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Lily Reflects on her Costa Rica La Pura Vida Trip

This trip to Costa Rica was the highlight of my summer and the best choice I have made for myself all year. I made some amazing friends and had experiences that truly changed me as a person. When I started my trip, I was nervous because I knew nobody and had never traveled to another country with only strangers. We started our trip staying at Hotel Heleconias and had the chance to bond a bit as a group before officially starting our great adventure. We went to a cheese farm and got to milk a cow, which, being from Los Angeles, was something that I had never experienced before. The farm was so much fun, and showed me just how much I had to look forward to in the upcoming weeks of my trip. During our first days, everyone in our group got really comfortable with each other. I quickly realized how amazing everyone was and how lucky I was that this was my group. I could not have asked for a better batch of people than these.

After leaving Hotel Heleconias, we went zip lining, which really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but had amazing rewards. The view was beautiful and made me realize how special this trip was. After zip lining, we rode on the bus, singing songs and learning about each other. Our bus ride took us to Santa Rosa where we met our homestay families. My family was incredibly kind and really showed me the Costa Rican spirit: Pura Vida. They made certain that I had the full Costa Rican experience by providing excellent coffee, telling jokes in Spanish, and teaching my roommate Tara and I all about Costa Rican customs and food. During our time in Santa Rosa, our group worked on the community center by painting, cementing, and weeding and cleaning. This was an awesome experience because we got to talk with the people living in the community as they helped us with our work each day. The community that we lived in really embraced our group and I was so grateful that I got to spend time around such loving and caring people.

To end our trip, we had the opportunity to surf and spend time on the beach. The water was amazing, and while I didn’t catch many waves, I still had an awesome time attempting to surf. On our second day on the beach, we walked out to the “Whale’s Tail”. It was a really cool part of the beach and only accessible during certain times of day. The beach was the perfect way to end our trip. Now that we were officially friends, we all had so much fun while enjoying each other’s company. I’ve come out of this trip more confident in my Spanish and myself. This trip was such a positive experience for me in countless ways and I had an amazing time while learning tons of new things. I miss all of my friends so much and hope to go back to Costa Rica some day! I had an amazing time while learning tons of new things, experiencing another culture, and meeting new people. I’m confident that the memories and relationships that I made on this trip will last a lifetime. ¡Pura Vida!

By Lily Langos, Costa Rica: La Pura Vida (Session 3)