The benefits of studying abroad last long past the summer, semester, or year that you spend overseas. In particular, study abroad is a great resume builder and we continually hear from students who receive job opportunities because of their study abroad experience. One student in particular, Michaela Rubenstein, recently reached out to USAC with an open letter to Costa Rica and how it’s changed her life several years later.
I wasn’t sure exactly who to send this to but I needed to write this.
I studied abroad in San Ramón, Costa Rica in the fall of 2015. To make a long story short, it was the most fantastic experience of my life. My host family was nothing short of fantastic. The friends I made have remained some of my closest. The pictures I took fill my walls and photo albums and the memories I made are some of my most cherished ones.
I could go on singing praises but I want to tell you what happened after my study abroad program. It had been about a year and I really wanted to go back and visit my friends and family. I was homesick for San Ramón.
My sister agreed to take a winter break trip with me and we spent several days at my host family’s house. We had a marvelous time, and I got the chance to show my sister some of my favorite places, people, and food. The USAC site staff were out of the office for the break but I was still able to see some of my old teachers and cafeteria ladies!
On the last day of our trip, at 9:00 pm, while eating dinner in the hostel, a girl asked us to watch her food while she went to the bathroom. She returned and ended up sitting with us because she was all alone. We started talking and she told me that she had just finished up a 6-month naturalist guide internship in the Monteverde Cloud Forest as a naturalist guide. As an ecology major, I found this possibility exhilarating!
She told me all about it, all she learned, the people she worked with, etc. Needless to say, I stayed up until 2:00 am the morning I returned from Costa Rica to finish my application! A few weeks later I got an interview and a week after that I got the position.
I leave tonight for my Costa Rica internship and I thought it was only appropriate that I contact USAC to say thank you. If it weren’t for you, I never would have gone to Costa Rica in the first place. If I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have gone back. And if I hadn’t gone back, I never would have found this incredible internship opportunity.
USAC, it’s because of you that I have connections around the world, an appreciation for travel, meeting new people, and trying new foods. It’s because of you that I am able to expand my professional experience and use this to get a dream job! I wanted to tell you my story and let you know that I am so grateful for what you do. You truly make a difference in peoples’ lives and in their futures. I will always look back fondly at my first trip abroad and I hope that there are many more to come!
Thank you, USAC,
(USAC San Ramón Fall 2015)
Want to learn more about life in San Ramon? Check out this video!