Why did you choose this program?
I chose the CIEE Monteverde J-term program because it was really out of my comfort zone.
I was super interested in the sustainability aspect of class and daily life there. I don’t do many “outdoorsy” activities in day to day life back home, but I was always amazed by mother nature from afar. Choosing this program gave me the opportunity to see up close and personal the thriving ecosystems, hundreds of animals, and beautifully welcoming people of the region!
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
CIEE set me up with on-campus housing in bungalows with other students! It was a super cool way to interact with others and coexist with nature in the environment we were in. Transportation was provided throughout my program, from the airport, all around Monteverde, and back to the airport at the end of my program. We also got 3 hearty meals a day and on-site 24/7 staff helped with anything else we needed!!
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I wish I had brought lighter full-coverage layers for the warmer days when it was raining or if the bugs were out and about. I liked to keep a full-coverage layer of clothes on for the bugs, (not necessary if you use bug spray). But other than that, I wasn’t in need of anything during my time there.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Our days and weeks were scheduled out ahead of time which was very convenient for us to plan out clothing and homework and things like that.
A typical day would look like waking up and eating breakfast around 8 am, then off to class around 8:30-9 am until the afternoon. We’d have a lunch break in the middle. After class, we had time to work on our school work, read, play games, hike, talk to some of the staff and hang out!
Dinner was around 6 pm and then usually the students would end the night in the rev room watching movies, playing games, or taking dance classes.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear going into it was being stuck in the mountains of Costa Rica for my program if I didn’t meet any friends. I made sure to be open and nice and I found a group of people I vibed with right away. After the program, I can say that the friends I made there are life long and we still keep in touch every day!!
You will find your niche wherever you go: just be yourself!
What if I’m not very “outdoorsy”?
I think the best advice I can give you is just to try it. I am also not an avid outdoors person myself, and I was worried about this being too much, but after the program looking back, I was SO glad to have had the experience. Not only did I learn a lot in the classroom but seeing it come to life when you stepped out of the classroom was unbelievable. I didn’t mind the hiking and nature aspect as much as I thought I would.
I loved my experience and I’m glad I didn’t let my lack of “outdoorsy-ness” ruin it for me!