Study Abroad: Sustainable Energy and Fair Trade In Costa Rica

Costa Rica was life changing! From the beautiful scenery to the delicious food and lessons on sustainable energy and Fair Trade – I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

This spring break was my last spring break and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to study abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica! This trip was organized by the Politics and Government Department at Illinois State University in collaboration with Veritas University. For a week my classmates and I had the opportunity to study Fair Trade, Sustainability and Organic Farming in Costa Rica. It was a great experience for me and i’m glad I got the chance to finally study abroad!

My Stay in Costa Rica

While in Costa Rica I was blessed with the opportunity to stay with a host family, which I took as an opportunity to learn. I took Spanish classes in high school all four years, however I was never a great speaker. I used this trip as an opportunity to expand my knowledge. My first day in Costa Rica I told my host mom (mi momma tica) that I only wanted her to communicate with me in Spanish. Let me tell you….that helped me out tremendously! I learned so much and I now feel more confident in my Spanish speaking abilities. Staying with host family is definitely something I would recommend if you were to study abroad. It helps you build relationships and create a bond with people that are different than you. This by far was the best part of the trip for me.

Being one with nature

Costa Rica is BEAUTIFUL. If you are going to visit I would recommend exploring some of the coffee, sugarcane and pineapple farms in Costa Rica. They are actually very interesting! A lot of the places also give free samples and have cheap souvenirs to bring home. (That’s my cup of tea!) Also, during our trip we had the chance to see a beautiful area in the rain forrest. At the end of our hike there was a balcony with a breath taking view that I will never forget. The pictures I was able to take were amazing!

This trip to Costa Rica helped me realize that God made everything on this earth with intention.

Food I ate in Costa Rica

Now, the food here was some of the best I have had in my life. Every meal I ate was delicious. It was also very healthy, which I enjoyed! There are American food options in Costa Rica, however I wanted the true authentic experience, so I stuck to Costa Rican food. I even had my momma tica give me some recipes to take home! I will definitely be using them and sharing with family and friends.

What I learned about Fair Trade and Sustainability

As I stated this was a trip focused on Fair Trade. Coming into this trip I did not know much about Fair Trade at all. I am glad that this trip allowed for my class and I to study Fair Trade with those who are directly involved in it. We had the opportunity to ask questions of employees and farmers that worked with Co-Ops, plantations and independent organic farms throughout Costa Rica. We also were able to spend a couple days in Sarapiqui, Costa Rica. There we were able to learn about pineapple production as well as banana production in Costa Rica.

Fair Trade and Memories

This trip made me realize how important it is to expand your mind. It also showed me that it is important to travel to understand the world around us better. I’m thankful that I now have a deeper understanding of Fair Trade and Sustainability. I know change doesn’t happen over night, but I promised myself I would try to make changes in my weekly grocery runs. Let’s see how that goes!

This is an experience I will forever be thankful for! I will be back to Costa Rica, that’s for sure.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my trip. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below!