The first half of my Conservation Marine Biology course here in Costa Rica has been an amazing experience so far. I arrived in San Jose a few days early and was able to meet my host mum, who is the loveliest person. 

Although she doesn't speak English and I don't speak Spanish, we still have great conversations. She has the funniest cat and dog who love playing, seeking attention and wanting to sleep in bed with me. There are a total of 16 people in my course from all over Australia studying environmental sciences. They are definitely a lively bunch and laid back bunch. It has been very good having a bunch of like-minded people who all go out together and enjoy spending time with each other. Two of the girls are living with me at my homestay, and they are amazing people who are caring and outgoing. So far, I have had many opportunities to meet new people and widen my social circle. 

We spent the first few days at Veritas Universidad, where we were given our course assignments and prepared for our field trips. I have been to many countries around the world, but Costa Rica is definitely one of the most gorgeous landscapes you can image, on land and ocean! Even simply driving on the bus or catching the ferry, the sceneries never fail to amaze me. We stayed in two places for our field trips: Cirenas and Curù.  

In Cirenas, we spent most of our time on the water and beach. For two days, we were on fishing boats with the aim to capture juvenile sharks to identify measurements, sex, species, and age for conservation data collection. Nothing is cooler than seeing my first bull shark and hammerhead shark! It was very rewarding watching the sharks swim off when released back into the ocean. We also captured and measured a few rays. I found measuring the sea creatures and collecting data to be such an interesting part of this course! 

At night, we monitor the beaches for female turtles coming in to lay their eggs! At Cirenas, they conserve turtle populations by putting the new eggs into the hatchery to protect the eggs from poachers and predators. We nearly saw a turtle, but she had just back into the ocean when we reached her. Although we didn't see her, we saw her 47 eggs! 

With a quick shopping trip to Santa Teresa, we travelled to Curù where we went scuba diving and snorkelling! This has been my favourite part of the trip so far. We had the opportunity to relax on Tortuga beaches playing volleyball, eating fruits and snorkelling. At night, we swam in bio-luminescence, which was magical. We went snorkelling around reef areas to identify different species of fish, which was pretty cool. Although we only dove for a short amount of time, it was amazing- we saw a shark and many varieties of fish and marine life. 

Overall so far, aside from being seasick and very badly sunburnt (everyone was too!), this experience has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Unfortunately, today we finished our last day of our field trip, but I'm looking forward to discovering new things in San Jose! 

Hi everyone! My name is Christine and I am a 22-year-old Animal and Veterinary Biosciences student at La Trobe University in Melbourne. I love to travel and have been to 14 countries over 5 continents. I love swimming, snorkel/scuba diving, reading manga, watching anime and I love animals! I have many pets including a border collie, 3 cats, a turtle and many, many tropical fish. I work in a cattery and kennel and volunteer at Werribee Open Range Zoo. I recently did another short program trip last year to South Africa working with lots of African animals, that was an amazing experience. I am looking forward to sharing my next experience in Costa Rica studying Marine Conservation with you all.