First Day of Classes

Hola!!

      First of all, I want to thank everyone for their comments and emails! It means a lot, and it´s great to hear from some familiar faces. But to get to the fun stuff, I started classes yesterday. In order to be enrolled as a full-time student, I have to have a minimum of 15 credit hours (to ensure I receive a student visa,) even though I technically only need a few more credits to transfer into McKendree. So, I decided to take some classes that I had never really studied in the states and of course the Spanish requirements that I need.

On Monday I have class from 8-11:30 on the Social History of Costa Rica, and from 1:30-4 I have the Theories and Focuses of International Relations.

On Tuesday I have my Advanced Spanish Class from 8-10am, and at night from 6:30-9 I have an Ethics and Philosophy class.

Wednesdays I have absolutely NO CLASSES 🙂 yay me!

Thursday I have Spanish again from 8-10 and Social Psychology from 5-8:30.

And then EVERY weekend, I have a 3 day weekend because I am off on Fridays as well.

      Needless to say, I love my class schedule. No complaining here. The only thing that takes a little bit of getting used to is that most of the classes here are only one day a week, so we receive a LOT of homework to do within a weeks time span.

   My first day, however, was a little bit scary. My history class is one of the IFSA-Butler classes only offered to exchange students, so I felt comfortable in that class. My next class on the other hand, I was the only foreign student in the class, and it is second semester here. Therefore, everyone already knows everyone else in their fields. The first thing we had to do in my international relations class was get into groups for our large presentation and pick topics to present on. Me, not knowing ANYONE, felt a little awkward, and I did not know what to do at first. After sitting there for a couple minutes looking around like a lost puppy dog, I shyly (and those of you who know me, know I am not shy by any means, but this was kind of scary) turned around and asked some girls behind me if I could join their group. They smiled politely and said “of course!” which was a relief to me, but they must not have detected my accent because they all started rambling off in S at what seemed like lightening speed asking me who I was. After I wiped the scared and shocked look on my face, I just laughed, and they looked confused. I then explained that I was an exchange student from the states who was only studying here for a semester, apologized for my lack of Spanish fluency, but promised them I was smart and knew how to handle myself when it came to giving presentations.

    I suppose it was just some first day jitters, but that initial feeling of terror was not exactly what I was expecting. For now though, I am fine. After looking at the syllabi in my classes, I am noticing that it is all about the same about of work I would get if I were still at McKendree. It was just slightly overwhelming at first knowing I was going to have to do it all in Spanish.

    One thing that I do love about school here is that they have NO copyright laws! So when we have to read something for class, we just pay the 50 cents or whatever it is to have the 20 pages we need to read copied, and that´s that! I copied my ENTIRE Spanish book today, something that would have cost me almost $100 to buy on-line for about $4 US. IT WAS AWESOME!

     Slight change of subject— tomorrow here is a holiday! I haven´t quite put my finger on why or what we are celebrating (and I´m not particularly happy I am missing out on a day off of school because I already don´t have classes on Wednesdays), but I am excited to see how the people here celebrate. We all here crazy stories about how the people of Latin America are party animals, so I guess I will just have to wait till tomorrow to see. All I have learned so far is that they like to dance….  A LOT. Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, you name it. I think everyone knows those dances when they come out of the womb here haha!

 

    But I have got to run! Meeting with some classmates for lunch!

Until next time Chicos! 🙂 Caio!

 

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Orientation Coming to an End…

Hello again!

     It’s been quite a long, yet extremely enjoyable (almost) two weeks here in Costa Rica. Touring everywhere: Liberia, Heredia, La Universidad Nacional, and San Jose, is such an amazing time, but I’m starting to get tired! Everyone here gets up when the sun rises and goes to sleep around 9-10, unless we go out to a casino or something. For me, it’s getting a little difficult. I LOVE SLEEP! 🙂 I just have to remember…

“You only live once.” #yolo

       I moved into my new/permanent home in Heredia on Sunday. I now live with Amalia (my mom), Roberto (my father), and Marian (my sister) who was 9 months pregnant when I moved in! She just gave birth today to a beautiful baby boy named Mathias, so I am now a new Aunt for the next couple of months! It’s so exciting! The family is wonderful, and their home is beautiful. I am within a fifteen minute walk to school, two blocks away from the sports plaza, a quick bus ride from the mall and BOWLING ALLEY :), and a ten minute walk from stores and Heredia Centro. It is such a beautiful city in a valley surrounded by a TON of mountains.

      For now, I’m trying to enjoy as much of this experience as I possibly can, and prepare myself for school starting next week. The process of “matriculating,” a.k.a. choosing classes, is extremely different here. I had to pick five classes that I wanted to take, and then make another an entire other schedule in case those classes fill up or I am not allowed to take them because of prerequisites that I do not have. Because of this, I am not going to know what classes I am taking until three days before classes start (which is slightly stressful.) This is all a part of the culture! I am just trying to soak it all up!

    We’ve already made some “tico” friends here who have been showing us around for the past couple of days, and today while at lunch we met another group of girls from the states who are studying at UNA through a program called ISA.

    I am learning so much in such a short amount of time about the culture of these people, my Spanish is getting better, and I’m already so much more appreciative of the things I have at home that I take for granted (like hot running water,) and I have only been here for a short amount of time. I cannot imagine how much information and wonderful experiences I am going to ingest within the next five month period.

    I’ll keep you guys posted! Until next time!

Caio !!