Alumni Spotlight: Lea Cantu

Lea Cantu is a 20 year old female from Austin, Texas. She attends Southwestern University where she is pursuing her BA in Anthropology. She studied abroad in Costa Rica for roughly two months during the summer of her freshman year.

Lea enjoys the beach in Costa Rica!

Highlights: The main reason I went to Costa Rica was for my Spanish three and four credits. It was my first time every traveling by air. It was a great experience for being the first time. I thought it would be very difficult learning Spanish, but being immersed in the language made things so much easier because you had no choice but to speak Spanish. The more I spoke it the easier it became to learn it. The highlights of the trip were the excursions we went on. There were a number of tourist attractions that we visited and every single one of them was fun! My favorite was the hot springs and the resort we stayed at for the Volcan Arenal excursion.

Morning: When you get to Costa Rica and you are there for a few days your body gets use to the daily routine of waking up at 4am when the sun rises and going to bed at 9pm when the sun goes down. Every morning I would naturally wake up at 4-5 am and take a shower. My tico family would already be up and about and usually at work. After my shower I’d head down stairs and breakfast would be either waiting for me or it would be in the process of making it to the table. Sometimes my tica mom would be there, or her cleaning lady and I’d chat with either one of them until I left for school. I’d walk up the block and most of the time I’d meet up or run into friends. Then we’d continue the five minute walk.

Study abroad in Costa Rica

Afternoon: Once at the instituto class started at 7am, so if I arrived before then I’d sit in one of the lounge areas and chat with friends. However I usually made it there just in time for class to begin; class lasted for a few hours and then we’d get a break. On our break everyone in class would go over to the patio area and there would be fresh cut fruit, coffee, and juice that we were able to help ourselves to. After our break we are called into class again and we stayed in class until lunch time 1pm. I’d walk home for lunch and it was usually waiting for me, and no one would be home, so I’d eat then head back to the instituto. Sometimes the cleaning lady would be there and we’d talk about what I did in class.

Evening: I’d stay at the instituto until dinner usually. I’d attend tutoring and socialize with friends. Then I’d do my homework with other students. When done with my homework I’d use the internet for a little while, go over to a friend’s place, or go walking around until about 7:30pm. Once home I’d be alone until my tico family got home from work or errands, and sometimes my tico family’s daughter and grandson would come over and have dinner with us, or we’d go over to their house and have dinner. I’d watch a little T.V. before bed, then fall asleep around 8 or 9 pm.