Studying abroad with a friend makes everything better — especially when my checked bag was 5 pounds overweight and I was able to shove some of my belongings into hers.
During the school year, my friend, Alyssa, and I were looking for an adventure this summer and wanted to advance our Spanish speaking skills. After researching some different places and coming across AIFS, we applied to study abroad during the 4-week summer session in San José, Costa Rica. She and I didn’t know a lot about the country and were equally nervous about studying abroad. However, AIFS had a lot of insightful resources, which I used to research what to expect from my study abroad experience. It became one of the best decisions I ever made.
Landing in the San José International Airport, it was reassuring to already have a friend in this new and different country. When we arrived at our Mama Tica’s house, after a crazy taxi ride, she introduced us to her pets. She had the friendliest cat, Marle, who became my second friend in Costa Rica.
The next morning, Alyssa and I woke up to a delicious cup of Costa Rican coffee and breakfast. We worked together to try and get to know our Mama Tica with our broken Spanish. I felt lucky to have my friend there to help finish my sentences or help me think the word in Spanish I forgot.
Alyssa and I met through our sorority at our home university; however, we are very different. I’m chronically late to everything, while Alyssa is always early. I was early to many things throughout these 4 weeks but I’m thankful to my friend for putting up with one of my bad habits. After breakfast that first day, Alyssa and I left on time to meet everyone else in our AIFS study abroad group.
Everyone in our group became fast friends. It’s important to note that even though I went to Costa Rica with one of my best friends, we didn’t do every single thing together. If you’re worried about having independence studying abroad with a friend you’re close to, know that you will still make many new friends and have time to do your own thing. One of my worries before traveling abroad was feeling lonely if I had gone alone, having Alyssa there meant I also always had her to rely on. After getting to Costa Rica, I gained a lot more support from the AIFS staff and the other people in my study abroad group that I didn’t expect.
This reassured me that I would be completely okay if I wanted to study abroad on my own in the future.
Overall, I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my time and experience many firsts in Costa Rica with anyone else. I will look back and cherish the memories I made even more because I got to share it with my best friend.