When students decide to attend the University of Alabama, there are many motivations. People want a big school, football, Greek life, countless student organizations, and unmatched school pride. For some, this may just be the best decision for them financially. When I chose to attend UA, I knew that this would be the school that gave me the best opportunities to achieve my goals. One of these goals was to study abroad.

There are dozens of study abroad programs to choose from that it can be exciting and confusing at the same time. I had never traveled abroad before, so I was completely overwhelmed with the options set before me. I wanted to go to Paris or London or Barcelona, maybe even a tour of Italy. To me, studying abroad meant being at a European university and traveling to neighboring countries on the weekends. As a struggled to decide on a specific program, I came across one I never would have expected to be such a perfect fit for me: UA in Costa Rica.

This program, hosted by the UA Geography department, was a six-week experience in a fairly remote rainforest in Costa Rica- a far cry from a luxurious European city. Being a Geography major myself, the courses couldn’t have been a more perfect fit into my graduation plan. I still wanted the dream experience I had planned in my head, but I also knew that 6 weeks in a tropical Latin American country was the challenge and change of scenery I would need.