Terry College of Business: May 2014
Student Participant at UGA Costa Rica Program
I studied abroad for 7 weeks in Costa Rica through the International Studies program with UGA Costa Rica, and it was a life-changing experience. The sheer amount of time spent in a different country was difficult to handle, but we all got acclimated very quickly. We were taken out of the clinical classroom environment and thrown into a place where we had to speak Spanish to everyone, which made me a lot more confident in my actual speaking abilities. Not only did my Spanish abilities grow, but I also experienced a huge shift in my way of thinking.
We were situated in San Luis de Monteverde, which was on top of this beautiful mountain in the middle of nowhere. The way of life there is completely different. To give you an idea, they only got telephone lines and electricity about 25 years ago, and my family shared one car between 7 people. This made me see how focused we are in the US about having the newest and most expensive things, when they really are not necessary. The locals were also very humble, which made me value these traits a lot more and try to incorporate them into my own life.
I would definitely recommend this trip to students interested in studying abroad. It will open your eyes to a lot of things about your own personality and the cultural differences between the US and other countries. This will help me in my future career because now I know that the culture of business is actually very different in other countries as well. It's one of those common sense things that you don't really notice until you experience it.