A note for 2009 Costa Rica Program

by Kimberly Koscher

This past spring, I had the experience of a lifetime as I was fortunate to travel to Costa Rica on the International Studies Study Abroad trip. As a non- traditional student at Indiana University of South Bend, a mother of 4 children, returning to school in my 40’s I did not believe a trip like this would be in my budget or even be conceivable. However, each time I passed the posters around campus I found myself thinking more and more about the people and places I saw. I was mesmerized by the faces of the people, the Tico’s and the landscape, rainforests and culture. I began imagining a way to make this possible. And, as an elementary education

major I knew that the educational experience and photo’s I brought back could benefit my classes for years to come.

Having traveled out of the country once many years ago,  I knew that the influence of culture, environment ,example of sustainable living ,were experiences  I wanted to share with  my 17 year old son . O I found myself signing the two of us up as it was my hope that this trip would change his perceptions of the world around him. I feel that international travel can broaden our relationships and change our lives in ways that traveling in our own country can not. So, after some thought and the incredible generosity of the David Jordan Star Scholarship, my son and I began to make our plans.

I can not thank the generosity of the David Jordan Star Scholarship enough. For this trip with the incredible food, hospitality of the people who truly live by the saying, “Mi Casa es su Casa” or my house is your house, was such a gift to my son and I. We stayed for 7 days with a host family who treated us like their own and fixed us some wonderful meals with traditional rice and beans. Their smiles and hospitality stretched beyond the language and cultural differences I thought would hinder us. I long for the day I can take the rest of my family back, and to travel to their home and country again.

Kimberly 2

I saw some of the most breathtaking countryside including the views of Volcano Arenal to the 4 hour journey through the hillsides to get to the rainforests of Monteverde.  To the Pacific Ocean and its kayaking to a costal island and the fun of a night time hike through the jungle with a nature guide, there I spied my first tarantula in its natural habitat!

My son and I found that there is so much to learn from a country so rich in its national parks, natural resources and warm and friendly people. I am so grateful for the opportunity not only to travel there this spring break but to share this experience with my son and open up the doors for conversations and travel for years to come. This experience was truly the trip of a lifetime, and my wish is that all students of Indiana University of South Bend could experience travel abroad as well!

Thank you to all who made this trip possible, my life has been made so much richer by having traveled abroad!