Kayley Heller, '16

B.S. in Finance

Why did you choose to study abroad while at Grove City College?
I always enjoyed traveling, but before studying abroad the longest I had been out of the country was two weeks. I took Spanish classes throughout high school and always enjoyed the language, but realized that if I wanted to improve any further, I needed to spend an extended amount of time in a Spanish-speaking country.

How did you choose the country you went to?
I went to Spain in high school and loved it but decided I wanted to go somewhere different. After talking with a few people who studied in or traveled to Costa Rica and discovering that Costa Ricans are the happiest people on earth, I knew that it was where I wanted to go. The friendly people, ability to travel throughout the country easily, and the beauty of the place all played into my decision.

Share one unique experience that happened while you were abroad.
My entire time abroad was one big adventure. One unique experience that is special to me is when my two worlds collided. Over Semana Santa (Holy Week), my family had the opportunity to visit me and travel throughout parts of Costa Rica. By that point I had already become close with my host family. When my host mom heard that my family was coming over, she was beyond excited to meet them and invited them over for dinner. Despite the fact that my family barely speaks any Spanish and my host family barely speaks any English, it was awesome to see my two “families” come together. I was able to share part of my experience abroad with my family, and my host parents were able to see where I came from.

How has it changed you?
More than anything, I became much more confident. Being abroad stretched me and challenged me in so many ways. I learned to take risks, to be bold, and to step outside my comfort zone. The "pura vida" (no worries) mindset is something that I took with me from my experience in Costa Rica. I have learned to live in the moment and to appreciate the little things.

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