Today New Mexico State University began their two week volunteer program in Heredia!

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They spent the day in La Carpio volunteering at the Costa Rican Humanitarian foundation.

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They even got to meet the Costa Rican Vice President Ana Helena Chacón!

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After volunteering, they spent the rest of the day in Spanish classes.

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Saint Francis University has enjoyed a weekend packed with thrilling activities! To end their stay in Monteverde, the students and professor went to Sky Trek to experience the beautiful views of the mountains and rainforest while zip-lining! Students zipped down eight different zip line courses through the cloud forest! The tallest zip-line was 328 feet in the air and the longest went for a half a mile! At the end of the zip-line students tested their nervous system by bungee-ing off a 78 foot tall platform! Their knees may have been shaking, but it was accompanied by some big grins! The consensus: They would definitely do it again!

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20150522_151446After experiencing the cloud forest from a bird’s eye view, students packed up their belongings, said chao to their familias ticas, and headed to flamingo to get a taste of the beach life! But, before getting to their new homes, the group made a small pit stop to enjoy los Llanos de Cortez! Finally, they arrived in Flamingo and parted ways to enjoy a meal and an evening with their new host families!

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Sunday was spent relaxing at the beach and soaking in that Costa Rican sunshine! In the morning, the students were able to take surfing lessons at Tamarindo beach! They spent the first half hour of the lessons on the sand learning surfing techniques, and then spent the next two hours in the water practicing their newly learned skills. There may have been a few wipe outs along the way, but by the end of the lessons students were feeling confident in their newly discovered skills. At the end of the day, the students returned to their families to get a delicious meal and rest up before their first day of classes! 20150524_093351 20150524_093619

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Saint Francis University is now finishing up their final week here with CPI. Here’s to hoping this final week passes slowly! Hasta Luego!

Aaaaaannd Duke University is OFF with a bang!  CPI is so pleased to welcome back this amazing group of students and their professor, Bethzaida.  The group arrived to Costa Rica and hit the ground running by checking out the typical town, San Joaquín de Flores.  Check out this beautiful picture of the group in front of the beautiful church of San Joaquín de Flores.

IMG_8748After checking out the place where they are studying for four weeks, it was off to Heredia!  There, we learned about the fortín de Heredia (one of the most important Costa Rican cultural symbols)

IMG_8757We even got to INSIDE the fortín! (that never happens!)

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 What a good looking group!

IMG_8753After our adventures in Heredia, the group was off to Centro Panamericano de Idiomas for the first time to meet their host families!  ¡Qué emoción!  You can already see the students forming a strong connection with their Costa Rican host families in these photos!

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We wish you the most amazing adventure here in Costa Rica, chicos!

¡Pura vida!

Today UNCG students had the privilege of visiting a local Costa Rican Elementary school near Monteverde called Escuela Altos de San Luis.  Everyone was so happy to interact and play with the children.  We were welcomed into the school with a small presentation of a folkloric dance complete with typical Costa Rican attire.  The children did such a great performing and UNCG students were very impressed.

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After the performance, the director of the school took UNCG students on a tour of the school grounds and answered all questions.  UNCG students were shocked to hear that for an elementary school, there are only 20 students enrolled in grades 1-6 and only 1 professor for all the kids.  After the discussion, students were excited to interact with each other with a fun game of soccer! Everyone had a great time bonding with the children and practicing their Spanish.

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NMSU soared above the the cloud forest Thursday at Monteverde’s Sky Trek zip line course. We completed 8 cables, the highest at 328 feet! The experience (and adrenaline) was something students said they would never forget, as we were all breathless taking in the treetop vistas.

 

And just when we thought we were done…a bungee jump to get down to ground level! We took turns jumping off the platform to what appeared to be our impending doom…but the worst part was only our embarrassing screams on the way down. :) Pura Vida!

