Soaring Through with Claudia

Claudia Moreno is a senior at Cal Lutheran who’s currently abroad in Costa Rica, where she is studying at Universidad Veritas. She’s an Interdisciplinary Educational Studies major with a minor in Spanish. She decided she wanted to become a teacher when she first started tutoring her sophomore year of high school. Claudia worked as a summer school tutor and was placed with incoming fifth graders, and still remembers the faces her students made whenever she was able to explain to them something they didn’t understand; she can still clearly hear the “ooh’s” and “aaa’s” they would make and how much joy it brought her. From that point forward, she knew she wanted to work with students and help them fall in love with learning. Read on to learn more about Claudia and how studying abroad is going for her!

Her Campus at Cal Lutheran: What do you plan to do in the future?

Claudia Moreno: In the near future, I would love to become a third-grade teacher, specifically serving children from low-income homes. I would also love to support the English learner population, as I was an English learner myself. Eventually, I would love to become a school principal or a superintendent, but that’s still a long-ways from where I am now. (A girl can dream, right?)

HCCLU: What made you decide to study abroad?

CM: I have always wanted to travel and get to know more of the world we live in. The fact that I was able to do that and also fulfill my educational requirements made this a perfect opportunity!

HCCLU: Why did you pick that specific place?

CM: Costa Rica is actually known to be one of the happiest places in the world, and I can definitely see why. There are so many beautiful waterfalls, clear beaches, and green national parks. The primary language is also Spanish, so I am able to practice that here too.

HCCLU: What has been your favorite part so far?

CM: My favorite part has been traveling on the weekends with friends. We have ridden bikes down the Caribbean coast, we’ve seen sloths and we’ve also been able to hold starfishes!

HCCLU: Best memory so far/something that has stood out to you?

CM: My favorite memory so far has been visiting Panamá a couple weeks ago. On one of the nights there, we passed by a place that rented ATVs, and it seems as if destiny wanted us to rent them because the employee decided to stay open another hour for us. We were able to drive around the small island of Bocas del Toro and see all of the shops and restaurant lights. It was an unforgettable experience!

HCCLU: Best food you’ve eaten?

CM: My favorite food here has been gallo pinto! It is basically a mix of rice and beans, that’s sautéed with different spices and herbs. Definitely an essential in any Tico household!

HCCLU: Did you get homesick?

CM: Just recently, I actually got food poisoning from eating sushi (I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea). For those couple of days, I really missed being home in my own bed and space. It’s not a very nice experience to be throwing up in the communal bathroom of a hostel. Although I do miss my life back home, I know it’s definitely a privilege to be here, so that keeps me going!

HCCLU: What advice would you give to a current student who’s trying to decide if they should study abroad?

CM: Leaving to study abroad is such a scary decision to make because you leave behind your daily life. For me, however, it has been such a growing experience. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone so many times, whether it was asking for directions or singing in karaoke night. You just have to peel the band-aid and do it. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

HCCLU: What have you learned while being abroad?

CM: I have learned that there is so much to be happy about. When we were on a small island in Panamá, there was a little boy who found so much joy in playing with a stick. We actually ended up offering him pineapple and his face lit up and he was so grateful. That moment was so special because I feel like we get so caught up in our day to day that we forget to be thankful for the little things.

Images courtesy of Claudia Moreno.