I traveled to Costa Rica with Far Corners Community Musical Theatre this summer. Even though this was my first time away from home on my own, by the end of the trip I wished I could have stayed for the entire year. I cannot say enough about what this experience has meant to me, though I have tried in college application essays, phone calls to my friends, and now this excerpt. The closest I can get is life changing. However, since you are reading this, you probably want to know why.
The effect of the home stay is not to be over looked. My family taught me about tico (Costa Rican) slang and customs. They were the ones who really got me interested in learning more about Latin American culture. I cannot think of all I would have missed had I stayed with a group of others from the United States. One of the highlights was getting to go see relatives; we ate chicharrones (fried pork) and corn that we had just picked from the nearby field. It was unlike anything I’d ever done before.
Another valuable experience for me was all the time spent rehearsing for the musical Urinetown. The show turned out well and I got excellent instruction in musical theatre.
Rehearsing with local teens was fantastic. Musical practices gave me a chance to hang out with Costa Ricans outside of my host family. This was so much fun, and they were all very accepting and willing to deal with my errors in Spanish grammar. A number of people I met are in the United States on foreign exchange this year and I am planning to visit them.
Having connections to a town in a different country is beneficial; I learned about a different type of community and the function of society in a different culture. My trip made me realize that there is more than one way of living and since coming back, I have been more interested in other cultures. I am more sensitive to foreigners in the United States because I know what it is like to not always understand the language and to misunderstand cultural gestures.
This trip actually made me re-define my life goals. I have always been around Spanish, but going to Costa Rica made me realize that I want to have a career relating to the language and/or culture of Latin America. There are many things I could have done this summer, but I cannot think of anything better than what I did.