Since the Wifi was flaky during the trip, I’ll cover both ‘during-trip’ and ‘post-trip’ in one blog.


Before the trip, I was both nervous and excited about checking out the Rainforest. My perception or thoughts about the rainforest included: poisonous bugs, poisonous snakes, poisonous plants and super dark. How could this be safe for anyone? And why and how are people living in the mountains AND rainforest?

As we took our first drive up the mountain, I couldn’t help not taking my eyes off of the scenery. The views were absolutely amazing! I had never seen anything like it! The roads were very narrow and made kind of nervous but our driver, Miguel, handled it pretty well. Once we reached the campus, we were welcomed and assigned a bungalow and roommates. The bungalows were very nice, I was very pleased (except you had to watch for bugs). I also enjoyed all of my roommates, they were very nice ladies.

Rice and beans are the staple cuisine of Costa Rica and was served during breakfast, lunch and dinner. You would think after 3 meals straight, one would get tired of eating rice and beans but it was the entire opposite! It was seasoned so well and delicious every time. All meals were great. It was the first time I had really good cafeteria food.

Visiting the coffee bean farms was very interesting and informative. I learned alot about coffee. I had no idea it started out in a cherry like berry looking fruit where the coffee beans were actually inside. We had a three opportunities to pick coffee beans which was a neat experience and a new skill of mine. The idea is to get the most blood red beans..the ripest and only pick those. The green beans are useless but still put them in your basket if you accidentally pick them. All farmers had different techniques in brewing and roasting. Some set the roasting at different temps and let it roast for different amounts of time. But I did learn that the medium roast contains more caffeine than the dark roast. We also toured the coffee shops. This gave us the opportunity to compare production on a big-scale vs a small-scale. I didn’t realize how labor intensive coffee production is. Especially getting paid $2-3 a day to work it. That kind of sucks. Being a coffee farm is hard work, especially when a country is known for its quality coffee like Costa Rica. This country is #3 in the best quality coffee in the world. They can’t compete with quantity (especially with Brazil) so they focus on quality.

Dr. Pegg was great at discussing the lessons during class time with use. He made the classes informative and intriguing. Although, some of it was food science/chemistry based, he simplified it and it explained it to us clearly. We studied which main acids were in coffee and the affects of each one. We discussed the impacts of coffee on health and found that it could be a reducer of Type 2 diabetes. The lessons were great and I learned more than I expected.

Even though, the trip was focused on coffee, we were able to do and see other things like the Cheese Factory, tilapia farm, biodigestor, some sugarcane production, exploring the towns, zipling and getting a chance to stick our feet in the Gulf of Nicoya and ride on Hwy 1. So cool! These are things I never pictured myself doing or even having the opportunity to do! Each experience was absolutely amazing!

I really enjoyed the culture of the country, so relaxed and everyone was so nice. Although the language barrier was an issue sometimes but we were able to get around and communicate as needed. Costa Rica is a beautiful country along with beautiful people. This was definitely a memorable study abroad trip. I would recommend it to anyone. As of now, I find myself daily, browsing through my photos and reflecting on the trip. I get excited to talk about the trip to anyone who asks about it. Overall, I had a great time.