Traveling to a foreign country opened my eyes to many opportunities I would never experience today in the U.S. As a group from the University of Georgia Young Scholars’ Program, we traveled to Costa Rica and learned the dos and don’ts, we saw sights so extraordinary and breathtaking and we feasted upon amazing food.Throughout our seven day stay, many things were learned about culture, language and how the people lived day to day.
My first experience of authentic food was at a restaurant called Comida Como en Casa. There I realized that even though the food was great, there was going to be much more rice in the near future and sure enough I was right. As I stayed with my family and at the University of Georgia Ecolodge, most of the meals consisted of rice and beans.
On the trip I saw so much beautiful wildlife. My first sight of the creatures happened in the middle of the night. My group was escorted on a night hike. It would have been great, but the only catch was that it was raining. And just a little F.Y.I. DON’T FORGET THE RAINBOOTS! Most of the trip consisted of nothing but rain.
When it wasn’t raining, we went on hikes to see wildlife and one morning we hiked up a mountain to save the environment and that I will never forget! We attended a seminar on Carbon Offsetting. Throughout it we learned a lot, but one point stood out. Little did I know, the plane that flew us to Costa Rica expelled more than one ton of Carbon Dioxide. To offset this, we planted trees. We weren’t just planting, but taking a hike up a steep mountain covered in mud. During this long trek up I earned the Klutz crown, because of all the slipping and falling that happened. After an hour, we made it. We began to plant and took a break. Afterwards everyone fell down the mountain. When we got to the bottom, everyone was a sight to see. We were covered in mud from our heads to our feet.
The next morning was an early one. We woke up at 5 am to head down to the local barn to start some cow milking. I thought it was kind of silly at first. Why would you want to know how to milk a cow?! Finally, after the demonstration the farmer asked for volunteers. There was silence and no hands were in the air. After a few minutes I said to myself, “Self! Let’s go milk a cow!” And I did it! I was a milkin’ machine! After I volunteered, everyone joined. We tasted some of the milk. Who knew it could taste so good?
Finally it was time to head to our homestay families. While everyone had to walk to their homestays, my family drove up in a car. We greeted each other and headed out. When I arrived at the house, I unpacked and we sat down and spoke to one another. We talked about life in Costa Rica and U.S. During our conversation I presented my family a couple of gifts to show my gratitude towards them for taking me into their home. Throughout the stay with my family I learned so much. For instance, my homestay father ran a waterfall business and it wasn’t too far from where I was staying. After breakfast one morning, they took me there. While the trek up may have been tiring, the water was freezing, but felt so good. I would have never dreamed a waterfall could look this amazing.
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