ELLEN MILLER – STUDYING IN SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA

“Pura Vida” From Costa Rica!

“Pura Vida” literally translated into English means “pure life”, in other words live life to the fullest and live purely and with enjoyment every single day. This simple statement can be used to describe almost anything and often used as a friendly greeting.

From jumping on my first international flight alone to meeting some of the best roommates to play spoons with on our downtime, my Costa Rican experience has been nothing short of memorable so far.

Arriving in the country was extremely stressful and humid. All I wanted to do was get to my host family’s house, eat, and sleep as soon as possible. But as soon as the door to my Mama-tica’s (Mama-tica=a nickname for saying Costa Rican mom) house was opened I was greeted with a plentiful amount of rice and beans, homemade fruit juice, and a welcoming smile.

This first week has been very, very busy and full of rain as it’s the rainy season in Costa Rica from about November to April. I attend a Spanish class at Veritas from 8am to noon and my education continues throughout the day since every interaction with a Tico, or Costa Rican, is practice. The food here is beyond fresh and is incredibly delicious! As a Dietitian major, food is hugely important in my life just as it is in everyone’s. Rice and beans is of course a main staple here as well as popular and available fruits like mango, bananas, and pineapples. The top Costa Rican exports are bananas, pineapple, and coffee so check your Starbucks coffee label next time. However, the very biggest export for Costa Rica right now is technology computer chips. Tourism is also a very large part of their economy and it’s obvious in the way they treat everyone they encounter.

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Studying abroad, while I have only been here a week, has continued to improve my confidence, has encouraged me to do what is necessary for myself to succeed, and to be open to new experiences as well as always living humbly. I know that this month will go incredibly fast and I need to take advantage of every opportunity given to me. Therefore, I will be volunteering at a childcare in the hopes to learn more, engage with kids, and possibly discuss with staff some nutrition related to the children.

Costa Rica is beautiful and has been great. Studying abroad, like I was informed, does have its ups and downs. And even though I’ve only been here a week I have experienced some of that and it’s only a fact of life that with the negatives there are positives too and these experiences are there to push you to your best self. This is an experience I will always cherish!

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