by Lesly Escobar, Costa Rica Tropical Ecology Study Abroad Participant
For the spring semester of my senior year at Georgian Court University, I was given the opportunity to go to one of my dream places, Costa Rica. As part of my Tropical Ecology class this semester, the lab portion of the class was conducted at Costa Rica. When I heard of this class I was immediately interested in going but I knew the extra cost for the class was not something I could afford at the time. Fortunately, I was told there was a scholarship I could apply for; and thankfully with the awarded scholarship my dream of visiting Costa Rica came true.
As a student enrolled in the Tropical Ecology class, I was required to conduct a group research study of group choice, in Costa Rica. My research partners Samantha Kuntz, and Meredith Hoffman, and I studied at Costa Rica, the floral color preference of pollinators. In Costa Rica we visited three different locations in which we did our studies: Monteverde, Arenal, and La Selva. In our study, we focused on pollinators and floral species. Our experiment was able to be conducted successfully in all three locations.
Before going to Costa Rica I never would’ve imagined how truly amazing Costa Rica is. The diversity of flower and animal species is breathtaking. I have learned about the ecosystems and vast biodiversity of species in my Ecology class this semester, but being able to go to Costa Rica and see its beauty in person, was the best experience I’ve had at this point in my life. I was able to experience zip lining through the Cloud Forest of Monteverde, climb up to the mountain top and touch clouds, and experience the overall magnificence of Costa Rica. I was also able to experience the relaxing volcanic hot springs of Arenal, white water raft in the rivers of Costa Rica,and be able to get closer to a group of amazing girls that I can consider my friends now.
Costa Rica for me, felt like home. I felt as that is where I belonged in my heart. Costa Rica reminds me very much of my families country El Salvador. In a way Costa Rica felt so close to home that it made me love the country even more. At La Selva, I felt as if that is where I belonged, in the jungle rain forests of Costa Rica. I am truly grateful I was able to experience the culture, diversity, and great country of Costa Rica. It is an unforgettable experience that I am always going to remember and reminisce of the amazingness of Costa Rica.
Thank you Georgian Court and its caring and loving staff, and donor that made more than one of my dreams come true by this trip.