Amanda Barger spent part of her summer in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, with EF International Language Centers.
Why did you choose to participate in a summer program?
I knew that an overnight program in a foreign country was exactly what I wanted to do. I knew that seeing all aspects of life in another country would be beneficial to my learning experience. I believe that experiencing everything from breakfast to a midday snack to dinner is essential to learning about the people and culture of a country.
How did you decide which program or camp was right for you?
I knew I had to find a program that really gave me everything that I wanted out of a trip abroad. For me, three essentials were: learning the language, becoming familiar with the culture, and trying new foods. EF International Language Campuses really checked off all the boxes and when I got to Costa Rica they exceed them far more than I could ever have imagined.
What was a typical day in your summer program or at camp?
A typical day at EF Tamarindo included waking up, attending class for an hour, taking a quick dip in the pool during break, followed by two or three more classes depending on the day’s class schedule. Classes were followed by adventures in the city. This included, but was not limited to, surfing lessons, volunteering at a nature preserve (there are sea turtles and monkeys in Tamarindo), shopping, or even checking out nearby cities. After a day exploring it was back by the pool to catch some sun and to cool off before dressing up for dinner and night time activities.
What was the most memorable moment of your summer?
One of my most memorable moments from my trip was facing my fear of zip-lining, I remember being absolutely terrified and I had to go tandem with the guide for the first one in order to push myself to continue. Once I got over my fear I was able to enjoy the beautiful views and living the true "pura vida" lifestyle.
What advice do you have for teens looking at summer programs or camp?
Don't be afraid to take the risk, experience everything that a country has to offer. Try new things and speak to locals in their native language, even if you aren’t confident yet. Go on as many trips as possible but most importantly, do what will make your trip memorable. After you come home you will be telling stories of your adventure and you might even influence someone else to go on a trip like yours. Remember it's your life and it's your job to live it to the fullest!