Being Home: It’s the Little Things

by Catricia Morris

December 2014

The night I got home I went to get midnight breakfast with my mom, brother, and some of my cousins. I was so excited to see all of them. It was a great "welcome home"!

The night I got home I went to get midnight breakfast with my mom, brother, and some of my cousins. I was so excited to see all of them. It was a great “welcome home”!

High: My month of December was split between my last two weeks in Costa Rica and my first two weeks back at home. I would say my high of the month was getting to come home and see all of my family. This semester was the longest period of time that I have spent away from home and seeing my family after four and a half months was wonderful. When I arrived home I felt an enormous sense of pride – I did it. I spent a semester abroad and had a really positive experience. I am really proud of myself and that is a great feeling.

Low: Leaving all of the people I met in Costa Rica. Saying goodbye to my class, my host family, and the other interns was incredibly difficult. Its strange to think about the fact that I have just spent almost five months with these great people and I probably won’t ever see them again. Throughout my last couple of weeks in Costa Rica I felt really torn between being excited to go home and sad to leave. However, my emotions towards leaving helped me realize how valuable my experience really was. Although I questioned my decision to go abroad a few times throughout the semester, ultimately I am glad that I went and I know that it is an experience I will never forget.

Glitter:  Honestly, my glitter is probably eating whatever I want. I enjoyed the food in Costa Rica, but it ended up being a lot of rice and beans, and since being home I have enjoyed getting to have a wider variety of choices when it comes to food. I’ve realized that it’s the little things that I appreciate most about being home.

reece
Catricia Morris is currently a junior at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. This semester she is studying abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Throughout her four months there she will be taking Spanish classes and working at one of the local bilingual schools as a student teacher in a kindergarten classroom.

Pushed My Limits: Costa Rica HLG #4

Playa Montezuma

Playa Montezuma


by Catricia Morris

Month Four

High: My relationship with my 8-year-old host brother has developed quite a bit over the last month. He is probably the person I talk to the most in my host family. He asks me for help with homework and to play games with him, which I love. When I see him at school he looks genuinely excited to see me and that always makes me feel really good. My brother back at home is much older, so having a sibling so much younger than me has been a new experience but, I have really enjoyed the time I have gotten to spend with him.

Low: From the moment I decided to go abroad this fall and I realized that I would be missing Thanksgiving at home for the first time I told myself it would be okay that I was going to miss it because I would be going home two weeks later. Not being home for Thanksgiving was way harder than I expected. I was the only one of my cousins that was not there and it was really hard for me because, even though Thanksgiving is pretty much the same every year, I felt like I was missing out. I ended up having a really nice Thanksgiving dinner with my friends here, but I really missed being with my family.

reece-rappellingGlitter: I am really proud of myself in terms of how much I have pushed my limits since being here. Before coming to Costa Rica I never did anything that involved much risk, but here I have really stepped out of my comfort zone in order to enjoy all of the things Costa Rica has to offer. For example, this month I went waterfall rappelling and took a weekend trip to the beach. I was terrified to go rappelling, and it was really hard, but also incredibly rewarding (plus it made me feel pretty cool). Going to the beach may not sound very risky, but before coming here I would have never taken a trip to somewhere 7 hours away without much of a plan. I have learned how to allow myself to relax and not overanalyze everything I do, and because of that I have been able to enjoy life a lot more.

reece
Catricia Morris is currently a junior at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. This semester she is studying abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Throughout her four months there she will be taking Spanish classes and working at one of the local bilingual schools as a student teacher in a kindergarten classroom.

HLG from Costa Rica: Month 3

Granada, Nicaragua. The architecture in Granada is beautiful!

Granada, Nicaragua. The architecture in Granada is beautiful!

by Catricia Morris

Month Three

High: This month the school that I am working at had a week long break during which all of the interns went to Nicaragua to renew our visas. I had no idea what to expect from the trip, but it ended up being extremely fun. We went to Granada and got to spend four days both relaxing and doing really fun and educational activities. Even though I wasn’t technically in Costa Rica, I think that trip is one of my favorite parts of my time abroad  so far.

