A lot of things have happened since I last posted. The most recent dramatic development was a death on campus. The head of the Environmental Peace Department, Dr. Mahmoud Hamid, sadly passed away from a sudden heart attack during class on Tuesday. The entire university was shocked, and the class he was teaching are still trying to figure out what to do until the next class starts. I personally didn't know him, but many of the staff, faculty and students are very sad these days.
More cheerful events have also happened. Last weekend I went on a 3-day trip to the lazy reggae-loving beach town of Cahuita on the Caribbean coast with three great guys: Tito from Barcelona, César from Mexico City and Gregorio from upstate New York. Here's a picture of the four of us at our hostel:
Generally we just had a nice relaxing time. Spent some time in the pool and at the beach, had some amazing chorizos and seafood, met up with other UPEACErs in town and just relaxed. I was supposed to do some reading for school but that never happened.
School's been really good. The Media, Peace and Conflict Studies programme is now in its first real course, Media In Conflict - Introduction. Our teacher is Álvaro Sierra, a Colombian journalist and academic who has lived in and reported from many different countries and conflict zones around the globe. Today he is the editor of Semana, Colombia's main newsweekly. He's very knowledgeable and a very nice guy even though our readings are sometimes unrealistically long.
This past weekend I went away again, but only for about 24 hours. My Belgian/U.S. friend Saskia's family has an apartment in a gated community near Tárcoles by the beach on the Pacific coast, and she kindly invited four of us (my Costa Rican roomie Álvaro, Norwegian/Polish Dobrawa, Elizabeth from Wisconsin and me) to come visit her. It was wonderful to relax in an air-conditioned apartment with an out-of-this-world view, three bathrooms, a coffee-maker with built-in grinder and several swimming pools. On the way to the place we stopped at a bridge to spot crocodiles - here's a pic I took over Dobrawa's shoulder:
Today I tried to give a little lunchtime session on the privacy settings in Facebook. Out of almost 200 students, 5 turned up but they were good students. I think I'll host one again soon and try to promote it a bit better.
Until next time, pura vida.
My Year in Costa Rica
I'm studying an MA programme (Media, Peace and Conflict Studies) at the UN mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica 2011-12. This blog is about my experiences here, in and out of school.