At the end of each semester, we ask a few students to reflect back on their SFS experience. Here’s what David Larson had to say about SFS Costa Rica:

What’s the first story you’re going to tell your friends and family?
Summiting Cerro Chirripo with a group of friends from the program during mid-semester break was my favorite experience this semester. It was my first time climbing the highest peak in a country, and something I will remember for a long time.

Expectations vs reality: What were you surprised by?
I was surprised by the level of involvement students have with the upkeep of the center. Communal living required an adjustment.

How has your perspective of the country changed over the course of the semester?
I’ve grown to fully believe the perception that Costa Ricans are welcoming and friendly. I heard before the program that this was true, but interacting with Ticos throughout the semester has cemented this fact in my mind and when I recommend CR to others I will be sure to mention it.

What unexpected challenge did you face, were you able to overcome it, and what did you learn from that experience?
Being with the same group of people all the time was more challenging than I expected; I had to find ways to take time for myself and remain positive to keep a healthy group dynamic even when I did not feel up to it. It helped me learn what I need to do for myself to remain functional and engaged with those around me.

How have aspects of your identity influenced your experience studying with SFS? Did any of those surprise you? Has your experience with SFS influenced your identity?
I felt very equipped for the work at SFS because of my identity as an environmentalist. Being in Costa Rica has improved my Spanish, which I felt had diminished as a part of my identity and which I am now excited to continue learning as I travel home.

What are you most excited about doing when you get back home, and what will you miss about SFS?
I’m excited for some true alone time. I will miss the people of SFS, it will certainly feel strange to wake up and not be surrounded by my classmates.

What piece of advice would you share with a future SFS student coming to your program?
Be prepared for lots of structure, both academically and institutionally.

What three adjectives best describe how you are feeling right now?
Grateful, Tired, Excited


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