Low: Working at a school as an intern is hard. Because I am not technically a teacher but I am teaching in a classroom and playing the role of teacher with the students, there are some moments where I don’t really know what my role should be or how much responsibility I should take on. It is hard to define the intern-teacher relationships with the other teachers at the school, especially with new teachers who have been teaching pretty much as long as I have. I am learning a lot during my time teaching, but some days at school are definitely a struggle.

Glitter: I have had a very up-and-down experience with living with a host family. I have always liked my family, but living with a different family was something that was really hard for me to get used to at the beginning of the semester. I realized this month that I am now comfortable in my house and that I am enjoying living with a family here. It will never feel the same as living with my family back at home, but I am happy living with my family here and I didn’t know if I would ever get to that point when I first got here.

reece
Catricia Morris is currently a junior at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. This semester she is studying abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Throughout her four months there she will be taking Spanish classes and working at one of the local bilingual schools as a student teacher in a kindergarten classroom.

Costa Rica Month 2. HLG?

costa-rica-independence-day

by Catricia Morris

Second Month

High: I have a couple!

First, I started student teaching this month! I am working in a kindergarten classroom and it has been going really well so far! All of the teachers at the school are great and I am learning a lot about bilingual education. As the month went on I began to feel more and more like a real teacher, which is a really great feeling. Also, because the town is so small, sometimes I see my students in town and they always say hi to me. It has made me feel like I am really part of the community here.

Second, it was my birthday month! It was hard being away from all of my family and friends for my birthday, but my host family threw me a mini party so that made me feel really good. I also got to celebrate with the other students in my program so that was nice as well.

Low: Not being at school with my friends has been something that I have really struggled with this month. I knew it was going to be hard, but I was not expecting to miss Swarthmore as much as I do. I love getting to talk to my friends who are at school, but at the same time it makes me miss being a college students. I don’t feel like a college students here; I feel like a teacher, which is great and frustrating at the same time. So, while I have loved this experience thus far, I do think that being away will make me appreciate being at school more for the year and a half that I have left there.

Glitter: Some of my favorite moments here have been the times when I have gotten to see the community of Monteverde come together. The town is really small so everyone knows everyone and when there is some kind of town gathering there is always a strong sense of unity. It’s not just people that live in the same town going to to the same place; it’s people that live in the same town going to a place so that they can be together and celebrate together. Having each other around seems to be important and I love that. This month I got to experience this with the Independence Day celebration and the events in the week leading up to it.

reece
Catricia Morris is currently a junior at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. This semester she is studying abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Throughout her four months there she will be taking Spanish classes and working at one of the local bilingual schools as a student teacher in a kindergarten classroom.

High Low Glitter: Costa Rica

zip-line

by Catricia Morris

First Month

High: Before coming here, one of the things I said I was going to do is go zip lining and I did it! I’m not usually one to participate in activities with many associated risks, but it was so fun! Definitely an experience I will never forget.

Low: I was sick for a few days this month. Begin sick in a new place that is far from home is not fun.

Glitter: Living with a host family is not always easy, but there are moments that are really great and when I really feel part of the family. Those have been some of my favorite moments here so far.

reece
Catricia Morris is currently a junior at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. This semester she is studying abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Throughout her four months there she will be taking Spanish classes and working at one of the local bilingual schools as a student teacher in a kindergarten classroom.

High Low Glitter: Costa Rica

by Catricia Morris

Week One

High: Getting to visit the school I am going to be working at! It’s in the middle of the rainforest and everything about it is beautiful! I am so exciting to start teaching there in September!

Low: There aren’t as many monkeys as I thought there were going to be – but there are plenty of exotic bugs!

Glitter: The Spanish classes I am taking this month! I was not looking forward to taking 5.5 hours of Spanish every day for a month, but it’s actually pretty fun and I can tell that my Spanish is already improving!

reece
Catricia Morris is currently a junior at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. This semester she is studying abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Throughout her four months there she will be taking Spanish classes and working at one of the local bilingual schools as a student teacher in a kindergarten classroom.