Anh-Thu Truong

MHC/Goucher in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Anh-Thu Troung
Class of 2014

I’m Thu Truong. I spent the spring semester of my junior year at the Monteverde Institute in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I’ve always been interested in environment and development, and the fact that this program offers a place-based, immersive experience to explore and examine these two topics attracted me to it. I’d never been to any country in Latin America and the Caribbean, and I was curious about the region’s cultures. Before coming to Costa Rica, I heard many amazing things about it, especially its biodiversity, breath-taking nature, and peaceful environment. Finally, I wanted to practice my Spanish in a real Spanish-speaking environment. I took 3 semesters of Spanish at Mount Holyoke, the Spanish department was great, but I never really had a chance to practice it on a daily basis. The homestay component of the program is something I sought to get myself immerse in the language.

I most hoped to get myself adapted to the new culture so that I could feel like home in Monteverde. One of the things I did in order to achieve it was to force myself to speak Spanish and practice it on a daily basis. I don’t think I achieved it as much as I hoped, because I still felt little like a stranger before I left. However, I was delighted to see that my Spanish improved tremendously after three and a half months, and there were times when I could hold full conversations in Spanish with my host parents. To me that was a big achievement!

It was definitely a rewarding experience! I grew stronger and more confident in myself, in knowing that I could live well in a different culture. I learned a lot about environment and development through discussions on economic, social, and environmental issues in Costa Rica; through many field trips in and around Monteverde; and through an unforgettable experience with my homestay family and the intricate relationships they have with others in town. The friendships I had with other friends in the program, with whom I shared joys, frustrations, and sadness for three and a half months, made this experience rewarding too.

 To Learn More About This Program Contact Anh-Thu