35-year-old father travels abroad for a field-based study abroad program in Costa Rica. Sounds like the start to a corny reality show only found on an obscure cable channel. Yet, I sit here in wonder at how hard I would have laughed if someone told me this is where my path would end up a few years ago. As I reflect on all I’ve learned so far and look through pictures of the stunning beauty of Costa Rica, I can’t help but think this adds up to the best experiences of my life.
As a non-traditional student, I sometimes feel challenged with how to interact and connect with students that entered college right out of high school. I was an automotive mechanic until I was 27, then joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a Fire Fighter, and finally worked for General Electric in Account Management while slowly working towards a degree. Regardless of my experiences, I try to convey my desire to learn from other students’ experiences. It is this sharing of experiences unique to each person that encourages personal growth for both myself and others. I am fortunate to be with such an incredible group of students that continue to inspire me every day.
Studying in Costa Rica has shown me an understanding of the relationships within nature, but more importantly how everything in my life has come together for this moment to happen. Life is filled with possibilities; the beauty is when opportunities present themselves when you least expect.