Skip to main content

Fans' Choice


Sophia Slocum, Monmouth College

Costa Rica: Field Research in the Environment, Social Sciences, & Humanities, Spring 2017

"On a tour in Manuel Antonio with my parents at the end of my program in Costa Rica, we encountered wild 'cara blanca monos' (white-faced monkeys) in the rainforest. As they approached our boat for bananas, we were bombarded with monkey tails and feet all over us! I captured this image just a moment before this monkey would jump next to me, realize I had no food to offer it, and proceed to slap me across the face! This image captures the spontaneity of my time abroad, and shows how innocent monkeys can appear just before they attack...don't let them deceive you too!"

Q&A with Sophia Slocum, Fans' Choice Winner

Who is someone memorable that you met in Costa Rica? (Besides the monkey, of course!)

I am grateful to all the people I met in Costa Rica who were so kind, helpful, and patient with me as I learned the ways of a new land. In particular, I would like to highlight all of the beautiful people I met at my research site, the Fundación Servio Flores Arroyo. This was a foundation for adults with disabilities to come and learn job skills. I would go three days a week to get to know the people and conduct interviews for my research. From the first day I was SO welcomed by the students and staff there. They could not have been more eager to help me with my research. Their patience and humor in dealing with our language barrier as I learned Spanish gave me the courage to do the best I could do. My friendships with the people of FSFA are invaluable; I will forever treasure them!

Since you’ve returned from the program, have you been glad that you took photos while you were there? Is there a photo that you wish you had taken – a moment you wish you had captured – while you were off campus? 

My dorm room wall has my favorite pictures from my time abroad arranged in a heart above my bed. I spend time looking at them every day as it brings me so much joy to reminisce the people, places, and things I did from Costa Rica. I am so glad I took the time to take as many pictures as I did. Fortunately there is not a moment I can think of where I missed a photo opportunity— I am a scrapbooker, so I have always known how much I value pictures and the beauty in their ability to take one back to a time and place. I kept in mind that I would regret it if I didn’t take many pictures of my experiences abroad. Luckily, this is not a regret I have!

What is one piece of advice you’d give to a student who’s thinking about going on the ACM Costa Rica program? 

Absolutely GO! Do not hesitate—if you have the means, please do go. I was nervous and unsure of my decision and a little in disbelief even as I boarded my plane, but I laugh at myself now for feeling that way. I am sure you too will laugh at your hesitations if you do take the chance, because being abroad (especially in a beautiful country like Costa Rica) is truly an experience no words can capture! I suppose that is why ACM has a photo contest, not an essay contest!

 4th Place