 

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Demonstrate, don’t translate!  This phrase was repeated to us so many times today as we worked within Calle Hernandez, a primary school we visited earlier this week.  Today MSU and UNCW got the opportunity to work with 5th graders as well as 3rd graders on their new English skills.  Once again, the process was absolutely amazing and beautiful to watch, these girls have such a passion for children and for teaching!

 

We learned the importance of helping the students understand new English concepts using only English words.  Deena, the English teacher, spoke to us about the importance of demonstrating rather than translating and how it forces the students to begin to think in English rather than translating everything they want to say from Spanish to English.  The girls were so grateful for the experience and were so sad to have to say goodbye to the children at Calle Hernandez.

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IMG_4956Today, the students went and did a volunteer project in a local shanty town stricken by poverty, called La Carpio. The students helped to rebuild a sidewalk, did some construction work on a house, and also played with children and taught them some English at the local school. The students were amazed at the level of poverty many of these people live in, and were happy to contribute in such a small yet significant way. The students were also greatly affected and amazed by the story of the Nicaraguan immigrants who make up the vast majority of La Carpio. Gail, the founder of the CRHF (Costa Rica Humanitarian Foundation) told them the story and all of the social, economical, and governmental problems that the people of La Carpio faced, and why these forced them to immigrate to Costa Rica. Gail has made great strides in her work, especially providing work, self-esteem, food, and shelter to the people of La Carpio, and continues to progress and help the community of La Carpio.

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21
may

Today was an exciting day for UNCG students as they flew through the sky.  Zipline is a favorite activity of most groups and UNCG had a blast.  Students took the cable cars up to the top of the mountain to start the descend down the cable lines.  There were 8 cables in total and by the last few ones, students were professionals.  Altitudes reached up to 300 ft. and top speeds could be 45mph.

Some brave souls even opted for the new bungee jump option, a new bonus at this attraction park.  Instead of the last cable line into the base, students did a bungee free fall to ground level.  It was a quick option to get their feet on the ground.  Screams were loud, but everyone was glad that they did something new and now they have a memory to share for the rest of a lifetime.

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Saint Francis University’s week of classes here at CPI Monteverde has been going great! Yesterday, students spent their afternoon at Life Monteverde! Life Monteverde is a coffee farm that focuses their energy on sustainable practices and preserving the environment and it’s natural resources. The students were able to learn about the process of growing coffee, the farming techniques, and the roasting process. 20150520_142940

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After walking around the farm and learning about all it’s different facets, the students were able to watch how they roast the coffee. Students were eager to test the coffee, and they were able to try the dark roast, the natural process, and the honey process coffee! Once they were finished snacking on empanadas and drinking the delicious coffee, students got ready to do some work!

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In order to help the farm and future students who would be visiting Life Monteverde, Saint Francis University spent the last part of their visit packing soil into bags that would later be used to plant trees on the farm. Students learned that planting trees would not only help strengthen the soil, but that it would provide shelter from rain and wind to the coffee plants as well as provide for some food for wild animals.  20150520_161931

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Overall, the students really enjoyed their trip to Life Monteverde and they learned a lot! For the students final days in Monteverde, they will be participating in a night hike and zip-lining! On Saturday, it’s off to Flamingo for Saint Francis University for their final week here in Costa Rica!

 

Today the group from Rollins College went on a special business visit to CINDE, which is the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency. They were able to talk to a CINDE executive about all of CINDE’s functions and the companies they support and work with. The group was very excited and honored to be able to visit with such an impressive and dedicated company, and learned a lot from their trip. They then were able to visit a local luxury mall near CINDE, named Multi Plaza, and then they visited a local market in Heredia with authentic and fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, sweet treats, little restaurants (or sodas), etc. They then returned to CPI, where we had a surprise party and cake for one of our students for his birthday! The students then left to spend time with their host families, and to celebrate the student’s birthday some more.IMG_4905-2 IMG_4909-2 IMG_4912-2 IMG_4916-2 IMG_4918-2