Haley studied abroad with AIFS in Costa Rica this summer and shared some of her first impressions. Read on:
Today was full of so much information that I am almost positive my brain reached maximum capacity. I arrived in San Jose two nights ago, and even that was an adventure all it’s own.
My host family was warm and welcoming and Mama Tica even studied in Waikiki 30 years ago, right down the street from where I live. I slept like a rock and woke up yesterday for a local area tour.
Mama Tica prepared a delicious fruit bowl for breakfast, along with some toast. She paired it with orange juice since I’m not a coffee person. After breakfast, she walked me to the University; I’m pretty sure I walked up a mountain to get there. After getting me all turned around and backwards, she left me in front of the school. It felt like the first day of kindergarten all over again. I quickly met up with the group and headed to the AIFS office where we were given a quick run down of how things were going to happen. I think I missed a bit of information day dreaming of zip lining around Lake Arenal. After the information brief, we walked around the town. Our guide gave us bits and pieces of information about bus stops and good restaurants as we walked (and sweated profusely). We then hopped on a van to lead us to our next destination: lunch.
We ate lunch at Cafe Patria, which means homeland. Everything within the cafe was centered around Costa Rica, but the Caribbean side. Our meal started with a special type of water, filled with flavors of sugar cane, lemon, and ginger. The main dish was chicken and salad, accompanied by beans and rice, of course. Dessert followed and it can only be described as delicious. It was white chocolate in taste with some sort of nutty/fruity filling.
After lunch we went to a farmers market. Chaos. Utter (somehow seemingly organized) chaos. We maneuvered our way through crowds of people, stopping to pose with a man holding a giant fish. Free samples of fruit are given upon request. I taste tested some of the best pineapple I have ever had. And I live in Hawaii, so that’s saying a lot! We eventually worked our way through the crowd and began walking towards the mall, still licking the pineapple juice from our finger tips.
At the mall we exchanged money and got some ice cream. Nothing too special. We crammed on to a busy city bus and headed back to dinners that were awaiting us back at our host homes. Dinner was a delicious salad full of avocado. Mama Tica also made us a quesadilla that filled my tummy and allowed me to drift off into a deep sleep.
Today I woke up, took a shower in water that seemed to come straight from the Arctic Ocean, ate breakfast, and headed to school for orientation day. We took a quick tour around the campus. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much, but since Veritas specializes in architectural degrees, I was blown away by the fun and contemporary design. After the tour, we sat in the auditorium as the orientation leaders filled us in. A couple of hours later, we were given a welcome pizza lunch, complete with a performance displaying traditional Costa Rican dance.