Making the decision to go to a foreign country for a whole month with a group of people I had never met was not easy. However, looking back on my experience in Costa Rica with Global Routes, it was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. My experience has affected me so profoundly, that I've had trouble describing it in a way that others will understand, but what I can say is that Global Routes provided the perfect environment for personal development. Opportunities to reflect upon my strengths and weaknesses seemed to naturally present themselves throughout the duration of the trip, and by the end I felt that I had a deeper understanding of myself than ever before. I feel as though the group I was a part of could have been anywhere in the world and had just as meaningful of an experience. That being said, Costa Rica was absolutely beautiful and there is no other place I would have rather been, and connections we all made with the locals we encountered were truly precious (and for me personally, completely unexpected). Also, the bond among the members of my group was the strongest I've ever witnessed in such a setting. Working daily on the construction of a communal kitchen for San Antonio, the community we stayed in for the majority of the trip, taught us about the value of working hard and as a team, and also gave us the opportunity to connect with those who welcomed us into their homes. Before arriving in Costa Rica, I expected my role to be one of giving, but there turned out to be just as much receiving on my part. Overall, I found there to be a perfect balance of fun (in the waterfall rappel, daily soccer games with the community, zip lining, surf lessons, white water rafting, and group bonding in general), and growth (in the responsible risks we were encouraged to take, the adjustment required to live in such a new setting, the roles of leadership we frequently took on, and the beautiful cultural exchange that occurred). If I had to pick a favorite part of the trip, it would be the home stay, although the time spent in the rainforest and at the beach was spectacular as well. I would highly recommend going to Costa Rica with Global Routes - I would definitely do it again if given the opportunity!