Hello again! Our time in Costa Rica this semester is over – four months have gone by so very quickly! I will try to sum up some of the experiences and also give my best tips for anyone thinking of going here
The experience of moving to Costa Rica has been so different from what I thought it would be. Food wise it has been far more rice and beans and a lot less smoothie bowls than expected. My new addictions of popcorn, ice tea and cinnamon rolls from Papa johns is going to be hard to live without in Sweden. The trip here has given me insight into a culture that is often just associated with surfing and forest. I have seen beautiful places and experienced so many cool things that I will carry with me. The absolute best experience however was something that I thought of as a small inconvenience before coming here. Living with eight other people is under no circumstances easy, but these eight people have really become a second family to me. Some of my best memories from this semester are from just hanging out at our house.
Kulturstudier has really made it easy to travel and see the country. They not only encourage it but also organise trips to see different parts of Costa Rica. However, if you, like me, go here as a part of a bachelor’s degree, there might be some frustration sometimes as the academic things are not really as structured or at the same level as they are in Sweden or Norway. It might just be the Costa Rican way, but say goodbye to anything you know about time and planning.
Other tips for going here is to not pack your favourite clothes. Between the orange mud that gets e v e r y w h e r e and the lack of proper hot water to wash your clothes, a lot gets ruined. You might want to pack way lighter than you think as well. Any warm clothes can stay home, not just because they are not needed but also because of the amazing second hand stores here. You can buy anything and everything you need. Besides swimwear, that has been a real truggle to find, and might be your most essential packing item. Speaking of what you want to bring, a lexicon is very needed for all quizzes in “lectura”. A lot of people skipped that one and ended up writing the final exams without one, not ideal…
Other fun tips might be to rent a car while you are here. Our amazing house manager Jesus can help you with anything you might need. Driving here is absolutely different and more scary than in Scandinavia, but it usually goes well and having the freedom of experiencing the country on your own terms is pretty cool. It also makes it easier to get to locations like Monte Verde and so on.
The best things I take with me from this trip, besides a few more Spanish words in my vocabulary, are the people I have gotten to know. I have been so very lucky to get to live with eight amazing people I now see as my Norwegian siblings. Making friends for life was definitely not on my list of expectations for this semester. I almost know more Norwegian than Spanish after these months. Costa Rica is a beautiful place with amazing nature and happy people, but the experience is made by the people you enjoy it with.