Reach Higher: Pura Vida

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I have spent the majority of my life in Redding and even though I was not born here, I consider this city my home. I grew up, went to school, and lived the life of a typical teenager in Redding. I attended Grant Middle School and then studied at Shasta High School.  Just like many other people my age, I was unsure about my life and what direction I wanted it to take.

I graduated from Shasta High in 2010, and college and the future did not really cross my mind until my senior year. Graduating high school is a very big and intimidating step in the lives of young adults, and for me, it was extremely exciting, but once the excitement wore off, I found myself very nervous about what the future had in store for me. I always knew that I did not want to move too far away from home, so I applied to a handful of California State Universities, not knowing exactly what university I wanted to attend. Eventually, I made my decision to attend CSU Chico.

Moving away from home and going out into the real world was exciting but tough. Even though Chico is smaller than Redding, I felt like I was overwhelmed by all the people, classes and stress. As timed passed, I began to feel more comfortable with my surroundings and more accustomed to college life. With this newfound relaxation, I found myself looking for a new experience that would challenge me.  Much to my surprise, CSU Chico, the university I decided to attend last minute, is the number one college in California for Study Abroad. Even though I have traveled before, Northern California was my home, and it had never crossed my mind that I could live in a different country. In my sophomore year at Chico, I decided that this was my opportunity to challenge myself and take the next step towards my future. One thing led to another, and I found myself signing up to study abroad, and I was accepted to a university in Costa Rica.

As I sit here writing from Heredia, Costa Rica, my home for the last seven months, I still cannot wrap my mind around this dream that I am living. My life is a fantasy that I actually get to be a part of.  Coming into this experience, I had no idea what to expect, and to be completely honest, I was terrified. Coming from a rather small town, I did not know what would happen in the future or what my options were. Now, I feel as though the world is in the palm of my hands. I have so much more perspective and I feel more open-minded. As a junior at CSU Chico, I am living in paradise while I further my education. I have never been happier in my entire life, and this experience never would have happened if I didn’t break out of my shell and go outside my comfort zone. It was hard, but worth it, so don’t be afraid.

Mychal Garcia is a 20 year old Chico State Junior who is currently spending a year studying abroad in Costa Rica. She loves to spend time with her friends, family, and her dachshund puppy named Rosie.

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar `AJacoby says:

    My daughter went to live n Vienna for a year when she was 17. Thank you Rotary Scholarship. When she came back, her comment was that she believed every kid in America should spend at least six months living abroad sometime before they were twenty. Her comments mirrored many of yours. What a terrifying, enriching, maturing, educational experience. Good for you for taking the step out of your comfort zone. You'll never, ever regret it, I promise!

  2. Avatar Mary says:

    I am so proud of you and so happy to have worked with you my dear. You are poised to accomplish anything you set your mind to. Congratulations on taking the risk and I'm so happy for you that you've been able to have this experience!!!

  3. Avatar Canda says:

    What a fabulous opportunity. You're a wise young woman to broaden your horizons like this, and I wish you all the best as you learn, grow, and experience all life has to give. It is what you make it, and it sounds like you're giving it 100%. Once you've stepped out of your comfort zone as you have, it'll get easier and easier to forge ahead to other opportunities you may have otherwise seen as out of reach for you. I believe as people get older, they don't regret things they've done as much as those things they wish they had done. Go for it, Mychal, and please stay safe!

  4. Avatar Darcie says:

    Love hearing from the young people!

  5. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Go for the goal Mychal. It can be a challange and difficult at times as you well know but, the end result is well worth it. My very best and much success in your future, young lady. Stay the course!

    ——Budd

  6. Avatar Magnolia Neighborhoo says:

    Thank you for sharing your study abroad thoughts of Costa Rica. Travel experiences change and expand a person's perspective. Make life-long friends! Continue to travel during your entire life! I'm so glad I haven't let my family's and parent's fears dissuade me from travelling 48 U.S.A states and 19 countries of this big, wonderful world so far! Oh, please tell us more! Go for it and best of luck!