Georgia Highlands College

Travel Abroad Visits Costa Rica

Communications faculty member Erica Simpson led a student trip to Costa Rica in May, discovering unexpected pleasures.  One of her students, Vivian McGowan, wrote the following description of her impressions of the Central American country:

I am a Spanish education major, so naturally when I read about the Costa Rica trip, I immediately showed interest. After I was completely signed up and ready to go, I was not quite sure what to expect. I had no idea that I was going to fall in love with the country, the people, and the culture as a whole. Along with my fellow classmates, I had a life-changing experience on this trip.

The first day was interesting. I was experiencing culture shock. When we stepped out of the airport in San Jose, we were immediately overcome by strangers on the street asking us if we needed taxis. I was flustered. Once we settled into our hotel, we all went out and started exploring. I loved how the town was so busy yet so historical.

After San Jose, we went to La Fortuna. We saw a beautiful waterfall. It was so refreshing to see nature and our Earth at such an unharmed state. To see grass, trees, rocks, cliffs, and mountains just sitting perfectly, each having its own spot on the ground was breath-taking. It was my first time seeing a waterfall, and I will never forget it.

We also went white water rafting which was an AWESOME experience. I was a beginner at that, as well. Erica and the others helped me by showing me the appropraite way to use my paddle. We were in such a beautiful place! The river was surrounded by trees and forest. The guides that were helping each raft were so wonderful. We started talking to ours, and he was extremelly charismatic and helpful.

After La Fortuna, we went to Monteverde. I can not think of words to describe that place. It is just something that one would have to see. I can say that it is honestly the most beautiful place that I have ever seen. We went horseback riding there and Ziplining. The ziplining was such a rush! It was an absolute blast. After that, we each got to plant our own tree. That, to me, was a eye-opening experience. The people there are so aware of the natural beauty of their country. They want to expand and protect it, so they were excited about us planting the trees.

When we left Monteverde, we went to Jaco beach. The beach was nothing like the beaches that I have visited. The sand was almost black due to the volcanic activity. We went to Manuel Antonio National Park. There, the sand was white, and the ocean was clear blue. I had only heard of beaches like that one, and it was awesome to be able to see and relax on one myself.

I was so disappointed when it was time to come home. I wanted to stay and move into a little house on the mountains! I can say without a doubt in my mind, that this was the best experience that I have ever been a part of. I loved getting to know my classmates and group members at such a gorgeous place. I have left a piece of my heart in Costa Rica, and I know that one day I will have the opportunity to re-experience those feelings of awe and admiration.

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