Livin' La Pura Vida

By Harry Liu

  • Photo of students shopping at market in Costa Rica
Visiting a fería, or local market, with my host family—just one of the many unforgettable memories that I have had this summer

Studying abroad in Costa Rica gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in an entirely new culture. The Ticos, what the Costa Ricans refer to themselves as, live by the motto "Pura Vida,” or Pure Life. Staying with a Tico family for a month allowed me to experience and live out the Pura Vida lifestyle.

The photograph was taken during one of my visits to a fería, or local market. The first thing I did with my host family was visit a nearby fería. Going to the market is truly a social experience. 

We chatted with each other the whole walk to the fería. In addition, I met some neighbors there, and my host mother introduced me to them. Afterwards, we inspected the locally grown fruits and vegetables of each stand and talked to the vendors. For dinner, in addition to the rice and beans, I had a full plate of fruits, which we just bought together. There were papayas, mangos, pineapples, and watermelon slices!

The Pura Vida lifestyle is best summed up as the combination of the many daily experiences that Tico has. The experiences I’ve had taught me that in order to fully immerse yourself in and understand a culture, you have to keep an open mind, be flexible, and completely embrace it. In other words, you have to challenge yourself to try new things. 

The photograph of the fería shows just one of the many unforgettable memories that I have had this summer. It is the everyday interactions with my host family that I cherish and will miss the most!

Harry Liu
Duke in Costa Rica
Summer 2016

MORE STORIES

A Gem of All Cities: Alicante, Spain

By Jason Kim

One memory from this program that will always stick with me is when my host mom complimented me on how much my Spanish had developed. I can still remember how nervous I was walking into her small apartment, stuttering between every word of Spanish I thought I knew. 

Read More

Mistakes Welcome: Let Go, Learn More

By Lucy St. Charles

Before going to Costa Rica, I was a perfectionist. I never wanted to make a single mistake while I spoke. During the program, it didn’t feel like I was making much progress. For weeks, I’d stumble over what I was trying to say. I didn’t notice a change until my last night...the fear that had been constantly holding me back from making mistakes was gone.

Read More

The Professor Made All the Difference

By Andrew Padilla

I decided to participate in Duke in Costa Rica due to raving reviews from previous students on the program. They talked about how incredibly immersive the program was and how much fun they had. I was looking for a unique way to spend my summer and this program was the perfect opportunity.

Read More

Amazing Connections and Friendships in Just One Month

By Carter Lovvorn

The great thing about this program is that you get a full overview of the way the public health system works in a different country. You don’t have to be super into global health—there is a breadth of study and opportunity on the program. And you will still have plenty of time for activities with your host family and to explore Costa Rica!

Read More

Livin' La Pura Vida

By Harry Liu

The Pura Vida lifestyle is best summed up as the combination of the many daily experiences that Tico has. The experiences I’ve had taught me that in order to fully immerse yourself in and understand a culture, you have to keep an open mind, be flexible, and completely embrace it. In other words, you have to challenge yourself to try new things.

Read More

MORE STORIES

A Gem of All Cities: Alicante, Spain

By Jason Kim

One memory from this program that will always stick with me is when my host mom complimented me on how much my Spanish had developed. I can still remember how nervous I was walking into her small apartment, stuttering between every word of Spanish I thought I knew. 

Read More

Mistakes Welcome: Let Go, Learn More

By Lucy St. Charles

Before going to Costa Rica, I was a perfectionist. I never wanted to make a single mistake while I spoke. During the program, it didn’t feel like I was making much progress. For weeks, I’d stumble over what I was trying to say. I didn’t notice a change until my last night...the fear that had been constantly holding me back from making mistakes was gone.

Read More

The Professor Made All the Difference

By Andrew Padilla

I decided to participate in Duke in Costa Rica due to raving reviews from previous students on the program. They talked about how incredibly immersive the program was and how much fun they had. I was looking for a unique way to spend my summer and this program was the perfect opportunity.

Read More

Amazing Connections and Friendships in Just One Month

By Carter Lovvorn

The great thing about this program is that you get a full overview of the way the public health system works in a different country. You don’t have to be super into global health—there is a breadth of study and opportunity on the program. And you will still have plenty of time for activities with your host family and to explore Costa Rica!

Read More

Livin' La Pura Vida

By Harry Liu

The Pura Vida lifestyle is best summed up as the combination of the many daily experiences that Tico has. The experiences I’ve had taught me that in order to fully immerse yourself in and understand a culture, you have to keep an open mind, be flexible, and completely embrace it. In other words, you have to challenge yourself to try new things.

Read More