Study Abroad Gringa Takes Five Days to Realize She’s in California

Tip from ex-Facebook friend breaks bad news

SAN_JOSE_CALIFORNIA_PALM_TREE_2010SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA — A study abroad student received some upsetting news last week when after five days in Costa Rica she realized nothing looked like the Lonely Planet guidebook she was carrying around.

Becky Miller, a 21-year old geography major from Louisville, Kentucky, was scheduled to spend three months in San Jose studying Spanish as a student with Veritas University. Her plans are now very much in doubt after she blew most of her savings in central California on San Jose Shark hockey games and visiting the Winchester Mystery Mansion.

“I love Costa Rica!” she wrote beneath a Selfie posted on Facebook page from a San Jose Earthquakes soccer game. “This place is so tuanis!”

She also took to social media to comment on how easy the transition abroad had been.

“Moving to San Jose not challenging at all. Don’t see what fuss about,” she tweeted with hashtags #sowelcoming and #puravida.

The easiest part of her study abroad experience was the language barrier, she told her friend Katelyn on “El Face”, as it is known in Spanish.

“For real girl, I was sooo worried about that part,” she said. “I took Spanish in high school and it’s all coming back to me. I can understand everything perfectly – even movies on tv!”

It wasn’t until the fifth day that Miller started to suspect she might not be in Costa Rica. When trying to locate the university campus, no one had heard of a college located 200 meters west of a Musmanni panaderia in Zapote, she said.

Miller then got a shattering Facebook comment on a food picture she posted. After posting “Gallo Pinto, mmmmm” beneath a picture of beans and rice, her friend Collin responded:

“That’s Jamabalaya. You’re not in Costa Rica #hatetobreakittoya.”

Miller said she immediately took the comment down and un-friended Collin, though after some additional research, learned he was right.

“I went to Google Maps and it kept showing my location as California. I looked up the National Theater and saw it was 6,000 kilometers away,” she said. “Everywhere I looked said San Jose, so I assumed I was in the right place.”

She also noticed that every time she’d said ‘Pura Vida’ to someone, people looked at her like she was “from the south or Mexican or something.”

Miller, who has launched an Indiegogo campaign and is waiting tables at IHOP to raise funds for a Costa Rica flight, said that, like studying abroad, she will walk away from the experience more mature and ready for the real world.

“That’s the last time I’ll fly Spirit Airlines again,” she said. “Though maybe I should have realized something was wrong when I never had to show my passport.”

109 thoughts on “Study Abroad Gringa Takes Five Days to Realize She’s in California

  1. Pingback: RT: Study Abroad Gringa Takes Five Days to Realize She’s in California | Charlotte's Web of Travels

  2. This really concerns me. I can’t believe that this actually happened. Someone from the program would have contacted her…

  3. I believe that the school’s study abroad program and the girl should be to blame. How did she not realize she was in California? Didn’t she do any research on Costa Rica? Why didn’t the school contacted her when she didn’t show up? So glad I don’t go to that school. So irresponsible on both sides.

    • Aleli, how can you call someone on your country if the person ISN’T in the country?? Try to think a Little bit more and stop talking shit about a school if you don’t know anything about it.

      • Yeah Aleli, who the hell ever heard of an international phone call? That kind of communication is IMPOSSIBLE…..

        -__-

      • Isnardo, I think you should think a little bit more before you say something. Most communication between a college/university and a student is done via email. It’s obvious the girl in the article had access to the internet so that means she had access to her email. The school should have emailed her and she should also have been emailing the school. I agree with Aleli.

    • Schools dont inform you if you dont show up. If you’re mature to travel to another country for school, you’re responsible to show up on youre own without someone watching over you.

      And yes, I know this is satire.

  4. Are you kidding me girl, its ridiculous confusing COSTA RICA with CALIFORNIA, and the most disturbing is that she spent 5 DAYS there…not realizin that was California, God! you definitively need to either watch more TV or just read or inform yourself about how the world looks like haha

  5. Come on! I mean you don’t have to be Einstein to know you are not in the right place! !! And if you are a student you should know a little of the place you are going to! Not only the popular phrases. .. OMG !! I’m from CR and I’ve been on California and its impossible you make that mistake. .. ! LOL

    • Apparently you have to be Einstein to realize you are reading an article for a publication that deals in satire. The story is fiction. Not real. Fake.

  6. This certainly wouldn’t have happened if she read anything else besides twitter and if she understands that people don’t have to know which “San Jose” she means because, breaking news: There is more than one!!!

  7. What does Spirit Airlines have to do with it? They don’t even fly to SJC(San Jose CA) the closest they fly there is Oakland CA (OAK).. So if she WOULD have really flown on Spirit she WOULD HAVE gotten to SJO(San Jose, Costa Rica) cause they do indeed fly there.. So I call BS with this story..

  8. This story made my day, she’s such and idiot, I’m from Costa Rica and I can show you the geography here when you are done doing tables at iHop, Becky do you know there is a lot more down San Diego, you can even find Brazil and Argentina, think about that…

  9. Dear me, I am from Louisville, Kentucky, and I don’t like this story one bit. It’s fishy. San Jose CR is a wonderful city, but nothing like LA….ye gods….

