Before the blink of an eye, my last day in Costa Rica has come to to an end. It was paradise, educational opportunities and understanding right before my eyes, and the time of my life. I can look back at this moment in time, and I have not only taken away so many useful educational tools related to my environmental science studies; but I have made some amazing friends and connections that have given me a different perspective on the world, it’s environments and how humans interact with it.
Our day started off with a visit to Peace University. Peace was located just West of San José in Mora. Since Peace University is governed by the UN, it is an international premise and the Costa Rican government cannot interfere with anything at the university. All of the studies and course structure is determined by be UN. They have campuses in Honduras, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and Rwanda as well. The focus of study at Peace was environmental development, peace conflict studies, and international law. Visiting the University was interesting and eye-opening about how a differently a University could be run compared to a typical school in the U.S. When we finished talks with the head of Environmental Development and the Dean, we headed back to San José for lunch.
For our final lunch, we had a lovely traditional Costa Rican meal. I enjoyed my chicken with a well-balanced salad that had tasty dressing. With lunch over, I had expected a tour to a cultural center that was in our itinerary, however, Adrianna and Beto had planned something very special for me which touched my heart. All trip long I had been craving some sugar cane juice, I was not expecting to go and tour a sugar cane facility though! Adrianna was able to setup a special tour of a sustainable sugar cane factory, Tite. The owner explained that the facility was just for the locals, most of his final products are sold in the local community and sometimes sold at markets. It was amazing to see how sustainable all of the practices were, he used the dried sugar cane for his large oven where he would make the sugar cane products and composted the rest. The moment everyone was waiting for, me tasting the sugar cane juice during the trip, finally happened and I was beyond thrilled. I was so happy, that I was working hard to contain it, the fact that Adrianna organized this tour was simply amazing and really sweet. There could not have been a better ending to my trip in Costa Rica.
At the end of the trip, I was in disbelief that it has passed by so quickly. I really did not want to say goodbye to all of my new friends and awesome roommate, Jake. Everyone I met on this trip was special in their own way and contributed to making the trip into what it was. This trip to Costa Rica has most definitely given me new tools, while expanding my knowledge about several different agricultural, clean energy, and preservation practices.
What the trip has also given me, are the lasting relationships I have formed with people in this class, and the many people I met at the places we visited in Costa Rica. When I go back home I am going to miss spending time with Adrianna and Beto, learning new and funny Spanish words, while hanging out with my like-minded peers. I’m really going to miss Josh’s silly sense of humor, Jake’s always hilarious jokes and well-thought out advice he has given, Rin’s almost too serious but brilliant demeanor, Kate’s stories; but most of all Alya’s funny and charming approach to everything. There are so many other people on this trip who have made my time in Costa Rica special, and have taught me many different lessons. I am glad I decided to go to Costa Rica and I am even more grateful that my professors made everything so enjoyable for us. Although I am sad that I will return home soon and I have to say goodbye to Beto; someone great once said: “Don’t be sad that it’s over, smile because it happened”. I will miss Costa Rica, but I will be back, and that is a promise. 🙂