Posted: May 10, 2017

At the beginning of the spring semester, we asked student Lettie Woods about her first impressions of Costa Rica. Now, as the semester comes to a close, she shared her thoughts with us again.

What did you like most about the SFS experience?
I loved the many field trips, spending a week learning and exploring in Ometepe and Granada in Nicaragua, the fresh fruit from the orange and mango trees, the community yoga classes, and learning about Costa Rica’s history and environmental issues.

You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
There is a special kind of family/community feel to Costa Rica that I haven’t felt anywhere else. Whenever I run or walk down our road, I see the same friendly faces and the same families sitting together on their porches and talking. I am going to miss that a lot. Also, I never thought I would learn about and see so much biodiversity and that has really impressed me.

What is life at the field station really like? What are the best and the most challenging parts of living at a remote field station?
We all live among the trees at the Center. Every day I hear the noises of birds and other wildlife. Iguanas and lizards have become the new squirrels for me. I see them just as much as I see squirrels back home.

We live in very close proximity to one another, which can be very fun, yet other times it gets a bit overwhelming to be around so many people 24/7. However, when I am back home I know I will miss living with them and being at the Center.

I don’t really see the Center as being remove because we go to town on the weekends, and sometimes during the week if we have time. Also, the first month here we were gone every week for field trips.

What ended up being your biggest challenge this semester both academically and culturally?
My biggest challenge academically was definitely ecology, since hard science is not my strong suit, but I loved learning about a subject I would not normally learn about. My biggest challenge culturally was feeling confident in my Spanish skills, yet I got more confident over time.

What is the best memory you have from the semester? Give some highlights.
It is impossible for me to choose a best memory, but one of my best memories was hiking up Maderas Volcano to the San Ramón waterfall. Since it was so steep it was a struggle getting up there, but when I finally did, it was beyond worth it. The waterfall was so tall and magnificent.

Give three adjectives that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Bittersweet, exhausted, grateful and privileged


Poás Volcano National Park (featuring Jared Mandelbaum)


This is taken from outside the center where we hang up our clothes. I will miss having the lines to hang up my clothes and the gorgeous sunsets.


The days when the cat Fidel was with us…(featuring Cristina Medrano)

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