We caught up with AIFS alum, Jordan Wright, who spent Summer 2019 with AIFS Study Abroad in Costa Rica. She was so inspired by her study abroad experience in San José, and learned a lot about herself and her passion for Spanish language during the process. Read on to learn more.
How has your study abroad experience impacted your educational goals and career?
My time in San José has impacted my educational goals and career in that it fanned the flame for my desire to learn the Spanish language and come to better understand and appreciate the cultures who speak it. I am majoring in Spanish while also on the Occupational Therapy track. Getting to learn medical Spanish terms and getting to practically apply them in patient-practitioner interactions was invaluable to me.
Upon my return to the States, I had the opportunity to utilize my newfound grasp on the Spanish language in an interaction with a Spanish-only client I volunteered with. It was such a wonderful experience and just reemphasized for me that I was where I belonged.
How has your study abroad experience impacted other areas of your life?
My study abroad experience has impacted my life in so many ways. “Pura vida” is the slogan (so-to-speak) of Costa Rica and has been adopted into my day-to-day. What “pura vida” means is to take life as it comes, roll with the punches, don’t let anything get you down because it’s all just a day, but in total “a pure life.” That has been such a blessing for me to bring into my life back in the States, as people here tend to always be on the grind and zooming through life. It was so nice to adopt (and bring back with me) the mentality of just taking everything as it is and being grateful for every moment.
Have you been back to your study abroad location since your time abroad?
I have not been back to my study abroad location yet, but it is on my list!
Are you still in contact with other students or anyone you met during your time abroad?
I am still in contact with so many of my friends I made during my time abroad. In fact, the folks I keep in contact with the most from my time are my Mama Tica and my AIFS friends! I am so grateful to the program for bringing these people into my life whom I hope will stay there forever!
Are there any activities or traditions from your time abroad that you have continued back in the US?
As I mentioned before, I have definitely brought the “pura vida” mentality back with me. I still speak in Spanish a lot, as it is my major and I have a lot of friends who speak it as well. I also definitely still favor the Spanish Mass (Catholic church service). The Costa Rican food (when I can find it or make it) is something I seek when I can.
What are your top destinations for future travel?
Any advice for students who are considering studying abroad?
Do it. If you feel the pull in your heart, do not hesitate to follow that. The paperwork, loans, and stress will all be worth it.
Any advice for recently returned study abroad students?
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends from your time abroad about what you’re all experiencing as you transition back to US life. It’s a difficult adjustment, but there’s no shame in talking about every experience, memory, and sentiment. People from home want to hear about it, and people from your time abroad want to relive it!
Anything else you want to add?
I am so incredibly grateful to the AIFS staff (Karla, Catalina, Katie Greiner) and all who were integral to my time abroad and ensuring I had the best time. They’re so amazing!