Alumni Spotlight: Ben Cope

Ben Cope is 17 and lives in Yarmouth, Maine. Prior to attending Yarmouth High School, he went to Woodsville High School and lived in Bath, NH.

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Why did you decide to study abroad with SPI?

Ben: I decided to study abroad with SPI because I wanted to improve my conversational Spanish skills in a tropical country with lots to see and do.

Tell us about any interesting cultural tidbits you noticed about your country.

Ben: Immediately departing the airport in Liberia, Costa Rica, we are immersed into the "Pura Vida" life style, the unofficial slogan of Costa Rica. Something I noticed about being there was how much more simple life seemed to be compared to life in the United States.

The people of Costa Rica seem to value life in a different way. People aren't always in such a hurry and they go out of their way to be kind and say hello. Yes, people work and have jobs but they don't let their job consume their life. At the end of the day, the three things that are most important to the Costa Rican people are family, friends, and soccer.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Ben: In the beginning of the summer, prior to leaving for Costa Rica I had just finished my junior year of high school. I thought that I knew exactly where I wanted to be, what colleges I wanted to apply to, and what I wanted to study. After being in Costa Rica and seeing a new place, it changed my perspective on my future.

student cliff jumping at Flamingo Beach

I've realized that the world has so many amazing places that not many people get to see in their lifetime. Going into my senior year, I now have no idea what or where I want to study, but I'm perfectly okay with that. As of right now, my ultimate goal is to take a gap year and study, work, or volunteer in Spain.

What made this study abroad experience unique and special?

Ben: What made this experience special wasn't the sandy beaches or the delicious food, but the people that I was able to share this amazing trip with.

In just a few short weeks, we formed our own SPI family and after flying home, it was both strange and sad not to see the same people every day. I still talk to multiple people from the trip and hope to meet up with them again in the future!