My name is Owen, and I will be posting blogs and updates from CIEE's Monteverde campus in Costa Rica. Before I start posting about all my adventures and experiences in Costa Rica, I would like to share a little bit about myself. I am 18 years old and hail from Colorado Springs, Colorado. I am currently in the second semester of my gap year (during the Fall I traveled through Bolivia and Peru on a Where There Be Dragons course), and will be attending Colorado College this upcoming Fall on the Boettcher Scholarship. I decided to take a gap year for a few reasons. Firstly my older sister had previously embarked on a gap year of her own and had a beyond incredible experience and urged me (if I had the opportunity, which I did) to do the same. She convinced me that taking a gap year has many advantages. It allows you to expand your horizons through learning a little more about the complexity and diversity of the world that we inhabit. But more importantly, it's an incredible opportunity to reflect on your past 18 years, and think more critically about what choices you want to make in college and contemplate possible careers.
After deciding to take a gap year, The next step was to figure out where I wanted to go and through what organizations (if I even wanted it to be guided). My main goals for the year were to go to new places, try new things, and that I would have the ability to use and improve my Spanish that I have learned in class—pretty broad goals. For the Fall, I was looking for a more travel-based, experiential learning program. At the same time, for the Spring, I wanted something more centralized, hands-on, and a little less academic-focused (I sort of knew I was already looking for an internship). And that is how I found CIEE in the first place, as few other gap year organizations offer/advertise internship programs. Then after looking into their internship offerings, I found their Monteverde location to be extremely exciting, and I applied.
Now I am actually at their campus in Monteverde, and I am beyond excited to share with everyone my experience! I did not know much about Costa Rica, and what I knew was taken from what my sister had shared when she worked in Guanacaste. Yet, in my short time here, I have realized that Guanacaste and Monteverde are very different, and I am super excited to get to know this area. I will be writing future blogs about my internship, the campus, my homestay experience, and all the new adventures I have. I hope that through this blog, you all will be able to get a taste of my time at CIEE's Monteverde campus! Thank you all for reading!