By Eighth Graders Abigail and Jordan
What did you guys do to get ready for your trip to Costa Rica?
Jordan – In preparation for our trip to Costa Rica, we learned a lot of new Spanish vocabulary and about the Costa Rican culture. We had an opportunity to practice a lot of the words we used in Costa Rica when we held our school Mercado and spent time reading Spanish novels in class about Costa Rica.
What was it like when you arrived in Costa Rica?
Abigail – When we arrived there is was really humid. We got to go into the rain forest and saw new wildlife and vegetation that we can’t find in Arizona.
What school did you visit and help out at?
Abigail – We went to a school called the C.L.C. which is the Creative Learning Center. They own about 106 acres of rainforest that have reforested. They learn English and Spanish and told us all about Costa Rican life. One of my friends and I also got to meet their pen pals from last year.
How was the food there?
Abigail – We got to cook a Costa Rican meal – plantains, corn tortillas, chicken, guacamole, beans, seeds, rice, and this plantain dish for desert.
Jordan – They made this good juice from a starfruit.
Did you meet any new critters while you were there?
Abigail – We encountered so many bugs and no one really liked them.
Jordan – There were moths the size of your hands. But by the end of the trip everyone had come to peace with our 6 and 8 legged friends.
What were some of the places you were able to visit on your trip besides the rain forest?
Abigail – We went shopping at La Fortuna for gifts for people and they also had great smoothies. The second day that we were there we had a chance to try some random fresh fruits. Passion Fruit was the best one. Guanabana was like guava but it wasn’t. It was big, green, and spiky. Mr. Wainwright cut them up. He was our guide and the country’s leading tourist in ecotourism. We went to Monteverde for a few days. – very lush and the towns are on the mountain. Rancho Margot is a sustainable ranch that is nearly 100% sustainable. They put plants on the roofs and walls to help with the temperature. They also raise rise cows, chickens, pigs, but don’t have any air conditioning. They use solar fans.
What was one interesting thing about the rainforest from him?
Jordan – We talked about amphibian decline. Most of the frogs in the world are disappearing especially along the Pacific coast of the Americas but scientists haven’t figured out why. Some think its climate change or a fungus that is growing on them.
What did you have to do when you returned back to campus?
Jordan – When we returned to school we had to do a trip showcase about our trip. It took us a couple of days to put together and then we presented to the parents and some of the school about the different aspects of our trip. We had to create a slideshow and brochure for our showcase and students made groups formed on ecotourism, wildlife and biodiversity, culture, and the experience of using Spanish in a country that speaks Spanish.
What are some of your most memorable moments about the trip?
Abigail – It was funny because I wanted to practice English when I was there and would ask questions in Spanish but the people there would speak English because they wanted to their practice English.
Jordan – I loved our 2 hour rafting trip. We went on, rope swinging, swimming in the river, and the waterfall in the rain forest we found. It was beautiful! When we stayed at San Gerardo Field Station, they would take hikes. One was to a waterfall that was about a 25 – 30 minute hike, which had many slips, and you could hear the water sound as we approached, and then when you see it I couldn’t believe it was real. It was stunning. It was the most beautiful thing ever except the water was 40 degrees and it was freezing. Still people went under it even though it was cold.
Abigail – We also went zip lining over the canopy which was amazing. When we went rafting we saw a sloth and also alligators. There were also howler monkeys and iguanas.
Jordan – We went hiking down into the rainforest. It was hard hiking down and back up was pretty hard. It was also very humid and muddy.
Parent Kate Wilkes also added that “these trips don’t just check off a curriculum requirement. They are thoughtfully and purposefully designed so that the students learn about other cultures in an authentic and relevant way. Abigail was extremely enthusiastic about being involved in the preparation of traditional Costa Rican food. On her return home, she independently planned out and purchased the foods to cook a delicious meal for the family. The feast was fried plantains, salad with a lime dressing, chicken and roasted red peppers, rice and black beans. The food was delicious and healthy.”
“As Abigail said at the end, this was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.”