Morgan, Elisa, Jelly:
Going into the home stay was nerve racking because our family didn’t speak any English and we didn’t know much Spanish to communicate with them. We found a way to communicate with them by hand signals and little key words. Some ways we bonded with them were playing Spanish twister and eating hot chili peppers around the dinner table and laughing at everyone’s reactions. We bonded with our 11 year old host brother André by playing soccer, jumping on the trampoline, teaching him English, and Elisa by chasing him with a toad (Sapo). When it came time to leave, it was a lot harder than we thought it would be.
Aislinn, Becca, Michael, and Rachel:
We entered our house a little more confident than most groups because we had a little more assistance with translating since Michael was staying with us. As we walked through the doors the host mother and one of the daughters were open arms in greeting us. They were so kind and so open to helping us learn and understanding their language. We could actually have conversations and get to know each other as any other human. The last activity we did together was teaching our family and Michael how to make s’mores and toasted marshmallows. As we left, our family said that we are always welcome in their house.
Patrick and Rogelio:
We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at our home stay. Our house was a nice, well gardened, open windowed pad. Our host family consisted of Felicia, Gerardo, Sabrina, and San Luiz. We were fed large portions and were always greeted with warm smiles. Both our family and experience proved to be positive and enjoyable.
Anna and Molly:
Upon our arrival, Vilma, our host mom, greeted us with strong hugs and warm smiles. We did not live with any of her kids, but we got to know her neighboring family. We spent the evenings with her nephews, Diego and Andrés playing card games, singing and dancing. We ate some of the best food we’ve had on our trip so far. Overall, we enjoyed our home stay and are blessed to have had a mother who embraced us as part of her family.
Lauren, Niki, and Kaylin:
As we entered our host family’s home, we were welcomed with open arms and given our rooms to stay in. Our host mom let us do our laundry right away which was a major blessing as it was much needed! Our mom was a great cook and she made us a few things that we had never tried before. Some things we liked and others we weren’t too fond of. We were spoiled with the fan that our mom had because she basically let us use it wherever we went which was mainly the dinner table, the living room, and in our bedrooms. Our family was very open to having us there and we also got to talk more with our mom, her daughter, and the dad the last night while eating dinner, which allowed us to learn more about their life and we got to share about our lives. We really enjoyed our home stay with our family and we were very well taken care of.
Jared, Matt, Yona, and David:
Going into a home stay can be a little bit intimidating because you are never really sure what you are going to get. Our host family consisted of a mom, dad, an 8 year old and a 4 year old girl. Right off the bat, we knew the language barrier was going to be an issue because no one in the family really spoke English and we only knew some Spanish but we managed pretty well. Our host mom was an amazing cook. We all loved everything she made. We very quickly became fond of the kids who enjoyed having us around. They always had a lot of energy and loved to play with us. The boy loved playing card games with us as well as playing on people’s iPods. During meal times we had fun trying to communicate in Spanish while we ate the very well prepared food.
Joe, Austin, Marc, Zach, Braden, and Grayson:
We had a wonderful host family. It consisted of a grandfather and grandmother who had family over during the evenings. The grandfather worked most of the day, so we spent most of our time with the grandmother. She was a tremendous cook, and thanks to Marc and Austin’s Spanish speaking skills, we were able to communicate fairly well with her. Something really special about her that we noticed was her immense generosity. She told us she woke up every day at five in the morning to make tortillas and cheese, and yet she was still more than willing to cook a fully filling meal for six college boys, and do it with an open and willing heart. The generosity and hospitality of the Costa Rican people is an attribute that will continue to surprise and win over our hearts. Along with her generosity she seemed very interested in our lives as well; she asked us what we were studying at university, as well as what we want to do with our lives. Dinner with her was always a time we looked forward to, as it was a great experience to learn more about her life and culture, and the food was always amazing. To thank her for her hospitality we bought her a flower vase and some flowers while visiting the town square of La Fortuna and her gratitude showed on her face when we gave them to her.
Tyler, Seth, Jonny, and Billy:
The four of us stayed together for two days and nights at the Maleku village. We were excited to move on from that experience and get to stay with our host family. We were the second group to be called off the bus and meet our host family for the first time. There were varied expectations as to what we would be experiencing; however, as we unpacked our things in our room we got to know and see a little bit of how our family lived their lives. Before we went to see the farm we got to talk, with partial interpretation on Billy’s part, and play with the family dog Cocito, aka Franklin. As we continued our stay we noticed that we did not need any form of entertainment other than talking amongst each other and learning more about their culture. We were able to enjoy an entirely different style of fun, and learn how to react in this different sort of social setting. Words don’t fully describe the fun that we experienced, but the kindness and willingness to let us into their house left our group beyond grateful. We will forever cherish the memories made in their household and that family will always hold a special place in our hearts.