Heading into my Costa Rica trip, I thought I knew what to expect. I have traveled in Central America a lot in the last few years and I feel like I am familiar with the norms of the culture. What I did not expect from Costa Rica was the pleasantness of the people and the bonding of our group. Typically an interaction with somebody in public would involve mumblings of “gracias” and “de nada,” but this was not the case for me. Every interaction I had with someone from Costa Rica was with the most kindness and genuineness. Every time I thanked someone for something, whether it was a museum ticket or a plate of food, the response was always “con gusto” or “con mucho gusto.” This translates to “with pleasure” or “with much pleasure.” Our tour guide, a Costa Rican native, happily described Costa Rica as “the Chick-Fil-A of Central America.” As hilarious as this was to hear, it could not be more true. It was amazing to be surrounded by such happy and kind people for the entire two weeks. Another expectation-defying aspect of this trip was the bonding among our group. Thirteen students, a TA, and a professor all hopped on a Delta flight into Costa Rica. As we departed from what had become a second home, we left closer to a family. Some of us formed closer friendships than others but there was not a single person left out of the camaraderie and unity of the trip. Any time one person was absent from an event, it felt like we were missing a piece. I felt very loved by the people that I traveled with and am very grateful for the opportunity to get to know each and every one of them. All of us came from different hometowns and different majors but through the crazy and unique experiences of this trip, we were able to look past differences and find good friendships with one another. 

-Some of the girls on the trip, helping out with the chocolate-making process-
-Our professor and fearless leader, Dr. Reyes-
-Dinner all together at the rainforest lodge-
-Our whole team being VERY sad to leave Costa Rica-