Jerry S. is an ISU Athlete who decided to make his dream of Studying Abroad a reality. Jerry went in May 2015 to San Jose, Costa Rica where our partner program Veritas Universidad. He decided that Veritas was the place for him because “the medical program they offered was exactly what I was looking for”. He and I chatted about his time abroad and what it was like to be an student athlete and studying abroad.
What was the craziest thing you ate?
- Zucchini, no it isn’t crazy but I’ll explain. My mama tica asked if I wanted zucchini and I said yes because I love cooked zucchini. Well when I got it, it wasn’t like zucchini back in the states. It looked like a zucchini on the outside but the inside was like a spider web. Everything she cooked was amazing so I just went ahead a bit into it. It was so weird. I can’t even describe what it tasted like except it wasn’t zucchini. I had to eat three of them. When I started my second one, my mama tica started eating and she bit into her zucchini and said it was bad. I was so glad because I didn’t have to finish the last two.
What was the biggest struggle that you over came?
- The biggest struggle was understanding people. My Spanish is pretty good but I wasn’t very good at listening and speaking Spanish. At the beginning, it was difficult to get around in taxis and ask for directions; however, I got better as time went on.
What was your most memorable moment?
- It’s hard to pick just one moment because there were so many, but I would have to say the most memorable moment was our weekend at Manuel Antonio. This trip was one a group of us planned alone so it was a blast. We got to actually go explore on our own. It was a great time exploring through the jungle there. We found a little waterfall we went swimming in. We saw monkeys, sloths, and iguanas. We also played on the beaches. I experienced my first time climbing huge trees and rocks. It was an incredible experience and view from where we climbed up too.
What do you miss about Costa Rica now?
- I miss my tica family and all the great friends I made in Costa Rica. I also miss all the amazing adventures and places to explore there.
As an athlete, did you feel like studying abroad was difficult?
- It was extremely difficult because I couldn’t study abroad during the normal school year because we have football year round. I was able to fit it in during the summer so I only missed 3 weeks of training. If I wasn’t athlete, I would definitely go for a full semester because 5 weeks wasn’t enough.
Do you feel like you were able to be a student and an athlete while traveling abroad?
- Yes, I was able to find a gym down there to work out. It was great because the gym was in walking distance. Also, my classes were from 8-12 and 1-2:30 so I had plenty of time to lift, run, rest, and still have a lot of fun.
What is your advice to athletes who want to study abroad?
- I definitely recommend studying abroad. It is an amazing opportunity. Talk to your coaches and find out when would be the best to fit it in. If your busy all year, like I assume you probably are, find the place where you will miss the least amount of your training. You’ll be able to work out wherever you as long as you are discipline with it.