One big pro of travelling with Kulturstudier is to not have to deal with the stress of finding housing for a whole semester. They rent a bunch of houses where we just simply move in when arriving. We live six to nine people together in each house. Living in Costa Rica is a big change in itself, but moving into a house with eight other students is really a big adjustment. Especially if you, like me, go from living on your own to this constant chaos. It has been a challenge to adjust to people not storing the fridge as you are used to, the que outside the bathroom in the morning and the endless dishes. However, it is also a blast. Getting to know eight other individuals on this level is not something you get to do anywhere. I’ve been really lucky to end up in a house with eight incredibly sweet and hilarious persons!
The houses that Kulturstudier provides are all of different quality and standards, however they all have their own charm. Our first house was a 35 minute walk from school and quite a bit from the city centre. It was a smaller but very nice house high up in the mountains. The houses are distributed all over town, some closer and some further from the school/city. This, together with the variation of standard, are the reasons for the houseswitch. To make the housing more fair we switch houses at the middle of the semester. (I do believe that they will change that concept a bit for next year however). There are mixed feelings about this switch, on the one hand we have really settled in in our neighbourhood and house. There is a sense of security here now. We know how to bang the stove in the right way when it stops working, we wave to our neighbours on our way to school every morning and we know when the bus leaves our stop. On the other hand, the move will give us the opportunity to get to know another side of town, and also live closer to the city centre. You’ve got to “flip the tortilla” as the locals say here, there are two sides to everything, make sure you look on the bright one! Our new house is also nice, it’s a lot bigger, but with one less bathroom and in a less cosy neighbourhood.
As for San Isidro as a town, it has really grown on me and now I could almost say that I love it. There are amazing second hand stores, cafés and restaurants if you know where to look. People are always happy and nice. I feel safe here almost all the time (but still acting with caution). The Uber chauffeurs are nice and love to teach us some more spanish or give out tips for things to do or visit.
My tips, if you find yourself here, is to try a meal at rock n roll (might sound weird, and the atmosphere is something quite different, but the food is really good and you get A LOT), have your “fika” at Kafe de la Casa or any of the other cosy spots. Shop your second hand clothes at Americano or Senai, your pizza from Johnnys and sushi from Kingyo Sushi & Fusion. Also, make sure to visit la Feria as much as you can!