Location:  Costa Rica
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Term Abroad: Spring Break '16

Major: Energy Engineering

Minor: Mathematics

Was your study abroad program as you expected?

The Costa Rica study abroad program was so much more than I expected! I applied believing that I was going to volunteer for a good portion of the day and then have a couple hours to go out and explore, which wasn’t exactly wrong. The morning was spent volunteering, where I absolutely loved working with those fantastic kids, and when we got back we had fieldtrips all across the area, looking at many different places. 

What's your best memory from your time abroad?

While in Costa Rica I was accompanied by 12 other students and two faculty members from IUPUI. The people I was with will forever be my favorite part of that trip. Together we explored volcanoes, ruins, animal preserves, beaches, and the fantastic food options that Costa Rica had to provide. Costa Rica was beautiful and exciting, but the people really made the trip special!

Nico and program mates

What was your first impression of studying abroad and intial thoughts on arrival?

It was much cooler than what I was expecting! We got off the airplane and made our way through the airport, after which, we took our first steps outside. It was hot, but I was expecting this unbearable heat! Then as we were making our way to Cartago, I found the graffiti that covered many of the walls we saw as drove through the city very interesting in their own right. Many of the murals weren’t just the typical gang names, they were full on landscapes and modern art and media representations. Honestly, it put American graffiti to shame.

What did you think about your study abroad program? Would you want to go abroad again?

I was so unsteady while I was there at first. It was a new area with different laws, different customs, and different people, but as we passed that first day, I found all of these things to be the cool parts of going abroad (maybe not the laws as much as the others). My experience in Costa Rica is actually the reason why I want to continue traveling abroad. Learning about these different cultures and people was truly an amazing experience!Nico in Costa Rica

What do you think you gained from studying abroad?

I gained a new sense of global citizenship. Even before I went I understood that our separation of people based on our borders was ridiculous, but there was so much to learn from the Costa Rican people! They were so similar to us that a border seemed so unnecessary. Their hopes, their dreams, what they wanted from the future, and what they held important to themselves; it all felt so familiar. It really gives you a sense of being just a member of one, entire global community. 

How did studying abroad impact your experience at IUPUI?

I feel so grateful towards IUPUI now. After being able to be part of such a great experience, I’m glad that I’m a part of such a great community! IUPUI provides so many great opportunities for students to learn and grow, and that’s what I’ve come to love from my university. 

What advice would you give to other students thinking about studying abroad?

Don’t expect the place you are going to, to be so exotic and scary. It will be different, but that’s what makes it interesting! Learn to love the differences in the world, they make life exciting. 

If you could sum up your study abroad experience in one sentence and quote, what would it be?

“It is better to travel well than to arrive” - Buddha.