I am incredibly grateful for receiving the Thomas Angelo Honors Scholarship for the Plus3 program and it has been an immense help with affording the opportunity to visit Costa Rica. Without the funds awarded to me, I would not have had the chance to experience this beautiful country in the same way. With less financial burden to worry about, I was able to spend more on my trip, allowing me to gain an appreciation and love for the Costa Rican people and their culture.
While abroad, we engaged in an in-depth study of the coffee industry and how all of the intricate components work together. We began our days by walking from our homestays to the local university and taking a bus from there to our destination for the day. This included multiple coffee farms, producers, roasters, and other coffee related locations. Our days typically concluded with a reflection assignment and dinner at our homestays. Ultimately, my time abroad was incredibly beneficial and life changing. Although I have not declared my major, I plan on studying finance within the business school. I hope to learn all I can throughout the next three years not only to impress my future employers, but primarily to discover where my future career is headed and how to execute my job to the best of my abilities.
During the program, I learned a lot about the coffee industry, particularly the many stages of coffee production. Coffee begins in its pure form as beans at a farm. The coffee farms typically sell the beans to the roasting companies who actually roast the coffee into one of the different roasts such as light, medium, or dark. The roasted coffee then ends up at either local Costa Rican businesses, or across the world in small to large coffee companies. While this information was incredibly useful in my understanding of the coffee industry, the major lesson I was taught while in Costa Rica was that while there are many different types of coffee, the best coffee is the kind which tastes best to you. Once again, I am very thankful for the honor of receiving the Thomas Angelo Honors Scholarship and I fully believe that it has helped me obtain the most I can from my education at the University of Pittsburgh.