Costa Rica was the experience of a lifetime! from the minute we arrived we started to make memories that would last forever. we experienced so many different things on the trip I don’t think we could have fit any other experiences into the 17 day exchange. we did everything you could wish to do from swimming in the sea (which was actually pleasantly warm) while watching the sunset over the horizon to making cotton thread with our new found friends from Portugal and Costa Rica. From beginning to end my experience of Costa Rica and its diverse wildlife and culture was absolutely amazing!
B ‘e Costa Rica an t-eòlas a bh’ ann air beatha! bhon gheàrr-chunntas a ràinig sinn thòisich sinn air cuimhneachain a dhèanamh a mhaireadh gu bràth. bha eòlas againn air uiread de rudan eadar-dhealaichte air an turas, chan eil mi a ‘smaoineachadh gum faodadh sinn a bhith a’ freagairt eòlas sam bith eile a-steach don iomlaid 17-latha. rinn sinn a h-uile càil a bu mhiann leat a dhèanamh bho bhith a ‘snàmh anns a’ mhuir (rud a bha gu math blàth) agus a ‘coimhead air a’ ghrian-grèine thar fàire gus snàithlean cotain a dhèanamh leis na caraidean ùra a lorg sinn bho Phortagail agus Costa Rica. Bho thoiseach gu deireadh bha m ‘eòlas air Costa Rica agus na fiadh-bheatha agus an cultar eadar-mheasgte air leth iongantach!
when the day finally came, the day I had been counting down to for weeks previous, it didn’t feel real I couldn’t believe that we were actually going, I was excited and nervous because I would be travelling thousands of miles across the world with people I didn’t know too well to meet more people who I don’t know at all, now I know I shouldn’t have been nervous at all because these people are some of the nicest and most respectful people I have ever met, the people from Portugal were fun to be with and always full of joy, the people of Rey Curre were patient and didn’t care weather they could communicate with us or not they wanted to be our friends anyway and soon we all had google translate downloaded onto our phones to make communicating easier. the leaders from Portugal were very kind and understanding and were more than happy to translate for us when google translate was not working, my fellow scots (and American who lives in Scotland)who I didn’t really know to well before we left turned out to be amazing people who were full of banter and now we are close friends. I couldn’t have wished for a better group to spend the seventeen days with.
Since we returned from Costa Rica many people have asked me what my favourite part of the exchange was and every time I struggle to answer because it was just so amazing and we did soo much, so I have managed to whittle it down to my 2 favourite things. the day after we arrived we visited the diamante eco adventure park in the Guanacaste province where we did a series of 5 zip wire’s one of which is the longest in central America and we walked around the animal sanctuary where we saw SLOTHS, crocodiles, frogs , snakes, panthers and loads more. This day was one of my favourites because it was our first proper day out as a group and we all started to get to know each other. Another of my favourite things was the time which we spent in Rey Cure, we were warmly welcomed into their community, with everyone working hard and trying to make us feel as welcome as possible. I really enjoyed finding out about the community’s culture, which was similar to ours here on Skye in some ways and different in other ways. I also enjoyed making friends with both the Costa Ricans and the Portuguese, over the six days we were in Rey Curre these friendship’s grew stronger to the point where people would take your phone and take lots of great selfies on it like, you would to one of your close friends, these friendship’s are still strong a month after leaving with regular video calls and messages being sent and received between us all .
In the days which we spent in Rey Cure we learnt so much about their history and culture through dance and guided walks through the village and museums, we were shown so many of their sacred things such as trees which had been in there since the first colonisers arrived. we were also shown how they make the famous Borucan masks which are still made today how they have been made for centuries, and how they use them in an annual festival “Dance Of The Devils” which celebrates the resistance against Spanish colonisation which allowed them to keep many of their
traditions. In this festival the Spaniards are represented by a bull costume and the boruca wear their traditional devil masks, in the festival the bull is chased off by the devil masks.
I feel this trip has changed me in many ways, these changes have all been good changes for example it has made me more confident, before I wasn’t really someone who liked to talk in front of an audience but now I don’t mind it. it has also changed the way I look at things before the trip I didn’t really pay attention to my surroundings and now because I liked the way that so many of the natural things in San Vicente, Boruca and Rey Curre are sacred it has made me think more, like, how long that tree has been there and I wonder what it has seen throughout its lifetime.
The exchange to Costa Rica was amazing and I cannot wait till the second part of the exchange when the Costa Ricans come over to Scotland. None of this would have been possible without our amazing leaders from ST Andrews university, thank you for this experience! it was the trip of a lifetime!