Thursday, June 26, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Costa Rica

It's been a week and half since I've left Costa Rica. This entire trip had passed by so fast and was more than I've ever imagine it would be. As an individual I have grown that much more cultured by exploring around Costa Rica. As a class we've done plenty of hiking and site seeing, meet new people and learn a lot about the tropics. Alex is professor Wasko's friend who was kind enough to show us around the country and help us whenever we need it. She gave us lectures, brought us to exotic food places, and brought us to her home. The best part of the trip was definitely going zip lining. Unfortunately we were not able to go snorkeling but the beach made up for it... And my tan! What I'll miss the most about Costa Rica is the fresh juice and fruits you get every meal. Despite all the fun, I've learnt a lot of new things like how Costa Rica became land, climate change, animal interactions and how much professor Wasko loves baked goods. (Seriously he loves baked goods!!) This was an amazing experience that everyone should have, even if this has nothing to do with your major.

Until next time,

Deema El-Dasher

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I just got back home from Texas and haven't really spent any time at home, and I'm already excited to be leaving. I am excited and ready for my adventure in Costa Rica to start. I am interested in being in a different and new atmosphere. I cannot wait to explore and see the different type of animals, food, climate, trees, plants, music, food, and people that is there awaiting upon our arrival. I also am very excited to go and visit the rainforest, the beach, snorkeling, and zip lining. Im excited to just be doing something new and learning in a new and different way then I'm normally used to. I love that we are going to a beautiful tropic because it's new and different environment will be a motivation to want to learn and explore it's ecology! I can't wait to see what lies ahead of us in Costa Rica and explore it's natures beauty. 


-Marie Aserat

... I just realized this post never went through, but at least now you see Costa Rica had met my expectations and over!

Going to Costa Rica was definitely a blessing. Taking a class over seas has truly been an inspiration for me to want to, not only do another study of broad, but it has made me want to travel the world more. I would also love to return to Costa Rica. In Costa Rica I have done things that others can only dream and imagine. I conquered my fears of heights by going zip lining and doing the Tarzan swing. Before going to Costa Rica I would never even go in the direction of anything high up; so having the opportunity of going zip lining and actually going for it was a huge accomplishment. Also hiking is not something I normally do especially being from New York City, but to actually have the chance to go hiking to the Canyon, around Volcano's, mountains and in the jungle with professor Wasko, has truly been quite an experience. Walking to get breakfast, while having canons underneath me and monkeys crossing the bridge right next to me; has also been an interesting and great experience that Costa Rica has introduced to me. Eating fresh fruit and listening to the many species that live in Costa Rica was also wonderful. Everything about Costa Rica was amazing and the country and the people are beautiful. I would love to go back and do this trip all over again, minus the bug bites of course. I would recommend other student take this course in the future because it is really an eye opener, a great learning experience, and a beautiful place.


-Marie Aserat

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Where do I begin? Well, overall I am really happy I decided to join the group and Professor Wasko on this awesome adventure. It was definitely worth every last penny. In the beginning I wrote in my first blog that I hoped this adventure would be a life changing adventure and it was. It was more than life changing. It was a memory and an experience that I could never forget. Going on this trip to Costa Rica made me realize how much things I, as well as many others, take for granted. It opens my eyes to a life that many others forget about. This trip made me appreciate the things around me and the simple creations made on earth. From the life of trees and plants to the lives of different animal families and the cultural difference of the lives who live in Costa Rica, this trip showed me how different yet similar these lives are from the lives of plants, animal and people here in the United States. We experienced the different climate changes and how that impacts not only the forest and animals but the people of the towns as well. One thing I enjoyed the most about the trip was instead of staying in one part of the country we went around the entire country and was able to stay in several different areas. Getting a taste of the culture made me eager to come back home and study more about the cultural background in which I come from. From the music, food, mannerisms and overall their entire Costa Rican lifestyle, it made me miss Puerto Rico and the culture I left behind. There wasn't a day that I didn't learn something new. Going to Costa Rica for 10 days felt like I was down there for a month or so because there was so much to do. The people are really nice and we developed a lot of relationships with the people down there. When it was time to come back home it was super sad to say bye, but honestly those people and that country have taught me and enlightened me so much that they will continue to be with me throughout my life. This trip was a memory that will never be forgotten and because of my awesome experience I recommend everyone from all over to do the same. Even if it isn't Costa Rica, the idea of studying abroad helps to grow and think outside the box. So as they say, Chao Costa Rica. Te veo pronto! I'll be back <3


Today I literally had the best experience of my life. Professor Wasko took the group on a canopy walk as well as zip lining through the rain forest. I'm super surprised to see that everyone went through with it, but we did! The heights were incredibly high but it was an experience like no other. I kept telling everyone the one thing I wanted to before I died was to at least touch a cloud. Who would have known that during my time in Costa Rica that was my chance to do just that? I sure didn't. There were about 14 or so lines and we had to hike to all the spots. During the hike through the forest we got to see the beautiful animal and plants that surround us. We saw Capuchin monkeys to a flower known as the kiss flower that is shaped like a pair of kissing lips. As we zip lined through the first few courses everyone started to get the hang of it. The best line for me was the last one. It was the longest one but I was able to see everything. Being so far up I actually got to experience touching a cloud. Forget touching it, my entire body went through it. I got to taste it, feel it, and see the awesome view of the entire forest. It was so beautiful I couldn't even begin to describe it. After the zip lines we went on a walk on what basically was a bridge but high up in the forest. That was also a beautiful view in which we got to see the more plants and the forest life from canopy tree view. Overall, this was by far the best day I had in my life and I am super happy I came on this awesome adventure. 


