By Anthony Fraden
The trip here has so far been exhilarating, yet very taxing. Adjusting to life in Costa Rica has been a challenge in every possible way. The language barrier has been the most notable challenge, since it affects every interaction you have with other people from the area. Whether you want to answer a question or ask where the bathrooms are you need to be able to communicate at least on some level with those around you. I’m lucky enough to have studied Spanish through middle school and high school, so I can have decent conversations and ask for any pertinent information I may need. This has definitely made adjusting to life here easier for me than it was for some of the others in our group, but it’s still a big mental shift from having only ever spoken or listened to Spanish a few hours a week to many hours each day. I feel like I’ve been doing well, though. And my host family has been nothing but gracious, kind, and accepting towards me. In this first week I’ve been able to learn about the economic history of Costa Rica, hold a toucan on my arm, and I got to visit a Volcano and Waterfall on my birthday. I’m enjoying getting to know a new culture different from my own, and I’m grateful that I’m able to have this kind of learning experience. I feel by fully submersing ourselves here that we are better able to understand and connect what we learn about the country and its history to how we live our everyday lives here. It seems like it’s going to be a great 5 more weeks here, with more learning and adventures to be had!