We are back from the rural Costa Rican homestay!

Students had an amazing experience and they have all been amazing!  More details later, but I wanted to provide just a few pictures and let our readers know that all is well.

At Bruma Coffee plantation, world champion coffee growers/roasters.


Checking out the beans!

First day of class!


The trek to campus.

Today was a great day!  I can already tell that I am going to be healthier when this trip is over!  I just finished my PhD candidacy exams in mid-December and gained what I call my “ABD (All But Dissertation)” weight.  I have over 12,500 steps each day so far, despite being in class for long periods of time.

We started off with a delicious breakfast at Antonio’s Palace, our home away from home.  It is buffet style, but there is fresh fruit, coffee, yogurt, cereal, cakes and all sorts of good stuff.  We were to leave around 7:15 to make the walk to the University, so most of us arrived around 6:45.  If you were convinced the students were coming down to Brazil for a vacation, think again!


Dr. Nussia, Dean of ESALQ

We had an orientation around 8:00am with Dr. Shirota, who has been leading our program for 17 years.  The welcome included remarks from their Dean who has worked with several of the OSU Animal Sciences faculty members.  He was an Arizona Wildcat, but commented on how addicted to Buckeyes their students and faculty who studied at Ohio State become.

After orientation we had a fun lecture with Cristina who teaches us survival Portuguese.  Some of the favorite phrases included Joel’s name, pronounced in a romantic Portuguese fashion.  Think of the J sounding like the “s” in pleasure and the rest like a dramatically pronounced Noel”.  We will refer to Joel with the pronunciation from now on.  Another was “que triste” which is “how sad”.  The students have gotten a kick out of using that.  “Time for class to start back up.”  “Que triste!”


Lunch with Cristina (head of table)

We then went to lunch as another pay-by-weight restaurant.  Again, it was very good and students enjoyed it quite a bit.  We got to try Guarana, which is a local soda drink made from seeds.  It was a little like a grape ginger ale.  Very refreshing.  A woman stopped us to comment on how blue Grant’s and Haley’s eyes were.  Very sweet.


It is so hot here! I was happy to see Antarctica as part of the namebrand of Guarana!

The afternoon lecture was very interesting.  We started learning about the development of the world and how different societies came to develop at different rates based on resources in the region and crisis they needed to overcome (drought).  We watched one installment of the movie made regarding the principle of Jarrod Diamond written in Guns, Germs and Steel.   The book/movie even addressed livestock by explaining how large, docile mammals are what was able to be domesticated and most species came from the middle east.  He then provided some political commentary about the current economic crisis in Brazil and the scandal involving their president, Dilma Rouseff.  He also had a very basic formula for what to consider when speaking of a countries development.  We have more with Dr. Mello tomorrow.  He is a good guy and very interesting.

We had our first reflection after class.  Students are adjusting very well and had a lot of good things to say and were able to share some of their surprises/struggles.  We all agreed that not flushing toilet paper was going to be hard to get into the habit of doing.  We also talked through why some of the buildings look worn down: tropical climate making things hard to maintain.  We are all very excited about how helpful and welcoming Brazilians are and are very optimistic about our next 5.5 weeks.

Go Bucks!