“Teaching is for me,” said Emily Reynolds, a senior multi-age Spanish education major who is studying abroad
in Costa Rica this summer. “This experience has made me excited to be back and begin student teaching … I have definitely, without a doubt, 100 percent, chosen the correct career path …”
When Reynolds chose to study in Costa Rica, she was simply fulfilling a requirement for her Spanish major to spend one semester in a Spanish-speaking country. “As scared as I was to come, I am so glad that UF has that standard because I’ve learned so much about the language and culture. I’ll be able to give my students so much more when I return.”
The Wayne, Ohio, native is a country girl at heart, and moving to the city wasn’t something she was excited about in the beginning. It was Reynolds’ first time away from home and away from the United States alone, and she admits that her first week abroad was “very rough.”
“It was scary, and I learned a lot about myself,” she said. “It was a major culture shock … For the first week, I thought this was going to be the longest three months of my life … However, now, I love it here. I get to explore a new city, see places I may never get to see again and learn Spanish to better my career. Costa Rica has turned into something better than I expected.”
When she arrived in Costa Rica, Reynolds took some advanced Spanish language classes at the Universidad Latina, Heredia, and then moved to San Jose, Costa Rica, where she is taking classes at Veritas University.
At both locations, Reynolds stayed with a host family. In San José, UF students Taylor Sowers, also an education major, and Jenna Motuza, a pharmacy major, also are living with the same host family.
“I love exploring and finding new things,” said Reynolds. “I am so glad I’ve come here for the summer because it has really made me grow as a person, and I think that is the most beneficial aspect of this experience. I now know that I can live on my own, travel the world and see everything it has to offer without being scared. I am loving everything about this experience. I get to live in a new culture, learn a new language and meet so many great people. It’s truly a blessing to be able to have an experience like this.”
Reynolds noted that the experience is encouraging to do more than teach. She wants to encourage children to study abroad and see the world, to overcome their fears of leaving home.