3 weeks in to Costa Rica!

In Costa Rica by Eller Student

So I’ve been in Costa Rica now for about 2 and half weeks and it’s absolutely been an awesome experience.  I arrived on Monday, June 6 which was a few days after our program with Dream Careers had actually started.  My sister’s wedding was the Saturday before and then I took a red eye flight on Sunday and arrived Monday morning around 5am.  Eric, one of the program coordinators, picked me up at the airport and took me to my house where I met my mama tica, Marian.  My 13 year old tico brother had already left for school so I didn’t get to meet him ‘til later.

After a quick nap, our group met up to go take a tour of Café Britt which was pretty awesome.  We learned about the whole coffee growing process and then Santiago and I even got to learn how to taste coffee like a professional.  After the tour we got to speak to the founder of the company which was really awesome.  We got to talk to him about all of his success and failures and everything he learned on the way and got some great advice.

He was the first of a few really great speakers that we’ve gotten the opportunity to talk to, which is one aspect of this program I really like; actually getting to talk to people who were once in our shoes and really getting to pick their brain about the things that led them to where they are.  And while most of the speakers tend to be exceptional business people, the more interesting/amazing aspect is their outlook on life in general.  The focus of the talks aren’t centered around business but more around discovering what it is that drives you personally and what you really want to squeeze out of life.

My relationship with my family thus far has been pretty spectacular.  Being the youngest of four in my “real” family, it’s awesome to have the opportunity to play the role of the big brother to my hermanito Enrique.  After almost three weeks I absolutely feel like I’m part of the family.  It’s an amazing thing to be able to put yourself in a situation where you can really experience a whole different perspective on life, especially in a setting or situation that doesn’t have all of the luxuries that people are used to in the U.S..  One thing I’ve learned between my experience here as well as in Chile is how much people take things for granted.

So far, the few places that I’ve seen of this country have been absolutely amazing.  Our first trip with Dream Careers was to La Fortuna, a small town at the foot of Volcan Arenal.  The coolest part of that trip, hands down, was our small but steep hike down to La Catarata de Fortunta, a giant waterfall.  At the bottom, we got to jump in and swim in the clear pool where all the water came pounding down.  That was my first real relief after a very long week at work.

The internship aspect definitely has its ups and downs.  The hours are long, 8am to 6pm, but the people and the atmosphere are great.  I’m working at Aeropost, Inc. and as a finance major, it couldn’t be in a more unique position as a business for me to learn about what finance looks like in the “real world”.

Last week our crew took a little trip to Jaco to get our first glimpse of a Costa Rican beach.  They definitely live up to the hype.  The town is a very cool, very laid back little beach down, and after a day and half in the sun we were all completely fried.  We stayed at an awesome hotel, which Santiago was able to hook us up with through his internship at an Eco-Tourism company.  As we were checking out, we noticed a noisy group of Scarlett Macaws terrorizing a tree across the street.

Next week we’re off to the esteemed Manuel Antonio beach/ntnl park and I can’t wait.  As you can tell it’s already been an awesome experience so who knows how sweet the next few weeks will be. !!! Pura Vida!!

-Donny