is also home to a sprawling wetland area where we were able to watch a gorgeous sunset our first night there.

That sunset over the wetland was a welcome sight for me, one that made me feel again the strong urge to preserve the beauty of the earth that first pushed me to study sustainable development. It was in stark contrast to a scene we had encountered the previous week – a beach in the Tárcoles River basin whose natural beauty was concealed by piles of trash that had been washed onto shore from countless cities whose waste management systems are not properly run. That experience was disheartening, but only served as another reminder of how important sustainable development truly is.

As I experience more of the Costa Rican landscape and culture, I continue to be more and more grateful for this opportunity I have to be here. The SFS Center for Sustainable Development, where I have been living, already feels like home, and my peers already feel like old friends. I am excited to see what the next two months here bring and to learn more about how I can contribute to the sustainable development movement here and across the globe.

→ Sustainable Development Studies Semester Program in Costa Rica