On May 10th I will be leaving the safety and comfort of my home to begin a Spanish Immersion Program in Herdia, Costa Rica.

Heredia is in the northern half of Costa Rica about an hour from San José.

If you know me well, you may be thinking, “Do you even know Spanish, Allanah?” Nope, hence the blog’s title. In fact, I have never taken a spanish class, unless you count my Spanish numbers’ class when I was in 2nd grade. Regardless of whether you think I am crazy or not, my reasoning for this summer is the following: I have always wanted to learn Spanish, but have never been very good at languages. Therefore, I didn’t want to take Spanish in a classroom setting where the grades mattered for my GPA. While abroad in Hong Kong last summer, although extremely directionally challenged, I was able to completely navigate my way (completely by myself and without the help of GPS). I assumed that since I was alone, my survival mode kicked into gear and either I would figure my way around or it would be a challenging and miserable summer. Thankfully, it worked out for the best. I am, now, hoping that by placing myself in a situation where I don’t speak the language, but am required to, my fight or flight mode will kick in and I will begin to learn the language…quickly.

Program Trips and FAQ:

1. I am studying at the Latin University of Costa Rica through Sol Education Abroad. To find out more details of my trip visit: http://www.soleducation.com/costa-rica.

2. I will be in class for 3 hours a day (9 am – 12 pm). I will then travel back home to have lunch with my host stay family. Afterwards, I will engage in either cultural activities or volunteering every afternoon. The first weekend trip will be planned by Sol and then I will have the opportunity to explore on my own. I cannot express how excited I am for all outdoor adventures.

3. My classes are taught completely in Spanish. I am also supposed to refrain from speaking English as much as possible.

4. I am not going with anyone from Vanderbilt, nor is it a Vanderbilt sponsored program. The program is run in three week intervals and I am attending 12 of them, making my stay 3 months long. I have been told there will be around 20 other students who are staying the same amount of time as me. Everyone else is coming and going – it shall be a very interesting program.

5. I will be living at a homestay with one other person from my program.They will speak English, but are supposed to talk with me in Spanish, only. While, I have not found out who my host family is, I am extremely excited for this part.

6. There will be students of all levels on this program, many who are much more well versed in the Spanish language. Hopefully,some will be fools like me.

7. Although I had been planning on going somewhere in Spain, I switched to Costa Rica at the last minute because I realized that a country’s natural beauty was the most important thing to me; Costa Rica definitely has its fair share of beauty.

8. Call me crazy, but no, I am not nervous. Somehow, all the excitement is outweighing all the fear. It might be the fact that unlike last summer, where I went to a country completely by myself, I will have built in friends this summer. I guess that is, if they like me and all my weird habits. TBD.


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