Before we landed in Liberia, the five of us reflected on what we expect to accomplish during this trip.
The main reason I chose to go on this trip to Costa Rica was because I want to understand what it takes to work as a journalist abroad. I have always had an interest in international journalism and I am excited about the opportunity to actually report in a foreign country while still in college. I expect to learn the process that journalists must go through when working abroad. I am excited about this trip because I feel like it will allow me to experience a new culture in a very unique way, through studying the history of Costa Rica, and learning about what is happening now through interviews with Costa Ricans. I think this trip will be an adventure that will never be forgotten as well as be an excellent transition into my career as a journalist.
In the hours before landing in Costa Rica—my first time outside of the States—I struggle to envision the next two weeks. I know I could be more prepared. Fellow travelers in Dallas/Ft. Worth’s Gate D38 chatter around me. One group wants to visit a grocery store upon landing. Another brought their own towels. One man just wants a donut.
My expectations are more abstract. Without familiar forests underfoot, I hope to reexamine nature with greater wonder. Without a perfect plan, I’ll have to respond to events as they come. Every journalist, I imagine, must breach her comfort zone from time to time. That’s how the best stories come about.
I do, however, anticipate a few things: to eat fresh fruit; to learn to work with a translator; to navigate a developing county with the help of an experienced professor. With a passion for human ecology, I think I’m in the right place. As a monolinguist and still-new reporter, however, I expect many humbling moments. But I also hope to be inspired—by the landscape, by the people and by things I haven’t even considered yet.
This is my first trip to Costa Rica, and my first time studying abroad so I don’t really have any prior experiences to go off. I really want to get some experiences out of it that I couldn’t in the United States. I want to make myself a utility infielder of sorts in the journalism field, and with my past experiences reporting and copy editing, I think this could be a perfect complement.
I’m hoping the out of country stuff will be a big part on its own, but adding the blogging experience to my repertoire is something that should be beneficial with the ever increasing move of content to the Internet. I’ve also never done anything with nature in my writing before, so I’m looking to see what I can do with the opportunity. It is a 360 degree move from my usual sports emphasis, but I’m pumped for this trip. Let’s get to work.
This being my very first trip to Costa Rica and Latin America in general, I am really looking forward to experiencing and participating in a new culture. After reading about the history and ways of life of the regions we will be visiting I have come up with an idea of what to expect, but I am excited to compare those notions with what actually is. There are so many stories to uncover in this country and I cannot wait to find them. I am most excited to study the rain forest and the ongoing conservation efforts in the Guanacaste province. Appreciating and understanding the natural beauty that is unique to Costa Rica is something that I believe I can attain only by actually seeing and studying it. Another thing I am looking forward to is trying out my Spanish language skills in a community where it is traditionally spoken. Throughout this trip I hope to gain a better insight and understanding of the Tico culture and the country as a whole.
The main thing I hope to gain from this trip is simply to learn about the experience of travelling as a journalist. I’ve travelled extensively over the last several years, including some travel abroad, but it has all been for fun or work. In Columbia, I’m still trying to learn techniques for finding stories in a community I know well, so looking for stories in a foreign country should be an interesting challenge.
There are numerous programs through the journalism school that could offer this learning opportunity. I chose the Costa Rica program because I also have an interest in environmental journalism. Over the next two weeks, I hope to learn about how different cultures work and live with a wide range of environmental challenges. Specifically, I hope to learn more about how local communities balance supporting themselves, raising food, preserving the local environment, and working with the changes brought on by an increase in tourism.