  10. The funniest thing is the satire definetely shows how the education in US of A works. So ironic the made-up abroad student is a Geography major isn’t it? Just like most gringos don’t know anywhere else in the world exists apart from their own country. Come on, this could’ve happened to so many people in the US of A, if you believed it, could have been true! (people from the US of A, not Americans, ’cause Americans are all the people from the American continent).

      • I bet you it’s the exception. As a traveler, we Latins are not the only ones that say this exact same thing about people from the US of A, even other gringos know it and say it!

    • As a traveler? Funny that you allude to latin America thinking that Americans (and you know which ones I’m talking about) are dumb, when in fact latin America has given less to modern society than almost anywhere else on earth. Here in Europe id say America is smarter than latin America and in fact Latin America is many years behind.

  11. I don’t believe her story one bit. I believe she’s trying to create popularity to gain a free trip to Costa Rica or just free money from a bogus story.

    Where did she stay the whole 5 days? Usually study abroad students stay at university dorm rooms, boarding houses our with other families. I’m guessing while she was there, she stayed at Ann American hotel with Ann English speaking TV.

    Plus, the tourist attractions and hockey games. All in English! Hosted by Americans! And Winchester us an American company. And I’m assuming she had other petiole with her cause I doubt she went and had fun all by her lonesome. So the other people she was with also thought they were in Costa Rica?

    And money too, she would have been paying in US dollars the whole time.

    And someone mentioned that Spirit airlinesdoesn’t even go to San Jose anyways. That if she got on the plane she said she did, she would have gotten to the right place.

    Sorry, her sorry doesn’t match up. I call BS on her.

    • You shouldn’t. Because it’s not true. Check the source of this page – About El Pejibaye
      El Pejibaye is a satirical publication about the great country of Costa Rica. Its stories are not real, all details are fabricated, and is not intended for readers under 18 years of age. El Pejibaye also uses invented names in all of its stories, except in cases of known public figures being satirized. Any other use of real names is purely accidental and coincidental.

      I am laughing my ass off at how many people actually believe this to be true. C’Mon!

  12. for most of you have replied… sadly you prove to be the less intelligent here.. how ironic

    “About El Pejibaye
    El Pejibaye is a satirical publication about the great country of Costa Rica. Its stories are not real, all details are fabricated, and is not intended for readers under 18 years of age. El Pejibaye also uses invented names in all of its stories, except in cases of known public figures being satirized. Any other use of real names is purely accidental and coincidental.

    Articles are meant to poke fun at the cultural and political subtleties that everyone who lives in Costa Rica has grown to love.

    Submissions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

    Sit back, laugh, and enjoy.

    Pura Vida.”

  13. It’s a FICTIONAL story! Does no one take 5 minutes to read the comments? It’s amazing that there was more ignorance within the comments than in the made up story.

    SJC being part of LA??
    US citizens not being Americans because Americans are those that live in the American continent… and it which continent is USA located then?
    The University couldn’t send “Becky” an email, and international calls are non-existing in CR?

    Come on people!

  14. This story is bunk. She had to know she was in California or even the US. She didn’t recognize the California license plates, the US currency, everybody speaking English. She’s either very stupid or full of it.

  15. Has anyone ever heard of satire? This is a fictional story. It is completely fabricated. Stop commenting on who’s fault it is and how is more irresponsible/naive/dumb.

  16. About El Pejibaye
    El Pejibaye is a satirical publication about the great country of Costa Rica. Its stories are not real, all details are fabricated, and is not intended for readers under 18 years of age. El Pejibaye also uses invented names in all of its stories, except in cases of known public figures being satirized. Any other use of real names is purely accidental and coincidental.

    Articles are meant to poke fun at the cultural and political subtleties that everyone who lives in Costa Rica has grown to love.

    Submissions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

    Sit back, laugh, and enjoy.

    Pura Vida.

    READ THE ABOUT SECTION ON THE WEBSITE.

  17. haha ok so this IS fake?! Either way people are sadly this stupid, when i was living in Costa Rica working in catering i would often hear the clients talk about how much they love Puerto Rico… are you f#%*ing kidding me? I would always wonder how on earth the large group of “Puerto Rico” lovers ever made it to the right destination in the first place. I also heard a lot of “island life” comments and people wondering where all the mexican food was. It was always kinda funny but its pretty pathetic when you think about it.

  18. Frances, you need to chill out with being the “Reality Police”. You’re going to give yourself carpal tunnel syndrome responding to all the comments explaining to people that the story is satire.

  19. The joke about Spirit Airlines was a nice touch. Apparently even people in Costa Rica know what a joke that airline is.

    Surprised no one ever made this joke until now.

  20. I almost thought this wasn’t real but when you think about it all the details make sense. There is a San Jose in the United States and she could have just gotten confused. Especially since it was her first time travelling. At least she had her Facebook friends to set her straight. The internet solves everything! You can really find anything here if you’re just smart enough to click around for a few minutes. Too bad she wasn’t smart enough to click on the right airline ticket. She’s just not as smart as the rest of us I guess

  21. Pingback: Study Abroad Gringa Takes Five Days to Realize She’s in California | Tripp Apparel

  22. I know this is a satirical account. A pejibaye is a fruit in Costa Rica. Ticos love them; I don’t. What a wonderful name for a paper like the Onion

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  24. Pingback: Gringa Lost in San Jose… California | WorkStudyTravel

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