¡Pura vida! =)

Posted on July 27,2012 by latinomentalhealth

This is Valerie, Becca W, and Zach writing from Costa Rica!

It has been almost 1 week since arriving in Costa Rica and I am so thankful to be here. Truthfully, this is the best-organized program I have been fortunate enough to participate in. My host mother, her daughter who is just a few years older than me and her 10-year-old daughter are the most wonderful hostesses! They have driven me to many of the surrounding counties of Costa Rica and have been introducing me to different important cultural sites. Since I am with a family that happens to have a car, the travel is pretty easy. However, even when we are home, my host family sits with me and discusses or suggests many different sites on the map and interesting places to go with classmates. Also, I am amused that when we eat at home, we have traditional Costa Rican food prepared by the host mom, but when we have gone out to different cities or the mall, we eat American food. There is quite a mix of everything here, different than what I anticipated before my arrival.
My clinical experience in the Clínica UNIBE this week have been wonderful as I was introduced to the intake process as it is done here in Costa Rica, as well as gain exposure to two diagnoses completely new to me: primary insomnia and necrophobia. It is interesting to observe how many similarities there are between our approaches from the States and how the ticos approach mental health, while also gaining an appreciation for the differences.
Hopefully all of the wonderful learning will continue to be just as great throughout the remainder of the trip! ¡Pura vida!
-Valerie, 2nd year MA Counseling, LMHP

La Comida en Costa Rica
One of the aspects of Costa Rica I was most anticipating was the food. I was excited to try the Costa Rican "staple," gallopinto (rice and beans) and was pleasantly surprised. This dish can be served with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, accompanied by a protein and a vegetable. My host mom enjoys cooking and insists that everything should be made from organic groceries, and from scratch. Even salad dressing! She makes the most delicious dinners; I'm so lucky to be living with a good cook! While there are American restaurants (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and Subway) close by, nothing compares to a home cooked Costa Rican meal. I'm looking forward to trying many more meals and enjoying a lot more (exquisite) coffee (café con leche) before I leave. ¡Buen Provecho!
~Becca W, 3rd year PsyD, LMHP