Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mountains surround the city of San Jose

Yesterday was my first day of class at Veritas!  I am taking Intermediate Spanish for the Healthcare Professional everyday from 8am-12pm, Overview of the Costa Rican Healthcare System and Tropical Medicine Tues/Thur 5pm-7pm, and Introduction to Physical Therapy Mon/Wed 3pm-5pm.  The Spanish class was a bit overwhelming since it was FOUR hours long!  But I understood everything and learned a lot about the culture of Costa Rica.  Professora Mila talked for two hours about the culture of Costa Rica and asked us what we found different from the US.  The hardest adjustment for me is remembering to use the formal form for "you" when conjugating verbs which isn’t used in many parts of South America and usually wasn’t stressed in my Spanish classes.  Another major difference, the septic system is really old, so we are not allowed to flush toilet paper down the toilet.  Instead, we throw it in the trash can.  The food is amazing!  My mamatica, or host mom, is a superb cook and prepares huge meals for breakfast and supper.  Rice and beans is a staple here, but the food is prepared in so many different ways that it tastes different every time.  There is also a lot of fresh fruit and juice with every meal.  The weather has been wonderful, warm but not too hot or humid with a breeze most days.

Backyard of my house

  The architecture of the buildings is really different.  For security reasons, there are walls and gates around the homes, but the houses are very open to allow air movement. Many houses and small buildings do not have airconditioning.  The college was constructed so the inside of the building blends with the outside.  There are open air walkways (these are covered because there is a very wet rainy season or winter here), open windows, courtyards, and plants growing inside and outside the school. I don't have any pictures yet but I will try to post some soon!

I am still getting used to the exchange rate.  1 US dollar is equal to a little more than 500 CR colones.  Basically, I double the price of everything and that is the price in dollars.  For example, a 3 subject notebook for school costs 800 colones which is about $1.60 or shampoo is 3.200 colones that is $6.40. Pura Vida!

A 2,000 colones or 4 dollars

The coins are not cents but colones less than 1,000


  1. I just love reading your posts! - Plumbing in a lot of other countries is pretty bad as well! Thanks for teaching us about the monetary system!! What does a regular meal cost? I think it should be cheaper to live there (as a whole) - 1 inch of snow and 32 degrees here... ENJOY your weather! Lynda B.

  2. Hi Kara,
    Great to hear you arrived safely and it sounds like things are really rolling along. I agree with you - there food is teriffic - especially the fish! Your classes sound great - keep us posted. Maybe we can skype with you!