Becoming Extraordinary at St. Bonaventure University
Emily Kayes, a junior International Studies and Spanish dual major at SBU, is studying at Universidad Veritas in San José, Costa Rica during the Fall 2013 semester.
I apologize to those of you who I told I’d have this posted yesterday, but better late than never right? Usually I’ll try to post once a week, just to recap what I’ve done and seen through the excursions and exploring for myself.
September 29, 2013:
Whew, well after a very long, tiring day of traveling finalmente he llegado en San Jose, Costa Rica!
Let me tell you, this was one long trip. The first leg of my trip began in Buffalo with my arrival to the airport around 3:30 am, which was apparently a little too early – there was no one there! After waiting about 25 minutes I was able to check-in and weigh my bags (I was so scared my suitcase was going to be overweight I ended up repacking the night before). By the time I made it through security and found my gate I had only about an hour and a half until I left for Washington DC. Once I landed in DC my 2 ½ layover ended up turning into a 3 hour layover since we landed earlier than anticipated, which I didn’t really mind because that meant I was able to really take my time finding my next gate (which ended up being right next to were I arrived) and exploring the rest of the airport. From DC I flew to Panama City via Copa airlines (I highly recommend them for any Central/South American flight – very friendly people and the food was pretty decent). Luckily since it’s just a connecting flight here I didn’t have to go through customs or anything, I could just find my next gate and relax until my last flight to San José. Flying into San José was definitely one of the most picturesque views I have ever seen, I really wish I could have gotten a picture of it. So I zipped through immigration and customs and walked outside to be bombarded by people asking me if I needed a taxi, even though I didn’t because someone from the university was supposed to pick me up. Supposed to is the key phrase there. I walked outside and there was nobody there, luckily enough one of the taxi pushers helped me get ahold of the residence coordinator and shortly after I was on my way to my Tica house.
When I arrived at the house, I was greeted by Claudia, my mama tica’s daughter, and her daughter Indiana (yes, like the state). They helped me carry my luggage into the house and show me to my room. I was then introduced to the rest of my tica familia – my mama tica, her daughter (my “sister) Claudia, her son (my “brother), and Claudia’s children Andres and Indiana (my “nephew” and “niece”). They were all so welcoming and warm, I couldn’t have imagined a better family myself. After I got settled in my mama tica made us dinner and almost immediately after I fell asleep. (There’s a two hour time difference between San José and New York and it has been kicking my butt the first two days).
October 1, 2013
Today we had orientation at the university at 8 so I had eaten breakfast around 7 and Claudia walked me to the university which is actually pretty much straight down the road from the house. I was in the first orientation session and there weren’t as many students so when they split us into groups to do the scavenger hunt around the university we all pretty much bonded quickly. After we completed the hunt, which included us asking various people on campus different questions, we were given a tour of the campus. The school is very small, but anyone who knows what the Quick Arts center is like, imagine that but more open. There are art exhibits everywhere because this school is mainly an art and design school. After our guided tour we had a little bit of a break until the main orientation with presentations so we all sat in what would be the quad and got to know each other a little better. Let me tell you it was beyond hot and humid sitting outside. I feel like having classes on 3rd Plassmann prepared me for this heat (for those of you who don’t know, 3rd Plassmann is pretty much a sauna all the way up until it snows). We then sat through 2 hours of talks on how to be safe while here, etc. They fed us pizza for lunch and then we had time before they posted the class schedule at 5 pm. so some friends and I decided to explore a little and try to find el centro comercial de sur.
When we left Veritas it had been sprinkling (it rains every afternoon for hours since it’s the wet season right now); however, about halfway through our walk the skies opened up and it started downpouring. Of course that morning I had forgotten my umbrella on my bed so I was completely soaked by the end of the day and I mean soaked. I had my laptop, my camera, wallet, notebooks, and dictionary all in my backpack which was drenched. Luckily my camera and laptop were ok, and the complimentary Veritas bag we were given at orientation helped keep some of my stuff dry but my dictionary and notebooks were completely warped. Let me tell you, that is the LAST time I ever forget my umbrella at home. When I got home I immediately changed into dry clothes and hung up the soaking wet ones. After a delicious dinner made my mama tica, I once again fell asleep almost immediately (stupid time difference). In the past two days I have already learned so much and I can’t wait to learn even more while here in Costa Rica. Until next time!
My niece Indiana and I.