A Week Later: Looking Back On My Time in Costa Rica
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A Week Later: Looking Back On My Time in Costa Rica

Lessons I've learned from my travels.

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A Week Later: Looking Back On My Time in Costa Rica
Melody Lipford

Before I could even realize it my trip flew by and I've returned back to the States. It has been a little over a week since I've been in Costa Rica and I've had time to reflect and process the wonderful experience I've had. There are so many things I miss about that country, but there are also so many lessons I've taken back with me to the U.S. I am so grateful for all that I have learned and for all of the friendships I made during my trip. I was blessed to have wonderful students who were nothing but a joy and pleasure to teach.

One component of my trip that I am so thankful for is the chance I had to practice my Spanish. Being in a country where for the most part, no English is spoken forced me to use the Spanish I had and to learn more. At that point, it didn't matter if I was afraid or not if I wanted to communicate with others I needed to learn the language. Of course, I'm not bilingual now, but I can say I've gained a higher level of confidence when it comes to speaking a foreign language due to my experience in a foreign country. As a Spanish minor, I was craving an immersive environment to practice the language and I definitely got it by living twenty-seven days in a Spanish-speaking country.

Another advantage of my time in Costa Rica was the invaluable teaching experience I gained through my volunteer ESL teacher position at the Copey Learning Center. Before I had observed in classrooms, but I have never been given the opportunity to be the teacher in the room. This really gave me the chance to try out the role of being a teacher. Of course, I didn't go in knowing everything and not everything was perfect. However, I learned so much through this experience and enjoyed it. I got to make a possible future profession for me into my reality for a few weeks.Copey Learning Center. Before I had observed in classrooms, but I have never been given the opportunity to be the teacher in the room. This really gave me the chance to try out the role of being a teacher. Of course, I didn't go in knowing everything and not everything was perfect. However, I learned so much through this experience and enjoyed it. I got to make a possible future profession for me into my reality for a few weeks.

I also got the chance to meet new people and to make new friendships while abroad. For instance, my host family was some of the first people I met when I came to Costa Rica. They welcomed me with open arms and graciously gave me more than I ever expected. Not to mention, my host mother's food was literally out of this world! I tried new things that I never thought I would and was surprised at how much I liked trying new foods. In addition, I met parents of my students who were so grateful for my service and were so proud of their kids and their knowledge in English. Members of the community also opened up themselves to conversations with me and invited me into their homes. I met great people while I was there and am still in contact with some of them today. I hope that whatever relationships I make abroad can be lasting no matter what country I go. It's such a cool feeling to know that I have two places in this world that feel like home. Not only do I have a community here in the U.S., but also in Copey, Costa Rica.

I was also fortunate to get to travel back to the States with two of the students from the Copey Learning Center. They are currently studying at my college due to scholarships they earned. While here, they will be able to practice and learn more English. It was an intense application process and I am so proud of them and their accomplishments. When I came back, there was even a Costa Rican Welcome Party with alumni from my college to welcome the two students to the States. They were gracious enough to invite me and I was able to see the students again as well as meet my sponsor and other people who helped to make my time abroad successful.Copey Learning Center. They are currently studying at my college due to scholarships they earned. While here, they will be able to practice and learn more English. It was an intense application process and I am so proud of them and their accomplishments. When I came back, there was even a Costa Rican Welcome Party with alumni from my college to welcome the two students to the States. They were gracious enough to invite me and I was able to see the students again as well as meet my sponsor and other people who helped to make my time abroad successful.


Overall, my time in Costa Rica is an experience that I will never forget. For the rest of my life, I can look back on all of the memories I created in the special town of Copey with the people I now call my friends. I am so blessed and beyond grateful for everyone and everything that made my trip the special experience that it was. Thank you, everyone, who made this trip possible and please know that your efforts do not go unremembered, but are very appreciated. And to all my friends in Costa Rica... ¡Pura Vida! I hope in the future to visit again and see how everyone is doing.

Con mucho gusto,

Melody

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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