Saturday, September 24, 2011

One month down, three to go

I've completed my first month here in Costa Rica and have to say I am loving it!  I finished my first language class yesterday and am ready for the next one.  My language professor Cynthia is super nice and I love having class with her.  I've made friends with a large group of people from my program and some Costa Ricans as well.  It's pretty easy to figure out the bus system and travel on the weekends.  Last weekend we went to Manuel Antonio and it was absolutely beautiful.  You can see pictures in my last post of the beach we went to; and one of the hostels we stayed at.  Hostels cost around ten dollars per night so we can travel cheap.  The forests and the beach were so scenic that they made me feel like I was in the movie Avatar.  I also met my Tico friend through the program that matches you up with a local Tico.  Her name is Pamela and she is very nice and smart too.  She speaks english really well and we meet once a week to talk and help build our verbal communication skills.  Check back for more posts and more pictures later this week.  Pura Vida!

Manuel Antonio

Sunday, September 4, 2011

First two weeks in Costa Rica blog

Hey everyone!

I am happy to tell you that I have successfully completed my first two weeks of class. Classes in my specific program are only taught in spanish, so they are going to be tough. They are meant to be language intensive, so I'm going to have to suck it up. My professors are all very nice, and they understand that we are foreign exchange students, which requires patience on their part. My language class is in the morning, and I have class in the afternoon two days a week. This set-up is great because I have time in the afternoons to do different activities!
     There are several activities my new friends and I do throughout the week. On Wednesdays we play soccer with a few of the locals at an indoor soccer facility. Also, I joined a gym that offers a great rate to foreign exchange students. I'll walk through the city some afternoons to try and snap a few pictures of things I haven't seen yet. I also plan on trying some new local restaurants with my new friend Aaron once or twice a week after class. I will talk about some of the food here in my next post, as I have only dipped my toe in the sea of delicious flavors that are Costa Rica :)
     We have taken a few day trips already. We went to the Poas Volcano and Cafe Brit. First, we had a great time at Cafe Brit, a gourmet coffee producer. We learned about the planting and harvesting of the coffee beans, and the road it takes to becoming gourmet coffee. At the end of the tour, we were able to try samples of eight different gourmet coffees. We then headed to the Poas Volcano. Seeing the volcano and smelling the sulfur is something I'll never forget. You can see the crater in some of the pictures I have posted. The water is some of the most acidic in the world. There is another inactive crater which looks like a lake and is in my profile picture. We also took a day trip into San Jose, the capital city, but I will save that story for next time to keep things interesting.


First two weeks in Costa Rica

                                      My new friend Aaron and our program advisor Carlitos
                                                                      Poas Volcano
                                                            The owner of Cafe Britt
                                                               tour of Cafe Britt

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hello everyone!

      My name is Paul and I'm a student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  This is my blog about my study abroad experience in Heredia, Costa Rica.  I welcome you to follow my blog and stay up to date with my Costa Rican adventure!

      Leading up to my departure I was EXTREMELY nervous.  I was told not to be by many people but I could not help it.  At the same time I was excited to take part in this amazing opportunity.  The nervousness went away as soon as I met other students from around the country and found out that they were as nervous as me.  At that point, our feelings changed to total excitement.

      We arrived at the airport on Friday, August 19th and were greeted with big smiles, and then swept away by our host families.  It was not hard to start a conversation with them.  We talked about our families, our jobs, and our homes.  Often, asking questions would lead to more and more conversation.  My host father Carlos is a rice vendor (rice is served at almost every meal), and my host mother Laura is a homemaker.  They have three children who are all around 30 years old.  I am the new "baby" of the family, so they call me Pablito, instead of Pablo ;).  Stay tuned for more posts, and some pictures of my family and the city!