UNA has had a great month here at CPI Heredia! They have learned a lot of Spanish while they have been here, have made life long friendships, have established close connections with their host families, and have enjoyed being immersed in the Costa Rican culture, and going on excursions and adventures. The group is very sad to leave, but so appreciates all of the memories they have from the trip of a lifetime. Since today is their last day in Costa Rica, we took them on a tour of Café Britt, a Costa Rican company that produces gourmet coffee, chocolates, and gifts. The tour was very educational, and even had some very funny comedy and coffee tastings! The students were also able to purchase coffee, chocolates, and gifts, and enjoy a gourmet lunch at the end of the tour. What a great way to end their time here in Costa Rica!
¡Bienvenido CSU Sacramento a Costa Rica!
We are having a great time here at CPI Monteverde! Our enthusiastic students from CSU Sacramento are learning so much Spanish even in their short time here. Because they are enrolled in our Spanish immersion program, they must use their Spanish skills on a daily basis: they are requiered to use it in class, in their homestays, with locals and even with each other.
We have been on many fun activities outside school, such as El Trapiche tour which is a Costa Rican family business . The tour began with a short walk through the farm where we explored plantations such as sugar cane, coffee, bananas, plantains, tubers, oranges and more. We enjoyed the entire coffee process, rode a Costa Rican ox cart and experienced the process of making liquor out of the sugar cane, and to finished we enjoyed a fragrant cup of coffee.
Wow… UNA has had a busy week here at CPI Heredia! In addition to their daily classes and homework, they had the opportunity to attend a mass service yesterday at a local church. It was their first time at mass for several of the students, and they all agreed that it was a great cultural experience. In addition, they also played each other in a friendly soccer match, even playing in the rain! While most of the students are not experienced soccer players, they have really embraced the sport as it is a staple in Costa Rican culture. Lastly, they went to a local farmer’s market, or “feria”, to take part in a fun and educational “búsqueda del tesoro” or a scavenger/treasure hunt. This weekend, the group will be traveling to Arenal Volcano, where they will enjoy hot springs, sight seeing, a beautiful waterfall hike, and much more!
This is Georgia Southern’s last week in Costa Rica, and they will be spending it studying at CPI Monteverde! The students love the change of scenery and the cool weather that being in the high altitudes of the cloud forest brings! This week, the students visited El Trapiche, a family owned sugar mill and coffee plantation. They were given a tour and shown how the coffee, sugar cane, and even liquor are made. They even had the chance to ride in an oxen cart! Later in the week, they also had the chance to volunteer with Life Monteverde, an association of Costa Rican families that provide educational activities at their farm on how to achieve a higher level of sustainability in day-to-day life. The farm combines areas of conservation, organic agriculture and low environmental impact energy systems. The students were first given a tour of the farm, and then given the opportunity to plant trees, and later even presented to their classmates their project on sustainability. Way to go GSU!
Its Thursday and today is the last day in which the students get to volunteer and help out to the people that need it. Today we finished the house that we started the very first day. We did a second coat on the outside walls, we fixed minor details and we also painted all of the wood to protect with the paint from the rain or bugs that might want to it. The family and the students were all very happy to see the house get finished. There were even some neighbors admiring the job of the students and were happy to see that the family was getting help.
At the second house there was still a lot to be done but we knew that whatever we didn’t finish another group would finish. We tried to get done as much as possible. The students painted all the sides of the house except for the back of the house. They started to paint all the windows and doors and were almost done with them. Beside painted the house, the favorite part of everyone was playing with the kids that lived in all of the houses. They boys would play of piggy back rides, the girls would braid hairs and everyone would practice their Spanish with the students. Everyone was every sad of leaving the students, but they felt in their heart that they shared with this students. For the rest of the day they will think of their experience and reflect on how they changed the lives of these family and the children as well.
It’s Wednesday and today we went Zip lining at Cartagena which is a town about 20 minutes away from Flamingo. At the Canopy we went through 12 different cables, which were all through the dry tropical forest. The place was surrounded by huge Guanacaste trees which also held the platforms that we were on. The trees were very green as they are native dry forest trees and are used to the hot weather with barley any rain. Everyone had a lot of fun because it was different from the Canopy at Hacienda Guachipelin, we went slower and were able to appreciate the nature surrounding us. We had a fun morning and the we went to relax at the Pool of Casas del Toro before we had lunch and headed back to CPI for their daily Spanish Classes.
