The Costa Rican culture is beautiful in every way. The language, people, wildlife, and atmosphere is unique to the country. My recommendation to any future intern is to step outside and take in deep breaths every morning. Costa Rican cuisine is amazing, so don’t feel embarrassed to stuff your face with it.
Wherever and whoever you stay with there is something to be learned in everything you experience. Don’t be afraid to make conversation with the locals. Get to really know your host family since that friendship has the potential to last a lifetime. Step out of your comfort zone even if you have to force yourself to do it. You might not ever get the chance to live in Costa Rica the way you will be for the following weeks. Don’t be afraid to socialize with people, everyone is extremely friendly and you are bound to make a friend at some point.
Listen more to those older than you, and really push yourself at your job. These companies are very grateful to have you here to help them, and don’t forget they are not like our franchises and corporations back home. Some of these companies are just starting to grow. Most importantly don’t be afraid to connect with nature. Have no fear of the bugs, they are everywhere and will do nothing to you if you do nothing to them. Repellent spray will work for a little, but you’re gonna get bit no matter what. The people here have learned to live with nature untamed. They do not dominate it, and there’s a lot to learn from that way of life.
If you’re a peanut butter lover, bring your own jar. Comfort food helps with the homesickness. Bring lots of books or take on a book in Spanish. Bring a roll of toilet paper, it comes in handy. Know that their concept of personal space is much different from ours, so prepare to have your space invaded by people and bugs, they usually both mean well. Take pictures but don’t forget to enjoy the moment without any distractions. Always be environmentally conscious, and try to stay off your phone and social media as much as possible. By the end of your internship you will feel liberated and ready to do anything. My experience was special and unique, enjoy yours and I hope you are as lucky as i was.
Hospitality and Tourism Management student
Environmental Science minor
St. Joseph’s College, NY, USA.