By Rishita Khanna, Hosted in Costa Rica 

“I am finally here in Costa Rica. This place is so different from India, but the people are so cool. I have visited many places here. The first place I went to was a National Park, (La paz). I also went on a beach vacation which was the best beach vacation ever in my life. I went on  a school trip to a valley..That was so much fun.

Well, I did experience a lot of cultural shocks. These days were not as good as a fairytale but it was surely a great learning period. I have learned so many things and my host family is contributing a major part in helping me to learn more. I had my 2nd AFS orientation and after that I felt so better that I am not the only one experiencing these huge cultural shocks.

There are not many festivals here but the festivals which are there are celebrated with so much fun. It’s so surprising for me that people here have started shopping and preparing for Christmas. I am really excited for Christmas. I have learned so much about Christianity. My host mom tells me so many stories about Jesus. About Christmas she makes me listen to religious music. She helps me with everything. It was definitely difficult for me to be without my parents but now things are getting better because my host parents are helping me so much. Whenever they are free they teach me Spanish. My host sisters are so nice and friendly with me. And then my host grandma, she is very sweet.

I really like going to school, my classmates are so funny. They make me laugh all the time. I also tried exams. It was a bit difficult for me as it was in Spanish but I definitely have to try harder and make my score better with the help of my teachers. My teachers don’t speak English but they try really hard to explain me the concepts as clearly as possible. I really like my host family, school and my beautiful host country! PURA VIDA :)”