Well as you can tell from the picture a la izquierda my last day in Costa Rica did not disappoint. In fact, it was really fun. Okay, it was sensational but so has this entire experience. I use the word “experience” instead of “trip”, because this was much more than a simple immersion abroad for spring break. I learned applicable Spanish conversational skills, new information about the Costa Rican culture, how numerous Spanish businesses are operated, and, perhaps most importantly, I learned a lot about myself in the process.
The phrase of the
trip experience was “YOLO” (as seen written in the sand with “SB ’12” in the middle). For those unfamiliar with popular hip-hop culture, this phrase is short for “You Only Live Once” and has been a staple among college students alike since Drake’s release of the song, “The Motto” off his recent album, Take Care. Before we began our excursion my friends and I promised each other we would embody this phrase and have the time of our life during spring break. “Fun” would be an understatement to describe our time these past 8 days. We really brought UNC to Costa Rica, literally and figuratively.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve really gotten close to some of the students that accompanied me on this voyage abroad. We had 3 students that were non-business majors and 1 that was in graduate school at Kenan-Flagler. All of them I had never spoken to beforehand. Now, just 8 short days later, I can call them legitimate friends. Studying abroad is truly a powerful thing. I now see why so many people endorse it.
Besides learning more about Costa Rican language, business environment, and culture, I also learned more about Myles J. Robinson during these 8 days. Anyone that really knows me will tell you I’m very humble. I genuinely count experiences like this one as blessings from God, because I know as I’m granted these wonderful opportunities they, and all my future opportunities, can just as easily be taken away from me one day. Experiences like Costa Rica make me really sit back and think about my life in a nutshell. I was actually thinking about this in the shower tonight: Assuming everything goes according to plan, I would have studied abroad through Kenan-Flagler in Costa Rica and China, completed leadership programs at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte, completed a financial internship with the Charlotte Bobcats, and be preparing to officially take over as President of the Carolina Sports Business Club all before my 3rd semester of college begins.How many students, let alone freshman, do you know can say anything similar to all that in a 5 month span? I say all that to not brag in the least bit. In fact, I share my experiences, because I aspire to inspire, hoping one day I will help positively influence someone’s life. The Assured Admission Undergraduate Business Program at Kenan-Flagler has been the biggest blessing in my life. Never would I have heard about or been brave enough to enroll in BUSI 200 (the class I’m taking that’s allowing me to come to Costa Rica) had it not been for the pre-admit program. I was walking back from the bus tonight headed home and I just looked up in the sky and had to pause for a moment. I wrote on my tumblr a while back about my very rare situation at UNC. With all the various resources and network of individuals at my disposal, I have the unique opportunity to make all my dreams become a reality in these next 3 1/2 years. Someone said to me recently, “Myles, I want to be like you one day”. Although I was very flattered due to the comment coming from one of my peers, I immediately shot the comment down with the reply, “Correction: You don’t want to be like me. You want to be better than me. Don’t use me as the measuring stick.” I honestly just consider myself a typical college student person doing very atypical things. I have dreams and ambitions, and I just try to be proactive and put an action plan to reach them in the most efficient way possible…that’s all. If that’s worthy of praise I’ll take it, but I think everyone is capable of taking a similar approach to their own life. In the spirit of “Pura Vida”, this experience has really made me appreciate the little things in my life.
When I arrived home, my host family immediately greeted me with hugs and warm smiles. I still can’t believe I’m leaving in the morning, because I literally feel like a part of this family. It’s like I’m their son/brother and I’m leaving my family to go the the United States forever. I bought my host mother and father a bag of home-grown Café Britt coffee and cup coasters as a small token of my appreciation for their hosting me this past week. I can’t thank them enough for just the small things like having my own bed, ironing my clothes, fixing me breakfast every single morning, and teaching me new Spanish words and phrases. They’re very minor in scope yet they made a big difference to me. For this and a multitude of other things, I am forever grateful for the Padilla family.
They even gave me a gift to take back to Chapel Hill with me. The boat sails represent the colors of the Costa Rican national flag. At times, when I took the time to ponder where I was, I felt like I was sailing on waves by how surreal this experience was, so the boat is ironically fitting.
I’m very grateful for my teacher, Professora Rodriguez, Mr. Lawrence Mur’ray, Mrs. Angela Dickerson, and all the other faculty and staff at Kenan-Flagler that helped make this trip possible for students like myself. I’ll leave you with this picture I took on the bus ride back from the beach. It’s a fitting ending to an amazing excursion. Next stop Beijing and Shanghai in May! Somebody pinch me, pour some water on my face….something. All this can’t be real life. Until next time….
¡Hasta luego Costa Rica and Pura Vida!