Finding a Home Away From Home in Costa Rica

June 17, 2016

ISEP student Tori, a Spanish Education major from Northwest Missouri State University, studied abroad in Costa Rica at Universidad Nacional.

Sometimes when people check in with me (which I really appreciate, by the way!), they ask if I will be ready to come home from my five month vacation. There is no doubt that I have been lucky to have this opportunity, or that I have been a tourist a time or two. However, a part of me still wants to reply with, “I’m not on vacation. I live here.”

Even though I run off to a volcano now and then, I spend most of my time doing the things I would be doing in the United States in an average week. I spend time with my (host) family, go to school, talk to my boyfriend (on Skype), do homework, go out to eat with my friends, go to the bank, pet my dog and scroll though a plethora of “OMG!”-worthy posts on Facebook.

The acclimation process was difficult for me, and I worried I would never feel comfortable living in Costa Rica, let alone come to love it. And yet, I have reached a point where I’m excited to go home and see everyone I miss, but simultaneously heartbroken to think about leaving behind the life that I have established here in my home-away-from-home.

A trip to Nicaragua caused me to realize just how much I feel connected to my Heredia home. I had previously made incorrect assumptions about the similarities of the countries of Latin America. Seeing instant differences in the looks, language and habits of the people as we crossed into Nicaragua showed me how wrong I had been.

Central American flags
Central American flags

This is a picture of me with the flags of all the Central American countries. Although I’m holding tightly to my “home” country of Costa Rica, I am excited that I was able to briefly experience Nicaragua and expand my cultural knowledge.

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