PS: I forgot to mention that because of the pore WiFi connection and my horrible service this entry will be posted when I get service :) 

Costa Rica Reflection

    It has been a week as of today since I have returned back from to Connecticut from Costa Rica and although I am glad to have my own been and am familiar with all that's around me, Costa Rica will be missed. From the first night we had after getting of the plane in San Jose I knew I would enjoy this adventure. There is definitely an immediate awareness that Costa Rica moves to a different beat. I believe the first park that we visited was Miravalles National Park which was loaded with great things to see such as the hot spings/mudpits, howler monkeys, an agouti and plants such as the acacia pochote tree. Next on our list was Monte Verde where we stayed at Calandria lodge with a great view of the Gulf of Nicoya. Our class had a lot of fun here particularly when we where at Selvatura Park. Here we had a great time zip-lining though the cloud forest as well as taking a canopy tour through it afterwards. Next onto La Selva Biological Reserve which was by far the most interesting place to me because of the diversity along with the people who were there. It was nice to see scientist doing their research as opposed to just hearing about it. This experience here brought the possibility of become a scientist closer to me. it was great how everyone was there all with the same basic interest in mind. Near by we were able to get a glimpse of Alex's farm and to meet her family. The experiment that she had going on regarding forest regrowth was a fantastic opportunity for us to see the different levels of through in the forest. Some plants had grown maybe 30ft tall while others had just barely gotten a few feet off the surface within the four years since they had been planted. The end of our trip was nice and relaxing hanging out in the Caribbean beach town of Puerto Viejo. Here we relaxed on the beach, watched to opening of the world cup, ate a lot of fantastic food and had some great late nights. All in all we truly got the most out of Costa Rica seeming all the different environments and places it has to offer. I could not imagine being able to experience so much of the country in only ten days besides through this class. Ill miss Costa Rica but take all that I have learned and carry it into my future.

Colin Murphy           

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


    Our trip to Costa Rica started off on a bad footing for myself after having missing the original flight over however once finding a new flight the trip turned into a great experience one which I will never forget. It was amazing to see such a diversity of life within such a small area and well as difference in climate. From the hot and humid La Selva, the cool atmosphere of Monte Verde to the laid back Caribbean beach town Porto Viejo of Costa Rica has shown en captivate a wide range all sorts of diversity from plants and animals to human culture. I truly enjoyed not only the life which this country has sustained but the philosophy of preserving the ecosystem of Costa Rica from the native ticos which I had the pleasure of meeting and conversation with. La Selva Biological Reserve was a particularly special place which hosted a venue in which scientist could study and students could learn within the environment itself. It was wonderful to get a glimpse of what it is like to be in the field doing research something I had not been able to experience  previously. Seeing people so devoted to their work, people such as Alex who helped guide us on the trip, was great to see. We were able to see some of Alex's own experiment showed us a great example of forest regrowth. What we say in Costa Rica are things that I needed to see to truly grasp and understand. Through this course I learned and experienced more than I ever could by myself in Costa Rica. This truly has been one of the best experiences I have yet to have and look forward to returning to Costa Rica in the future.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Costa Rica So Far

Day four and Costa Rica is more beautiful and exotic than I've ever imagined. The diversity of animals can be heard just in one hike! Yesterday my class and I went zip lining at Selvatura jungle tour, this place is well known for it's zip lining, canopy walk, hummingbird garden, reptile and amphibian exhibition and more. The zip lining was an amazing experience, zipping from platform to platform not knowing what to expect or see. I cant fully describe how the feeling of zip lining was, its more of you have to try it for yourself. The scenery was breath taking; looking below you can see the whole wet forest, clouds surrounding you and the smell of crispy air. While the rest of my class walked the canopy trail, I went in a different direction and saw the reptile/ amphibian exhibition. There I saw many types of snakes and frogs. They had poison dart frogs, golden-eyed leaf frog, eyelash viper, palm viper, boa constrictors and more. After the reptile and amphibian exhibition, I walked to the hummingbird garden. There were so many hummingbirds and hummingbird feeders. These birds are very pretty and the way I like to describe their beauty is 'eye-candy.' After a long day at Selvatura jungle tour, going back to Caladaria (the place we were staying at) was the most amazing feeling ever. The people there are very friendly, the food was incredible and the view left you speechless. Leaving Caladaria was like leaving home, but that's okay because more adventures wait for my class and I at La Selva.
Until next time,
Deema El-Dasher 


This trip is going so successful!!! We're in Monteverde. So far we've seen many different cool things, such as howler and white faced monkeys ! We've seen many species of birds like hummingbirds, Red Macaws, Crested currosaws, Mot Mots, 3 wattled bell birds, and even tree creepers. We also saw common things such as cows, horses, and what not as well. Yesterday we went Ziplining, Tarzan swinging, and canopy walking all in the Selvatura cloud forest which was very exciting. We saw many different species of plants and trees with their many species of epiphytes. The amount of insects surprised me, there were so many. A couple of roaches, moths, and spiders even followed us into our rooms. And what I liked the most is the fact that we are way up in the mountains, so the view is phenomenal. And we were up in the clouds(literally). Stay tuned for our next adventure a.k.a La Selva.

-Magdalaine Manasse

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My state of mind before the trip: I'm very excited. This is my first time going to a place like this let alone taking this type of course. I've never been a fan of the "outdoors" until Professor Wasko explained to me what type of things we'll be seeing and the interactions we'll be making. I can't wait to see the many different species of plants, mammals, amphibians , insects, and especially birds because that's my assigned topic. This trip will be an amazing experience, from the moment we land, to the moment we get back on the plane back home.

-Magdalaine Manasse

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