Janet Chamberlain - Costa Rica

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Janet Chamberlain in Costa Rica

Why should I study off-campus?
You should study off-campus because Geneva College is just a portion of Beaver Falls, like the Pittsburgh area is only one piece in a global perspective. It doesn't matter where you go. Costa Rica or Kingman, AZ. Just go! You need to get outside of what you have known your entire life and experience it. After you have this experience I guarantee you will be better prepared to be a graduate. You will have a larger perspective on life and will care about things that you never knew existed.

What was the best part of your semester abroad?
They were the worst parts. It was the part where I realized that there was more to this life than my little concerns and objectives. The point where I was sitting in my class room in Costa Rica, thinking back to the USA, realizing that many of them will never think beyond themselves. They will never come to know the name of a country (or come to know the country well) that had become dear to my heart.

What was the most challenging aspect of being off-campus for a semester?
Everyone who knew me from back home was there. The people who knew how I thought and how I processed weren't there to discuss all the things that I had come to learn. Especially the things in my life that I had being challenged in, but that is part of the growing and maturing process. Learning to process and come to conclusions on your own.

Where or in what ways did you see God while you were abroad?
The people. The love.

What do you miss most from your time away?
Again, the people. Over four months you don't realize how close you can get to someone, if you let them.

What did you learn about yourself while abroad?
I learned I don't like myself very much. Don't take that in the wrong way! But really, I'm not very happy with what I have become. I feel a lot of it is because of my culture, even my Christian culture. I realized I need to love more and be more open minded.

How has your view of your home culture changed or been reaffirmed?
A lot of ways. I now question everything about our culture… and others as well. I think we shouldn't take everything at its word, especially the media. Our culture uses media as a crutch… well, obviously… that leaves me very wary about our culture.

Would you do it all again?

What was the best thing you ate, experienced, or learned?
I had rice and beans (gallo pinto) every day. I loved it. I came home and found myself craving it. All of the food was delicious.

Is it easy to apply?
I did not have any problems. If you do have problems any one of the staff at Geneva will help you. Ann and Mrs. P are awesome.

What is the most important thing to take with me?
Bible (in both languages, if possible) and actually use it! I should have more.

What was something unexpected or unanticipated that happened during your experience that you learned from?
Learning about who I was. I thought I was all set to go because I had been to London, Brazil, Puerto Rico… but I wasn't. You just have to realize that no matter how well you prepare… you aren't. Be prepared for failure and when that happens don't get angry at yourself… turn to God. Otherwise you're going to find yourself depressed, angry and bitter.