April’s Country of the Month: Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is a lush and beautiful land with extravagant scenery and rich culture. The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish. The capital city is San José, with a population of about 300,000 people, located in the geographic center of the country. Costa Rica has a tropical climate throughout the whole year, and would offer a nice break from Oklahoma’s unpredictable winter weather. Students may have heard much about Costa Rica’s advanced environmental policies and awareness, or about the country’s unique lack of official military personnel. Explore the nation, and experience Costa Rican culture and cuisine through the opportunities listed below.

Faculty Led Programs:

College of Human Sciences
While visiting various cities such as San Jose, Ciudad Cariari, Playa Hermosa, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, and many more, you can receive academic credit in the beautiful Costa Rica. Introduction to International Experience is a one credit hour course that will advance leadership skills while experiencing the culture and landscape of Costa Rica! For more information, email Jordan.garriott@okstate.edu.

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Affiliated Approved Programs:

Visit these sites to learn more about how an affiliated program can get you to Costa Rica, or email abroad.okstate.edu to get information on how to apply.

SOL Education Abroad: http://www.soleducation.com/costa-rica

Heredia

AIFS: http://www.aifsabroad.com/costarica/

San Jose

CISabroad: http://www.cisabroad.com/study-abroad/costa-rica

San Jose (Internships available)

API: http://www.apistudyabroad.com/programs/costa-rica/

San Joaquin

San Jose

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Country of the Month: South Africa

By: Carlie Pearson

South Africa has a rich history and culture based on its multiethnic society.  But the diversity of the country expands beyond its population, and is exemplified in the variety of attractions to tourists and students alike. For those interested in wildlife, South Africa is an exemplary location to study African ecosystems, especially at the country’s world– renowned Kruger National Park. For those interested in a more urban scene, the country offers  Johannesburg, its ‘City of Gold,’ including endless entertainment, shopping, as well as freedom tours focusing on the country’s historic apartheid struggle. South Africa became independent of the United Kingdom on 31 May 1961.

Students can explore the wonders of South Africa through Affiliated programs including AIFS, CEA, and CIS, among others.

http://www.goabroad.com/study-abroad/search/south-africa/study-abroad-1

Study Abroad/National Student Exchange

School of International Studies

242 Student Union

Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078

85º and December

Two of the Study Abroad Office Peer Advisors decided to spend their holiday break in the countries where they studied last year. We were curious, what is it like to return?

Part I: Erin in Mexico

Erin's Photo for the Blog #2After spending a year studying abroad in Puebla, Mexico, I decided to leave the Oklahoma cold this winter and head south to Mexico for Christmas break to visit friends I had made during my exchange stay. Upon my arrival, I was promptly received and greeted by my friend Raul, whom I had met in the university, and his family, and taken to his home in the state of Morelos. The following two weeks I spent in a small pueblo, Quebrantadero, living the typical Mexican life. Mornings were always a pleasure leisurely waking up and cooking an all-natural Mexican breakfast accompanied by a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. Breakfasts were made with fresh produce purchased from the local markets, leading me to realize I should probably change some of my eating habits back home. My afternoons were usually spent visiting nearby towns and pueblos magicos, small towns across Mexico that have been named for the symbolism, history, and events they offer. I loved strolling through these towns admiring the local crafts, artwork, and food.

Leading up to Christmas Eve beginning December 16th, every night there was a “posada” held at various houses among the town.  These posadas are traditional Mexican holidays represented by traditional Catholic songs followed by tamales and ponche, similar to apple cider.  Tamales being one of my favorite Mexican foods, I thoroughly enjoyed filling up on them at the posadas.  I celebrated Christmas the 24th, la nochebuena, with a classic dinner at home including codfish, pasta, salad, and apple salad for dessert.  We attended Christmas Eve mass at the church in the town’s center with traditions similar to my own, except at the end receiving a bag of goodies and animal crackers.

One afternoon we were invited to a baptism party; never had I seen such an extravagant party for a one year old baby. There was a mariachi, dancing, dinner, tossing of coins for the children to receive, and much camaraderie between all the guests. Same thing goes for the wedding we attended the following night.  An outdoor wedding in December with a live band and palm trees was nothing less than enjoyable. I even got my turn at a piñata during a carne asada, or barbeque, that we had among friends and family. However, there was one aspect that didn’t seem quite right during my Christmas stay, the fact that it was 85 degrees, sunny, and perfect! I soaked up the sun, food, and life in December during my break in Morelos.

By: Erin Chancey