It’s Tuesday, which means volunteer day! Today we went back to the same spot as last week and saw how the house looks after other groups have worked on it. Everyone was very impressed as it looked a lot better and nicer than only a week ago. We had only 8 people do some minor finishing touches on the house while everyone else started with a new. The new house belongs to a grandmother as well, she is a single mother and grandmother. She lives with her daughters (some who are single mothers as well), their children and dogs. This home is a lot bigger in size and isn’t falling apart as much, however the house is very old and there are some parts such as the back side and the right side of the house was very finished.
Our job today was to sand all of the house as well as the windows and doors. The paint waa very old and they house was painted only once as the family only has money to feed the family members and not to fix details on their house. After a very long time of sanding we got the opportunity to paint one of the walls of the house as a team with some of the members of the families. Our students showed 3 of the children how to paint their own house. Mean while the other group was playing with the children from last week’s house. The boys would get piggy back rides and then do competitions when they were on the shoulders of our boys. Also the students who were working with the new house got a opportunity to interact with the children of this house and share some of their knowledge or just have nice conservations with them. After the volunteer time we were all very hungry so we went to have lunch at Casas del Toro and the went back to CPI to have Spanish classes.
Times flys when you are having fun! It’s Monday already and this is the last week that SPI is in Costa Rica, but that doesn’t mean that we going to stop having fun! Today we went to Playa Danta for our beach morning. The students were very excited because they were able to rent paddle boards and kayak to go around the small bay that we were in. We even had some students that swam into the water and to reach some island but they came back with the people that were on the paddle boards. Then we had another group of student that stayed in the sand and they played volley ball, tanned or enjoyed the hammocks. Thy had so much fun again that they didn’t want to leave the place.
Once we got back to CPI we had our second cooking classes. The students made Casado de carne en salsa. Some students cut all the vegetables for the salad, others cut the vegetables for the beef and it’s salsa, other worked on the beef and the last group was working on making tortillas. It was all a great team work and we were able to finish quickly as they were all very hungry and wanted to eat. At the end our casado had: rice, beans, salad, carne en salsa and hand made tortillas; que delicioso! The the students went back to class, this week with new teachers and then had some free time to go to the beach or enjoy the pool before they went back to their homestays.
The SPI students had a super fun and excited weekend! On Saturday we all had to wake up early but it was worth it. We went to Rincon de la Vieja National Park, were we went to Hacienda Guachipelin. First we went Zip lining and we went through trees and even over a canon with a river. We had really pretty view and the students were also able to go upside down on some of the cable and feel like spiderman! There was also the option of trying out rock climbing and rappelling and most of the students tried to do that.
Our second activity was horseback riding were we went through some trails of the tropical dry forest to get to our third activity, river tubing. For the river tubing we all put some life jackets and helmets and took our floating donout. We spent about an hour and a half at the river where we went through some calm parts and other parts were a little rough and people would get pushed into some rocks by the current. Everyone was safe and had fun expect for Miguel’s left shoe that decided to stay in the river. After all the three activities everyone was really hungry and we finally had some time to relax and eat lunch before we headed back to Potrero.
On Sunday we had a cultural activity as we went to Santa Cruz and Guatil both towns with a lot of information regarding the culture of Costa Rica and Guanacaste. First we went to Guatil were we saw how Josue make pottery. These are traditions from the indigenous culture that have been passed on over 700 years. All the materials that are used to make to pottery and natural and are foun around the area. The they had some time to buy some pottery that liked before we went to Santa Cruz. At the town we went to the central park and we learned more about the costarrican traditions such as important holidays and celebrations. At the central park we were also able to see the statuesof Costa Rica culture and the cement figures that represent the indigenous traditions, beliefs and culture as well. Then we had lunch at a restaurant and then headed back to the homestays where they had a free afternoon to go to the beach and hang out with their friends.