You never hear someone say that they regret studying abroad, and that is for a good reason. No matter the location, the duration or the nature of the program, studying abroad is an invaluable experience. The time I spent in San Jose, Costa Rica was no exception.
A “major key” to getting as much as possible out of studying abroad or any life experience is not to only be open-minded, as we so often say, but to be the person who lives the experience. What does this mean? Well for me it meant the following:
- I could always catch up on sleep later.
- Everything’s is more fun with good company.
- All’s well that ends well.
- Initiative makes the story.
- Remember where you’re at.
This seems to be a pretty comprehensive list of the things that are said by a young millennial trying to give their spin on how to live life to the fullest. However, when I think back on my experience, those were the things that really made it so fulfilling. From sleepless nights rolling into cross-country bus rides to making last minute spontaneous decisions simply because I could, there was an energy within me that I felt heightened even the most mundane things throughout my study abroad.
About two weeks after arriving back to the U.S., I started to feel this energy dissipate. Slowly but surely, the inner glow that powered me through the previous four months began to be whittled away by the nuances of everyday life. Whether it was working in a cubicle again, dealing with the drastic change in temperature or being removed from the bubble of positivity that had developed around me, readjusting to life in the U.S. was hard. People were more pressed for time and the number of responsibilities I had tripled, but more than anything, I felt lost because I didn’t feel like I was experiencing life like I did in Costa Rica.
As I continue to readjust to Albion life, I feel happiest when I’m telling a friend about the week I spent in Nicaragua or about the time I hung out with a vagabond outside a party for an hour. And in the the most nostalgic way, it’s annoying that I’m grounded again to domestic life and not abroad right now.
The time I spent in Costa Rica truly was an invaluable experience and one that has evidently continued to affect my lens on life stateside, as well as on a much more personal level. What I can only hope is that I am able to continue to travel, live and experience at the same magnitude as I did for those four unforgettable months.