Exciting New Experiences…..Tortuga Study Abroad Application

After studying abroad, completely self-funded, to Heredia, Costa Rica for 9 weeks, I was bit by the travel bug. Getting to live in a country so different than my own was one of the most challenging experiences, but the most rewarding, and I cannot wait to have the opprtunity to do it again next semester in Scotland. The thing I love most about being in another culture is how foreign it actually is, but how familiar it starts to feel after just a couple days. After 3 days in Costa Rica I had figured out how to talk to locals, cool coffee shops to go to, and even how to work the confusing bus system. I was living like a local and I had only just begun my journey.

I say that it was the most challenging experience because everything was always so “new.” I was constantly adventuring and going to beaches, and doing these amazing things that I often got overwhelmed when I came home to my host family, where my “parents” knew about 5 words in English. However, this is also why it was the most amazing experience because while I was overwhelmed, i began to learn how to embrace the unknown, how to live la pure vida (pure life) that Costa Ricans live. I hope to experience this challenge but life-lesson while in Scotland because I can honestly say that I came back to the United States a different person. I want to grow even more and see more amazing places.

One of my most favorite experiences while in Costa Rica was my unexpected trip to Montezuma. As soon as i got to the town I didn’t really like the vibe but one magical moment was able to make up for it all:

“A 20-minute walk up and down rocks winding through trees and branches. Then you arrive at a GIANT waterfall cascading into a pool of clear & pure water. Then you look over and see people jumping off the rocks, swimming under the falls and simply enjoying Pura Vida.

After a short photo shoot, because of course what else would you expect from a group of 7 college-age women? You dive into the refreshing water and swim closer to the falls where you start chatting with 2 men, who were surfers from Uruguay visiting one of the beach towns near Montezuma, and a bunch of locals. You get to talking and then all of a sudden they ask “so you all want to go under the waterfall?”

Hesitantly, you say yes. Because when you’ve travelled over 6 hours by Uber, bus, ferry, another bus and a rickety van to get somewhere you better believe you can’t turn down the offer. The offer to sit beneath one of the most beautiful things Mother Nature has to offer.

They grab your hands and pull you along the rocks until you find yourself under the falls. They are powerful and terrifying and amazing, all at the same time. You stay there for a little bit. Eventually make your way back out to the sunlight of the hot Saturday morning. Then you soon can’t resist a second offer to go back under the falls, but this time to sit on the rocks under. The feeling of being inside of something so powerful & natural is enough to give you the chills. It is unlike anything you’ve ever felt before. One of the men from Uruguay shouts “let go and just feel it!” In that moment an indescribable feeling passes over, a feeling that even I cannot put into words.

So looks like if you truly want to understand it and feel it, you’ll have to make your way down to Montezuma to experience it yourself on.”

This one small outing was hands down the most magical experience I have ever had in my life…and I want to have more of these moments.

I hope to apply these lessons and experiences I will have next semester in my daily life by appreciating things even while they are difficult. I also hope to one day work for the Travel Channel as a host, or even producer of a show. When I am abroad I am excited to bring along my gear to take videos of my daily life and create a 5-episode mini-series on coffee shops around Europe.

That is why this scholarship would be beneficial in funding my creative endeavor to see the world while creating something that can be seen by people back in the States, to hopefully inspire them or even just inform them on a small aspect of the world.

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