It’s 24 hours before I leave my hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico to study abroad on the west coast of Costa Rica in a small beach town called Puntarenas. I’ve packed, and repacked, and unpacked and putting off repacking yet again. For some reason it still does not seem real that I will be living in a foreign country for the fall quarter of my Senior year at Seattle University. I have been looking forward to studying abroad my entire time at college and I finally decided on a major/minor (English/Spanish), and FINALLY decided that Costa Rica would be the perfect place to study (and learn to surf) yet somehow it all seems too awesome and surreal to actually be happening.
Growing up in New Mexico you’d think it would be easy for me to speak Spanish fluently by now; my dad grew up in Mexico City and my mom grew up on the El Paso/Juarez border. Pretty much the majority of my family can speak Spanish but I’m still stuck in those awkward stages of being too shy to speak it and constantly worrying that I’ll make mistakes like telling people I’m embarazada (pregnant) instead of avergonzada (embarrassed).
The program I ended up choosing is called USAC (University Studies Abroad Consortium), which will allow me to take intensive Spanish courses along with some Latin American Culture and Literature studies. I’m relatively nerdy and really like school so I am geekily excited to take all my courses in Spanish. Right now the only thing that seems incredibly daunting is the fact that I will be moving to a place where I know no one and will have to learn to navigate a foreign city pretending I know the language and hoping I don’t accidently insult anyone. But those are also all the reasons I chose to study abroad. I like moving places where I don’t know anyone, that’s why I chose to attend SU, it’s exciting and I like to push myself out of my comfort level. Also I’ve always imagined I’d be a pretty good surfer; I hear swimming isn’t that hard, I’ll let you know if I am able to perfect something more impressive than my mangled doggy paddle. For now I have to repack my bags for the millionth time and start pretending I know what I’m doing. Adios.
(The picture is of some Costa Rican money called colones)