First Impressions of Costa Rica

Posted: September 8, 2016

SFS Costa Rica students have begun settling into their new home. We asked Laura Broffman about her first impressions of Costa Rica–here’s what she had to say.

Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
I have always been interested in doing an Environmental Science program somewhere in Latin America; both the environment and culture have always interested me. In a Spanish class sophomore year, as I was beginning to look at study abroad programs, I did a presentation on Costa Rica. I had liked the country before, but after doing the report, I was set on coming here. The SFS program is a perfect mix of environmental science, Spanish language, and “real-world” experience.

What are your first impressions of the country?
As the bus that picked us up from the San Jose airport drove through Costa Rica, my eyes were glued to the window. The mountains, coconut trees, and tiny, gated homes along the tiny roads were breathtaking. I could also see many Costa Ricans, or Ticos, as we passed. This country is even more interesting and beautiful than I had imagined.

What are your first impressions of the field station?
After spending just a couple nights at the station, I have already been exposed to most of the daily activities here: quick (and cold) showers, hanging laundry on the line, composting all food waste, and sleeping in a bunk bed covered by a mosquito net. I was nervous to begin a lifestyle completely different than what I’m used to, but it is already becoming a part of my new and exciting routine.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester both academically and culturally?
I have never done directed research before, so I think that will be the hardest academic aspect of this program, but nevertheless it sounds exciting. I also get nervous thinking about spending the rest of the semester in such a new environment, but that feeling is already being replaced by excitement every time I speak a little more Spanish or learn something new.

What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
I can’t choose just one thing to look forward to! The schedule of the program in general excites me, because aside from taking interesting classes, we will get to travel all over Costa Rica as part of our learning experience. I can’t wait to see more of the country and experience the culture.

Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Nervous, excited, happy


Hiking in Braulio Carrillo National Park


Going for a swim


Enjoying some Costa Rican treats

→ Sustainable Development Studies in Costa Rica