Herald JournalHerald Journal, Mar. 29, 2004

Exotic landscape is part of LP student’s visit to Costa Rica

By Heidi Stutelberg

Coffee farms, the rainforest and a tropical diet are just a few things being experienced first-hand in Costa Rica by Lester Prairie exchange student Crystal Foust.

Foust, the daughter of Ron and Tammi Foust, is attending classes at the University of Costa Rica in San Ramon, Costa Rica.

Foust enjoys many different kinds of food in Costa Rica. For example, every Monday she enjoys lunch at her host grandma’s home, who serves Olla de Carne, a popular soup containing carrots, yucca, squash, and potatoes, which is served with boiled unripe bananas.

Other typical foods the people of Costa Rica enjoy are rice and beans, which are eaten at every meal, as well as papaya and mango. Many people drink natural juices from these and other fruit, she said.

Foust enjoys field trips to the San Ramon area, visiting national parks, an organic coffee farm, and Poas Volcano, an active volcano.

The students also visit a reserve owned by the University of Costa Rica.

She has learned much about the history of coffee and how the people of Costa Rica make a living from the cash crops of coffee, bananas, and teak wood.

“Costa Rica is a very beautiful country and is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world,” she noted.

The country serves as a natural land bridge between North and South America for the migration route of plants and animals.

“The diversity of plants and animals in the rainforest is incredible,” she said.

When she first arrived, it was a bit difficult because Foust did not know Spanish, and her host family did not know English.

Dictionary in hand, her host family worked with Crystal to help her better understand them.

Her host family has been very understanding through this process, she said.

“They have made the adjustment 10 times better,” Tammi Foust commented.

Crystal’s host family lives in San Ramon, a city of about 67,000. Her host father is an industrial engineer and her host mother is an accountant.

Foust has a brother Gustavo, 12, and two sisters, Tatiana and Daniella, ages 10 and eight.

Relatives of her host family are very close, she said. With most of the extended family living in San Ramon, they often get together for lunch or dinner on Sundays.

Crystal’s host family likes to go to the beach on the weekends.

The SCSU students are studying sustainability and the environment, tropical ecology, environmental field work, Latin American studies and Spanish.

Foust’s wish to study abroad has allowed her to fulfill a few classes for her environmental studies minor. She’s also majoring in community development as a junior at SCSU.

Foust recommends a study abroad program to anyone considering attending college.

The experience allows a person to learn about a different culture and lifestyle, earn college credits as well as traveling on their own and meeting new people. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

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