Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2017 summer routines via photos. Sophomore English major Emily Dux just returned to the US from a Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica:
¡Hola amigos! I kicked off my summer by participating in a three week study abroad program in Costa Rica. I never pictured myself studying abroad before I came to college, but Iowa State really shoves that whole “Choose Your Adventure” thing at you until you can’t help but say “yes!” to some pretty adventurous things. I’d love to walk you through a few parts of that adventure!
I studied abroad through a program called “CPI Costa Rica” that works closely with Iowa State. CPI has three campuses located in three different towns in Costa Rica, so I spent one week at each campus. I chose to live with a host family in all three locations, and I was pretty lucky to have some great families. My first “Mama Tica” (Costa Ricans call themselves “Ticos”) made me feel very safe and comfortable in her home and calmed my nerves about exploring this new country.
The second photo is with my third family, a super fun and friendly group who shared their birthday cake with me and helped me work through a terrible case of “traveler’s stomach” – if you’re thinking about studying abroad, you may want to do some research on that first to be prepared!
I was lucky enough to get to spend two of my three weeks with my great friend and fellow Cyclone, Sarah, who was also studying abroad through CPI. We had a great time doing campus activities and a few excursions together! This photo was taken on top of a tower in downtown Heredia, Costa Rica. There aren’t many white blond girls in Costa Rica, so we had lots of Ticans ask us if we were sisters.
One of my favorite parts was our weekend excursion to Arenal Volcano. We hiked up to the top of the most recent lava flow and decided to pull out the ISU flag to represent! Also pictured here is our Cyclone friend Amanda who spent three weeks in Costa Rica as well, but she was always one week ahead of me. That’s a great example of how independent this study abroad program is – you get to choose the duration, your locations, and when you want to do everything!
I tried to fill every day of my time in Monteverde with a new adventure because there was so much it had to offer. Monteverde Cloud Forest was packed full of opportunities to zipline, bungee jump, climb inside of enormous trees, and discover awesome animals that I had never even heard of.
I could share pictures and tell stories of my time in Costa Rica forever, but I probably can’t do that in blog form. I’ll have to end by saying that living in a different country can be challenging – you’ll get eaten alive by mosquitos, you might have monkeys attack you with fruit outside of your host house, my fellow ladies may get plenty of whistles from creepy dudes on the streets, and you just might enjoy a case of “traveler’s stomach” too… but I don’t regret it at all. Not only was it the best way to improve my Spanish and complete my minor, but it was also the adventure of a lifetime.
P.S. Here’s a shameless plug to check out the video compilation of my experience at https://youtu.be/TCn2QH8oIF0