Hi, my name is Leanne Boody. I am a rising sophomore in the Swanson School of Engineering. I participated in Pitt’s Plus3 program studying in Costa Rica for two weeks to learn more about the country, with a focus on the coffee and banana supply chain.
There were in some ways a lot of similarities between Costa Rica and the US, but there were of course many differences as well. I would say the largest difference I found was in the people. The people are what make a place unique through the traditions they keep, the things they believe, and the way they act. The idea of “mañana” is the relaxed approach Costa Ricans (Ticos) take when it comes to accomplishing things. As a chronically late person, the idea of times being guidelines is a blessing. Americans are always in such a rush to move onto the next task, day, or chapter of their lives. Ticos seem to prioritize quality of life, familial bonds, and taking care of their Earth and health over speed and efficiency. Their wide span of wildlife really allows you to see why they like to stop and look around every once in a while. Their public parks are all filled with exercise equipment, abundant flowers and trees, and most importantly people.
On a large scale, it was interesting to be in a country that focuses highly on education and preservation. Costa Rica got rid of the military in 1948 and invested the money into education. This is a very different approach to the US, as we continue to invest money into nuclear power and furthering your education becomes a pricier and pricier choice. I must commend Costa Rica on their efforts to preserve wildlife for future generations and their time taken to teach the importance of making choices with sustainability in mind.