I'm sorry it has taken me so long to post about Costa Rica! Now that I'm back in an academic setting, it's gotten much more difficult to find time to blog.
First, some quick information. My study abroad program is the Organization for Tropical Studies undergraduate semester-long program. We will spend one to two weeks at something like six different biological research stations in different parts of Costa Rica (and one in Nicaragua). In addition, we have a three-week homestay in San Jose, during which we will take intensive Spanish classes. Besides Spanish, our courses consist of two tropical biology courses and an environmental policy course. Each day, we eat breakfast at 6:30 and usually head out into the field. We normally have about three classes per day, with everything wrapping up at about 8:30 PM. The days are extremely long but fun, since much of our learning takes place outside. There are 22 students in my program, and we travel with three professors and a TA.
For the last two weeks, we've been staying at the Las Cruces biological station (and Wilson Botanical Garden) in southern Costa Rica. Among other topics, we've studied plant and insect taxonomy, the history and economy of Costa Rica, and forest fragmentation and restoration. One of our projects consisted of finding and identifying ten insects to family, and this morning we had a test in which we identified plants while walking through the forest.
So far, I've had an amazing time here. Our days are filled with hilarious falls in the mud, random sing-a-longs, "treacherous" river crossings (not), and a group cohesiveness that can only result from spending every waking (and sleeping) moment together.