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A vast change in scenery

July 19, 2010

EDITOR'S NOTE: Throughout the summer, ASU students studying abroad will be writing back to the states about their overseas adventures. Fostering international student experiences is just one part of ASU's commitment to making a global impact.

Kinzi's blog:
Today marks day nine of my time in Costa Rica. Right now I am in San Rafael de Escazu, writing from our kitchen table as a cool breeze pushes around the sheer curtains. The weather here is such a lovely break from the Arizona heat! So far, it's rained nearly every day (it is the rainy winter season here) and when it's not raining, large clouds and a warm sun take turns dominating the sky.

There are five students to each apartment and there are three apartments. We're living in much greater luxury than I think any of us expected: kitchens with every appliance, our own beds, a dining room, a living space, two bathrooms and a pool. When it's not raining, some of us lay by the pool to do our class reading or write our daily reflections.

The environment here is so lush and beautiful. Everywhere you turn there is another deep green plant or a vibrant yellow flower that you've never seen before. Down the street from our apartments is a wonderful fruit market with flowers and fruits we'd never tried before. Every couple of days we go to the nearby grocery store to buy food for our respective apartments and I think all of us are having a great time trying out new foods or well-known fruits like the mango, which has never tasted so fresh and yummy.

Classroom time consists of meeting in the living room of one of the apartments and discussing the readings for about two hours, and then we reconvene in the afternoon to hear from a guest speaker. The guest speakers are usually native Ticans (the term for Costa Ricans) who teach us about different aspects of Costa Rican life, law and place in world affairs. In the evenings we are responsible for writing short reflections of what we saw on a class excursion or to reflect on the lectures given by the speakers.

We took our first road trip this past weekend to Tamarindo on the Pacific coast. It was a beautiful town that had warm water and delicious places to eat. Some of the group surfed and some spent their time lying around and getting some sun. Next weekend, a group of us are traveling to La Fortuna where the Arenal volcano and cloud forest reside. I hope to get some cool pictures while I zipline. After that we plan to head back south and so some white-water rafting, so I will definitely have a lot to write about.

Kinzi Hotchkiss, a global health major, will be a sophomore this fall. She is studying abroad in Costa Rica this summer.