Let free time ring - tiempo libre in Costa Rica

The view of San Ramón from one of my favorite miradors right before the sun started setting.

The view of San Ramón from one of my favorite miradors right before the sun started setting

My week begins with class in the afternoon after lunch. Unlike Iowa we have blocks of time for class every day: 8-11am for the morning block and 1-4pm for the afternoon. What more could a science major from the University of Iowa ask for than a late Monday class and no classes on Friday? It is one of the many gifts of this abroad experience. When I’m not in school my free time is completely filled with other activities. 

I can never take my eyes off the sunsets here. I may have some vision problems by the end of this semester.

The view of San Ramón from one of my favorite miradors right before the sun started setting

Growing up I played soccer on a competitive team and on my high school varsity team. Soccer was a big part of my life before attending college and luckily, studying in Latin America has reminded me how much I missed kicking the ball around with friends. Every Wednesday my classmates and I walk over to an indoor field a few blocks down the street from my school. Not only are there students from the United States playing but we also have made some Tico (Costa Rican) friends who have showed us just how terrible we all are at fútbol. Every week the intensity seems to be getting higher and is even more fun. Only four people have gotten nailed in the face by the Ticos so far. We are en route to have a solid 8 by the end of the semester. Fútbol is such a fun and vital part of this culture. Every Tico plays fútbol, has a professional team that they follow closely and loves to talk about the game earlier that week. I have adopted my host family’s team, Saprissa, and pretend like I am just as invested in their well being as they are by “secretly” Googling players names and other facts so I can sound cool when I talk to them. This happens more than I’d like to admit but here we are.  

To fill in some more of my free time, I have taken an internship at the local veterinary clinic. The vet speaks Spanish and I understand enough to get by. Every week, I go in for a few hours to assist in various chores like grooming and walking dogs. Again, my near professional talents in charades and Spanglish have assisted in my success at the veterinary clinic. Although I am a Human Physiology major, this entire experience (we shall call it Canine Physiology) has been really interesting and sparks a ton of physiology nerd cells that I have in my brain.

Playing soccer has turned out to be a great bonding experience with my host family. Every Sunday we wake up early and head over to one of the many fields to kick the ball around.

Playing soccer has turned out to be a great bonding experience with my host family. Every Sunday we wake up early and head over to one of the many fields to kick the ball around

Another weekly activity that I partake in is watching the sun set from one the many “miradors” of San Ramon. A mirador is a place up on a hill that many of my friends, both American and Tico, will hike to. Here we watch the sun go down. It is a view that will never get old and if I could go every day I would. When I do end up going to a mirador with a Tico friend we are both able to practice talking to each other. While I am practicing Spanish and the crazy slang words of Costa Rica, all of our Tico friends are practicing their English. Yes, they are substantially better than we are at speaking their foreign language. But in our defense as gringos, we’ve never had to roll our R’s…. that has taken a ton of practice and will forever be my kryptonite.

This just is the beginning of the many things that San Ramón has to offer to do outside of class. It will be a hard transition back to the United States for me as I have become very much attached to the plethora of outdoor activities that I can do here. However, I’m coming back to Iowa and will continue to play soccer. I will always thank this experience for reviving my interest in soccer. Look out intermural league; I am coming for you!

Go Hawks!

*Quinn Terrill is a junior studying health and human physiology at the University of Iowa. The Iowa City, IA. native will be spending her semester abroad on the USAC San Ramón program in Costa Rica

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.

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