La Pura Vida- Valerie T.

Valerie T. studied abroad during the Fall 2016 semester in San Jose, Costa Rica. As a senior double majoring in Nursing and Spanish, she studied abroad at Universidad Veritas to focus on her Spanish major. Here is what she has to say about her experience!

Costa Rica was an amazing experience! I lived with a host family and had a host brother and sister. They had three cute little dogs that accompanied me throughout the house, especially during meals. My Mamatica’s house was beautiful and within walking distance of our school. On my walk to school in the mornings I would often see people walking their dogs, eating breakfast on their patios, and bright green parrots flying to and from their nests.

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While at Veritas I took 4 Spanish classes. The classes were very small with typically 3-8 other students. We only spoke in Spanish which really helped to improve my speaking. All the teachers were very nice and interactive. My favorite class was a medical terminology course I took with one other student. We discussed controversial medical topics such as abortion and euthanasia all while learning medical terms. This class was very beneficial for the field I am going in. We also visited a private clinic and public hospital during a field trip.

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I had many opportunities while studying at Veritas. All the students created a Facebook group and we would get together after class to play soccer with other Ticos and Ticas. I also was able to teach English to some locals, which was a unique experience. During our weekends we would travel to new locations. Costa Rica is a very small country so it does not take too long to get to anywhere you want to go. We would visit beaches, volcanos, jungle, and historical areas. We even ventured to other countries like Panama and Nicaragua.

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After my classes ended I stayed an extra month to venture out on my own and part of the time with a friend. We climbed Acatenango Volcano in Guatemala, which is the 3rd highest point in Central America. During the time I spent solo traveling I met so many cool people with all kinds of backgrounds. I also hiked the highest point in Costa Rica, Cerro Chirripo. During one of my last weeks I fell in love with a small beach town called Dominical. The community was very tight knit and everyone was super friendly. Every morning the town would get up to go surfing together, after they went to work, and in the afternoons they ate together and watched the sunset. I have already decided I want to return to Dominical in the future.

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My time studying abroad was life-changing. I met so many awesome people and made new life-long friends. There were times where I was challenged, especially traveling solo, but I became a smarter and more cultured person through these experiences. I now try to take life a little slower and live with a Pura Vida motto.

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During her semester abroad, Valerie was able to receive ISU credit for many Spanish classes to complete a whole three semesters worth of SPAN! Interested in taking Spanish classes abroad to complete a Spanish major or minor? Choose Universidad Veritas to receive 5 credits per Spanish class!

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