Attending a prestigious university and getting excellent grades is a way to increase your chances of employment, but what if I told you that you could do that while living in a tropical paradise? Education is meant to help us acquire knowledge, useful social and academic skills, and lifelong values, but have you ever wondered what it would be like to step out of your comfort zone and experience college life away from home? Costa Rica is a small Central American country, but don’t let its size fool you. This country stands out as one of the most progressive cultures in Latin America. With one of the most solid educational, economic and political systems in the region, Costa Rica stands strong next to its neighbors, making it a safe and exciting destination for study abroad programs.
You usually learn about foreign cultures from movies and books, but experiencing them is entirely different. Studying abroad isn’t merely about traveling to a new country, it is about getting to experience a completely different culture. Students will not only have the opportunity to broaden their world views, but also nurture their future with plenty more life experiences and personal growth. When you stop surrounding yourself with the same people, the same political and social views and the same culture, you’ll find yourself living in an enormously diverse world full of broad ways of thinking, new terrains and natural wonders that can help you gain deeper perspective about people, ideas and places.
One of the biggest reasons why students decide to study abroad is the opportunity to see the world. You will not only be living in a foreign land, but you will also be getting everything that comes with it, including gaining exposure to different traditions, interesting activities, new languages and more. Many students who decide to study abroad are leaving their homes for the very first time, so imagine how fascinating it is to arrive in your host country and find new foods, traditions, and social atmospheres. Believe it or not, this will change your perspective about the world, and it will help you better understand and appreciate the nation’s people and its history.
“I think studying abroad just makes students a lot more well-rounded, better in their field. It makes you appreciate learning and taking that out in the real world to continue educating yourself as much as you can,” said Trevor Dunn, 22, study abroad student from the Lubbock campus.
This year Texas Tech University-Costa Rica hosted a group of study abroad students from the TTU Lubbock campus. Given that all the students belong to the Wind and Solar Power Program, they spent their time visiting wind, hydroelectric and solar power plants. As part of their study abroad program, they had the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive visit to Ad Astra Rocket Company in Guanacaste and to Reventazón Hydroelectric Project, as well as to attend two seminars hosted by Costa Rican Institute of Electricity specialists and Portafolio Imobliario sustainability experts. When they weren’t taking classes or visiting aerospace engineering firms and clean energy projects, they used their free time to explore and enjoy activities such as taking canopy tours, going white water rafting, and exploring the capital city of San José.
Studying abroad can also be a time for you to experience different styles of education and see a side of your major that you wouldn’t have been exposed to at home. Immersing yourself in the education system of your host country is a great way for you to learn how diverse your field of study can be. A country’s resources, policies, and even the environment can influence a career significantly, so exposing yourself to these differences can surely help you form a vast and complex understanding of a given subject. Trevor Dunn for example, tells us his experience in Costa Rica has helped him gain a different perspective of his major. He has seen how differently things work here compared to in the United States and is now interested in seeing how a developing country has managed to prosper even though it has limited resources.
“You don’t have access to the same resources or materials, it all has to be a bit more robust,” Dunn said. “You have to be more creative when you’re installing systems, and you are all more engaged in renewable energy and actually pushing that forward and acting on it.”
If you still can’t make up your mind, get this: Costa Rica has been named the happiest country in the world twice in recent years. Costa Ricans, orticos, take pride in their pura vidalifestyle and are one of the very few countries in the world with no standing army. Experience Costa Rica, take the opportunity to live in a tropical paradise while getting the best education here at TTU-CR. Take a chance and make this paradise your home. Join us next semester and create unforgettable experiences.