Study Abroad

Maggie Yaddof

Maddie Yaddof 1Name: Maggie Yaddof

Major: Environmental Health

Minor: Chemistry

Year: Senior

Study Abroad program name: Environmental and Forest Sciences Costa Rica

Term of the program: Early Fall 2013

Why did you study abroad? I decided to study abroad because I wanted to connect my studies to the physical world. I didn’t want to read about the Red Queen Hypothesis, I wanted to see it. I didn’t want to look at pictures of exotic birds, I wanted to take pictures of them. What better way to understand the sciences than to go to one of the most biologically diverse places in the world? 

What were your expectations going into the program? I was initially expecting more time to be spent in a “classroom” setting, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that the only classroom we set foot in was the rain forest. As an environmental science program, all of our learning was done outdoors (unless it was pouring rain). We learned on the go which is something I quickly learned to appreciate.

What was most surprising to you? I was surprised by how welcoming the Ticos were. They were eager to talk with us, get to know us, and show us what their country had to offer. I had read that they can be wary of foreigners, but found it to be quite the opposite.

What was your favorite food/dish while you were abroad? The bananas and plantains! Fried or caramelized plantains are a staple in Costa Rican cuisine. A lot of people had plantains or bananas growing in their backyard, and once you have a fresh banana you will never want to eat anything else. They are simple fruits but the Ticos find elegant ways to dress them up.