Before leaving

My father seeing me off at the airport
My father seeing me off at the airport

My name is Henry Hartzler and I decided to study abroad in Costa Rica in order to complete my student teaching because my certification is in Elementary Education (K-6) with an added endorsement in English as a Second Language (K-12).

Spanish is my second language, and I previously had studied abroad in Spain for a summer after my sophomore year in college to finish my Spanish minor. My summer in Spain was a defining moment in my life as it was the first time that I felt comfortable speaking Spanish with native speakers.

When the opportunity arose to complete my ESL student teaching in Costa Rica for 9 weeks, I jumped at the chance. I hope to better my ability to both communicate and teach in Spanish when I am not teaching English classes; in the school, I will also be teaching math, science, and Spanish language classes in Spanish, in addition to ESL. I’m hoping to make many Tico friends during my time in Costa Rica, and will make friends with the other teachers at the school, as well as going to local cultural events, such as the celebration of the Battle of Santa Rosa, in order to grow my social circle. I'm also looking forward to living with a host family again because I believe it is the best way to immerse yourself within a culture and a language. However, I am nervous that it may be difficult to make more social connections outside of the school where I work because I will be working 8 a.m.-3 p.m. every day and will be lesson planning in the evening. Nevertheless, I am excited to embark on this adventure! ¡Hasta pronto, Costa Rica!

*Henry Hartzler is a senior at the University of Iowa studying elementary education and ESL. He is completing his ESL student teaching in Costa Rica on the Global Gateways - International Student Teaching program.

Student blog entries posted to this International Accents page may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UI Study Abroad and International Programs.  The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

picture of the planes during my layover in Panama City en route to San José
Planes during my layover in Panama City en route to San José