Only a week after having taken my last final, I boarded an airplane and was off to explore the wilderness of Costa Rica! I was very apprehensive going into this 14-day excursion. I do not speak Spanish, and I was worried I would not be able to communicate at all with the Ticos and Ticas (what the Costa Rican people are called). I am an adventurous eater and explorer, but for some reason, rice and beans have never been my favorite dish. I knew that this was a custom dish to have with every meal in Costa Rica though. I did not know anyone going on the trip. While I am an avian biology major, I have not grown up around birds, nor am I an avid birder like so many others going. Needless to say, I was having a slight panic as my boyfriend drove me to the airport.

I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I did, in fact, know quite a few of the other students going on the trip with me. We are almost all wanting to be veterinarians, and so there was a lot to talk about. A smart person brought cards, and we spent the next few hours being those obnoxious and loud college students, laughing at the boarding deck. Six hours later, yes our flight was very delayed, we were off for a four-hour flight to San Jose.

When we landed, you could immediately feel the humidity. I am almost positive we were all sweating after only five minutes of walking from the plane to the security desk. My first challenge arose when the customs officer was talking to me in Spanish and I had no idea what she was saying. However, she was extremely nice and gestured to my passport and boarding pass. My fear of not being able to communicate was instantly gone. That fear would remain extinguished the whole trip, even in the very remote areas of Costa Rica. If the Ticos didn’t speak English, there was enough gesturing and body language to understand one another completely. This was an amazing experience to have, as now I will not be as worried by the language barrier on my next excursions.