Hey readers! I know from experience that it can be very stressful having to juggle academics, work, family, and friends – not to mention finding time to exercise and eat a balanced diet. Let me be your guide this summer as I combine the two while I am studying abroad.
My name is Ben Smart, and I’m beyond excited to be taking over the blog with Emily. Stacey did an awesome job keeping everyone informed with the most relevant in health and fitness, so I’ll have some big shoes to fill. As mentioned in a previous article, you’ll be seeing a lot of the same kinds of articles from me, including practical advice for getting into shape, eating right, and taking advantage of the multitude of awesome Campus Rec events.
This summer I am studying abroad in the beautiful country of Costa Rica as part of the UNC Spanish for the Medical Professions program. I flew in last week and I’ll be here for 7 weeks. My classes take place at the University of Costa Rica in San José (the capital), but I’ll be travelling around the country on the weekends to hike, zipline, and explore the rainforests and volcanic landscape. While I’m here, I’m going to try to stay healthy while stepping out of my comfort zone as much as possible. It is my hope that you all will be inspired to try new things while maintaining balance in your life. Every Monday this summer, I’ll be checking in with an article about my latest adventure. Subscribe to the blog to get the insider’s scoop about study abroad as well as health and fitness in Costa Rica!
To begin, I am living with a host family who will prepare breakfast and dinner each day for me. This is typical of many study abroad programs with UNC. My “host mother” is exceptionally warm and was open to my requests for healthy foods. Remember – even when you are not totally in control of your diet, you can respectfully find a way to make changes. While here, I have tried “gallo pinto,” a traditional Costa Rican dish of rice and beans. Fruit juices are also very common, and there are a variety of delicious fruits in Costa Rica that we do not have in the United States, like the sweet Guanábana. Street vendors sell freshly cut fruit including watermelon, papaya, and pineapple, but beware – these snacks can be contaminated with bacteria unsafe for American travellers.
Although my classes begin today, I also plan to play soccer and find a suitable gym. Until next week, Pura Vida!