By: Brenna Barber

Posted: October 11, 2021
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First Impressions: Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?

Since my freshman year of college, I knew I wanted to study abroad at some point during undergrad. You’ll never guess, but I was compelled to study abroad with SFS because of the heavy emphasis on experience in the field. I love to learn but sitting through long lectures at an uncomfortable desk is not the best environment for that. After being in classes here for about four weeks, I feel like I am already learning so much more than I would in a typical classroom setting.


What are your first impressions of the country?

Even though right now it is the rainy season, Costa Rica is such a beautiful country. Everything is so green and lush and everywhere you look it is simply teeming with wildlife. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to study here!

A howler monkey. Photo by Brenna Barber.

What are your first impressions of the Center?

It’s so easy to feel at home at the Center. We have a small farm with chickens and a pig, a swimming pool, a basketball court, and a soccer field. Inside the dorms, there are beautiful murals painted by the past students that create a vibrant atmosphere and the staff are all so friendly and welcoming. It also helps that we have the most beautiful guard dog, Hera, who greets us at breakfast every morning.

The Costa Rica Center’s dog, Hera. Photo by Brenna Barber.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester both academically and culturally?

I think my biggest academic challenge will be balancing my free time against our busy schedule. It’s easy to want to relax in the hammocks on the porch or go swimming with my classmates when we have free time, but we also have…homework. Culturally, I think I will be challenged by the amount of Spanish I will encounter. I have some experience speaking Spanish, but everyone wearing masks all the time makes it a little more difficult to understand. If anything, that’ll make this a great opportunity for me to improve my speaking!

What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?

I’m most looking forward to the Directed Research projects!

Give three adjectives that best describe how you are feeling right now.

Excited, grateful, and optimistic.

The author, Fall 2021 Costa Rica student Brenna Barber.

Curious to learn a bit more about the SFS Costa Rica Center? Click here to read about why we’re based there, our environmental research focus, how we connect and support the local community, and even take a tour of the Center.

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