Study abroad

Prescilla Sanchez was born and partially raised in Los Angeles. Upon completing elementary school, her parents divorced and moved to Palm Springs, Calif.

After high school she enrolled at the local community college, College of the Desert (COD). While attending COD full-time, Sanchez interned and worked for the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands Trust Office as a Public Relations and Advertising Assistant. In 2012, she earned an associates degree in communications.

That summer she moved back to Los Angeles to earn her bachelor’s degree in journalism. In spring 2014 she graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). During her time at CSUDH, Prescilla interned at GSBookings, a publicist company that represents hip-hop rap artist, and allowed her to begin her journey as a social media and marketing manager.

Prescilla is currently writing her first book and managing her baking blog. On her free time she enjoys reading books, creating arts and crafts, painting, going to the beach and visiting her family in Palm Springs often.

I personally have never studied abroad, but my best friend’s sister, Sandra, did. During the summer of 2014 she spent six weeks in beautiful Heredia, Costa Rica. Thanks to social media it was as if I was living the experience with her. The Spanish language was not a barrier for her at all since she’s Mexican-America and speaks Spanish fluently, but she did say that certain objects that she was familiar with had different names in Costa Rica.

Sandra told me that black beans, white rice, eggs, plantain, bananas, and coffee are part of the daily diet. “The foods that I mostly saw and ate over there were black beans, white rice, eggs, plantain, bananas, and coffee. I literally at least ate one of those foods once a day for one of my meals or maybe at times more than once. I loved all the food that I tried, although it was different but now I even miss it. I drank coffee literally everyday, either in the morning or in the afternoon; that is what the families in Costa Rica are accustom to,” she said.

Costa Rica doesn’t have running hot water and is very expensive. To save money, the residents rush through their showers making sure they don’t exceed ten minutes. “Not only were my showers short but cold; I was not use to taking short cold showers, one of the main things I missed from home hot long showers,” she said. Not being able to flush toilet paper isn’t abnormal in the U.S., but in Costa Rica it’s a big no-no. “The fact that in Costa Rica one isn’t allowed to flush toilet paper because the sewage pipes are too small, I found unordinary because I am use to being able to flush toilet paper. I had to get used to it,” she said.

Sandra says that Costa Ricans beaches are the best she’s ever seen. “The beaches they are beautiful the water in some is crystal clear and in certain beaches you are able to walk all the way in, the water is not as cold in the beaches like here in CA. Costa Rica may be known for its beautiful beaches, but don’t let the scenery fool you. Sandra advices to always carry an umbrella. “The weather in Costa Rica is literally crazy. One moment it can be super sunny and warm and out of nowhere there is a rainstorm or vice versa,” she said.

Although Sandra speaks Spanish she wasn’t used to speaking it in the classroom. She said she learned so much more about the language and how to speak it properly. Her favorite memory is being let out of class to watch the World Cup. Costa Rica made it the farthest they ever gone and won the game. “The town went crazy,” she said. “They are all so happy and full of energy.

Some of the outdoor activities to participate in while in Costa Rica are
zip lining through the jungle, white water rafting, and hiking on volcanoes. When Sandra got back from her trip I asked her what made her pick Costa Rica of all the places in the world and she said “I had looked up Costa Rica before deciding to go and it said it was one of the happiest countries in the world and that was one of the main reasons I choose it. Nevertheless Costa Rica did not disappointment and I believe I made the right choice because I met so many great, wonderful, happy people that made my experience a 100 times better. It might not all have luxuries in the world, but the people always see the good side to anything. How they say “Pura Vida” meaning pure life, but to them it is there eternal optimism.”

Listening to all her stories and what an amazing time she had, made me regret not taking the time to study abroad. The experience and life changing moments are worth much more than the dollar amount listed on a paper. I encourage all college students to look into scholarship programs that help you pay for a once in a lifetime trip. You wont regret it and learn so much.

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