Five Questions with Sarah Masterson


Vijay Viswanathan

Sarah Masterson is a first year Spanish teacher at Lafayette, and during her college years, she was able to study abroad in Costa Rica.

Vijay Viswanathan

Sarah Masterson is a first-year Spanish teacher here at Lafayette. When she was in college, she had the opportunity to study abroad for three months in Costa Rica.

Why did you decide to travel to Costa Rica in the first place?

I had heard about Costa Rica in high school. My high school took a trip to Costa Rica, but I wasn’t able to go on that, and it was always my goal to go to Costa Rica. I made a goal in high school that in college I would study abroad in Costa Rica, and I did, and it was the best experience ever.

Other than studying in Costa Rica, what else did you do there?

I studied abroad there for three months, I went to school and took classes in Spanish and English, and then I also traveled all over the country, seeing volcanoes, ziplining and going to the beach and the coolest thing I did was an eco-tourism field trip where we caught sea turtles, different species and then measured them and tagged them to keep an eye on the different types of biodiversity in the country.

Although you are a Spanish teacher, was trying to get through daily life in Costa Rica difficult?

It was difficult at times, but it got easier as the months went on because I got more comfortable with my Spanish, and my Spanish definitely got better, but I made a lot of silly mistakes, and there were a lot of misunderstandings that were embarrassing at times, but it [the mistakes] helped me get through it [daily life in Costa Rica] and helped me become more confident in the language.

In Costa Rica, you went on an eco-tourism trip. What exactly is eco-tourism and how does it relate to Costa Rica?

Eco-tourism is Costa Rica’s biggest industry because it [Costa Rica] has so much biodiversity and they focus so much on sustaining their environment so that tourists can come and experience tourism within the environment. It’s a lot of going and visiting waterfalls and rainforests and other places like that.

If you had the chance to go back to Costa Rica, would you?

Absolutely. In fact, we’re [the Lafayette Spanish department] planning a trip for the spring of 2021 at Lafayette, so students in Spanish 3 and above will have the opportunity to go to Costa Rica with us.