Rachael Maloney

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Why did you choose this program?

I chose to study abroad with Greenheart Travel because they offer an immersion experience that is comprised of many opportunities that appeal to me.

During my time with Greenheart, I have been able to participate in everyday life as a local, as well as explore Costa Rica with exchange students from all over the world. Studying abroad has exposed me to other cultures, languages, and locations, and that would not have been possible without this program.

Greenheart has given me my first, of hopefully many, extended adventures abroad.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

On weekdays, I wake up at six in the morning and get ready in accordance with the family bathroom schedule (six people vs. one bathroom can get a little tricky!).

I walk past coffee farms on my way to school with my two host brothers, and attend classes from 7:00 am until about 4:00 pm. After school, I do homework, if assigned any, and spend a lot of time talking with my host family and helping my mom make dinner.

My family and I usually do chores around the house on weekends, and occasionally visit other cities or go hiking.

Although every participant’s day-to-day life will look different, many host families value time spent together, and school will likely take up the majority of your week.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Keep a journal. It does not matter how many pictures you take or how often you update your online blog; there are things you will likely forget.

I am so thankful every time I read through old journal entries and am reminded of small, beautiful moments that I would have otherwise forgotten. Recording your thoughts and opinions is also a great way to document your growth and see how you have changed over time.

Even if journalling does not become your new found hobby, it can save your future self from forgetting the small things that make your time spent abroad so special.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time abroad that you would like to share?

Although it is impossible to choose a single memory, I can narrow it down to a few:

  • Learning how to cook traditional Costa Rican dishes with my host mom.
  • Exploring places within Costa Rica, as well as Nicaragua, with an incredible group of exchange students from different countries all over the world.
  • Singing ranchera music during a karaoke night at a friend’s house.