My New Forever Friends

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By Imani Wright | ICDS Costa Rica, Spring 2020

When I began this study abroad journey, I had no idea what to expect. I assumed it would be mostly women, but I did not know the personalities that would make up my study abroad group. At orientation, I was greeted by the administrative assistant of the program, Naya Aguirre, along with seven other amazing women that made up my program. In addition to my host family and classmates, Naya made the biggest impact on my experience and life. I admire this woman so much. From the moment we arrived in Costa Rica, Naya always made everyone in our program feel special and loved. Whenever I was confused, I could message her for clarity. Whenever I had a concern, she was there to listen and advise. Naya taught me so much about how to live with no true regrets and unapologetically in myself. Another extremely impactful woman from my experience was Nina Brenes, the queen of aesthetics for my program. I did not formally meet Nina until a month into my program, but I knew she would be a long-time friend once I did. Nina taught me that going for what you want is always more important than what you may think is the most rational decision. She is such a warm, kind soul, that I truly loved spending time with. I loved bonding with Naya and Nina at the ICDS office. We would watch movies, share a pizza from Aroma y Sabor, discuss our weekends, and have stimulating conversations about life together.

This photo was taken after participating in the ICDS tradition of placing foot/handprints on the wall of the program office along with everyone’s signatures

I do not have the words to truly describe the impact the other seven women had on me. I can say, however, that every single one of them have made a lasting impact on me that I could never forget. Each woman brought a different personality, perspective, and passion for the subject, but everyone added something unique to the group dynamic. I did not expect to love them as much as I do, but I am so happy I do. Before this trip, I had lost a lot of faith in humanity and had very little hope for the future of the world. It was not until I met these women that I realized there are people who really do see the beauty in this world and that energy is contagious. For over two months, I was surrounded by motivated women looking to enter various fields of study and work but all make a positive difference in our society somehow. It was inspiring being around these women and I was reminded of the importance of healthy bonds instead of allowing others’ negativity to interfere with my joy and happiness.

I miss every single one of these amazing women everyday, and I hope to see them very soon!