Hola desde San Jose! Welcome to the blog for the Costa Rica Semester Abroad group, spring 2009. As the faculty leader, I arrived one week early and have been exploring the city and my neighborhood and practicing my Spanish--Tico style. San Jose is a colorful, busy, and historic city, with several beautiful parks, buildings, and neighborhoods. Our hosts at Mesoamerica, Linda and Cliff Holland, and their staff have been wonderful, and I know the students will absolutely love the classroom building, especially the new student lounge with its gorgeous mural wall, provided by Dr. Anthony Weston and his fall '08 students. In fact, we will be there watching the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Many of the students will be happy to see a huge three-storey mall near the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), where they can see movies, shop and eat their favorite fast food from home if they become too homesick; of course, I have found that the food is much better at the cafes and "sodas" and other smaller (quieter) places in every neighborhood--and will encourage them to branch out and leave their comfort zones. They will find quickly that anything they want from the US can be gotten here, although sometimes at a higher price. The fresh fruits and veggies are amazing, and so far, everyone has been very patient with my use of not so grammatical Tico Spanish.
The students (17 of them) arrive this afternoon and will meet their homestay families and will have a couple of days of orientation, Spanish testing, a tour of San Jose as well as a walking tour of "our" neighborhood in San Pedro. The students and I will be posting on this blog regularly--comments and pictures--as we explore the many facets of this small but amazingly diverse country. I hope you'll follow along with us as we explore San Jose and visit volcanoes, rainforests, cloud forests, and coastal areas; as we learn the customs and language of the Tico people; as we figure out what it's like to learn to actually use a language we perhaps have studied but not practiced; as we experience pura vida.
Welcome to our community away from home! Hasta luego.