Swanson School of Engineering Study Abroad Scholarship Blog Post Six: Keep an Open Mind

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.

I was already friends with two people going into the trip, one of which was going to be rooming with me. I honestly expected to just hang out with those two people, maybe becoming closer with the other two girls who I didn’t know that were going to be rooming with me. There are also obviously stereotypes about business and engineering students, but I wanted to keep an open mind. At first, I just didn’t see myself getting close to any of them as they all seemed different. However, when you spend every waking hour with the same 25 people, you find your similarities quickly. With there being quite a few of us, everyone found someone they could hold a decent conversation with, and I must admit I met some really cool people as the trip  progressed. 

I wish I could’ve known that this trip was an opportunity to make a dozen new friends. All of the great memories I made are filled with a bunch of people I’d never met before the pre-departure meetings. Why close yourself off to the possibility of making new friends and stick to the two you already know? It was such a silly thing to decide before even meeting the people. Even though I’ve always been on the shy side, I still found it impossible not to have fun exploring Costa Rica with them. If I were to talk to someone considering the program, I’d want to explain to the best of my ability just how close you get to people in a matter of two weeks, whether you want to or not, when you’re all going through such cool, new experiences together. 

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