NMSU Winter 2017

Bienvenidos! NMSU Winter inicio este lunes con el programa de español y con esto una semana de nuevas experiencia y aventuras, clases por las mañanas serán parte importante de este viaje y conocer la cultura costarricense y adentrarse en ella serán el complemento perfecto para los estudiantes de NMSU. Hoy lunes nos fuimos después de clase a explorar el área y la primera parada fue San Joaquín, pueblo que mantiene costumbres y tradiciones de la cultura tica. Los chicos jugaron a la búsqueda del tesoro y así conversar un poco con las personas de la comunidad para completar las tareas de este divertido juego.

Para el final de la tarde visitaron a la cuidad de Heredia, repasaron la historia e infraestructura. Lugares como el correo y El Fortín fueron 2 buenos lugares para conversar sobre la parte histórica de Heredia, al cierre del tour visitaron el mercado de Heredia, en donde disfrutaron de frutas tropicales como guanábana y granadilla, y algunos platos típicos costarricenses para la hora del café como las famosas chorreadas con natilla; regresaron con sus familias ticas para la cena y luego hacer las tareas para el siguiente día, a descansar que mañana será un día de mucho trabajo.

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Martes, después de una mañana de clases y bastante información, los estudiantes de NMSU partieron a la comunidad de La Carpio para realizar un trabajo voluntario. Después del almuerzo recibieron una orientación y seguido una caminata por la comunidad,. Para el final del día trabajaron en las instalaciones del lugar, juntos limpiaron y ordenaron parte del edificio que es utilizado por los niños de la comunidad, sin duda una gran ayuda para la fundación.

Después de un duro trabajo cada estudiante regreso con las familias ticas y compartir un poco con la familia costarricense, claro está también tuvieron que realizar la tarea, ya se empiezan a ver progresos en el idioma y mucha más confianza en el grupo.

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Miércoles, día de clases por la mañana y tarde libre. Los estudiantes de NMSU se organizaron y decidieron ir a conocer la capital; para la noche tuvimos una actividad diferente, fuimos a una cuadrangular de futbol con los 4 equipos mas importantes en Costa Rica, el fin de la causa era obtener fondos económicos para ayudar a los niños con cancer, entonces no solo se ayudo si no también se colaboró con la noble causa. Una gran noche para las chicas y los chicos de NMSU.

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Jueves, día de clases y trabajo voluntario. Clases durante la mañana fue el inicio del jueves para los estudiantes; para la tarde se realizo trabajo voluntario en La Carpio, actividades con niños, juegos tradicionales y mucha alegría fueron parte de lo que hicieron nuestros estudiantes en la comunidad! Al final una presentación y una obra de teatro basada en hechos reales fueron el cierre del trabajo voluntario de NMSU sin embargo los estudiantes se sintieron conmovidos por las situaciones del día, una mezcla de sentimientos, un gran día para el grupo.

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Hoy viernes, inició nuestra aventura del fin de semana, después de clases de español y la despedida con los profesores de CPI Heredia los estudiantes de NMSU disfrutaron un rico almuerzo en un restaurante de la comunidad de San Joaquín, luego se trasladaron hacia Manuel Antonio pero antes de llegar a ese destino los estudiantes disfrutaron de un tour en bote por el río Tarcoles, en cual se observaron distintos animales tales como aves y cocodrilos. Al final una rica Cena y a descansar porque mañana será un gran día!

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Y hoy iniciamos con un rico desayuno en el Hotel en Manuel Antonio, para luego adentrarnos en el Parque Nacional del mismo nombre, parque protegido por el gobierno de Costa Rica, una caminata de casi una milla permitió observar animales como monos y osos perezosos, después llegaron a la primera playa del parque, arena blanca y agua de varios colores entretuvieron a los estudiantes durante el resto de la mañana. Despues del almuerzo en un restaurante de playa Manuel Antonio tuvieron una tarde libre y muchos de los integrantes del grupo decidieron hacer parasailing lo cual disfrutaron bastante. Un hermoso atardecer, una rica cena y una noche disco permitieron cerrar un día genial para el grupo de NMSU.

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Hoy domingo fue día de descanso por la mañana, fue libre la mañana y alrededor del medio día inicio el traslado hacia Monteverde, almuerzo en el camino y un viaje tranquilo fueron parte de este recorrido. Al final de la tarde los estudiantes del grupo conocieron a sus nuevas familias ticas, una cena en sus nuevos hogares y a descansar que mañana ellos vuelven a clases de español en el CPI Monteverde.

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 Lunes, día de clases nuevamente, aprender y prácticar es muy bueno para los estudiantes. Con un clima frío y bastante lluvia iniciaron el día NMSU, después de las  clases se realizó la primera actividad de la tarde, la cual fue una clase de cocina, seguida se la clase de baile, otra actividad que disfrutaron mucho los estudiantes. Al cierre de la tarde se fueron de caminata por la comunidad de Santa Elena, un día frío y mojado pero de mucho provecho para el grupo

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Clases por la mañana de martes y miércoles, días de información y trabajo duro pero provechoso. Los estudiantes de NMSU visitaron Life Monteverde para aprender sobre como funciona una finca sostenible, después de un rico almuerzo en la finca aprendieron de como esta organizada y cual es el proceso. En el lugar los estudiantes pudieron “coger cafe” sembrar arboles y trabajar con el abono orgánico de la misma finca, una experiencia única para ellas y ellos.
Al final del segundo día tuvieron una charla sobre el café y el proceso, por ultimo una degustación. Un gran día para los estudiantes!


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Jueves de aventura. Clases por la mañana, un día soleado, un poco ventoso, nada mejor que esta combinación para la aventura. Hoy los estudiantes se fueron para el canopy tour, después de un rico almuerzo típico en el camino, ellas y ellos disfrutaron de esta gran aventura llena de adrenalina y hermosos paisajes, un día inolvidable.

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Viernes día de nostalgia, después de clases, nos encontramos en la ceremonia de graduación y una pequeña despedida, un almuerzo en Monteverde y se emprendió el camino de regreso a Heredia, una cena en un restaurante en Heredia y a partir de las 12 de la noche los estudiantes empezaron a salir en diferentes grupos para el aeropuerto y de regreso Nuevo Mexico. Gracias por esta gran experiencia y esperarlos verlos pronto! Pura vida NMSU Winter los vamos a extrañar!!!

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Fulton Science Academy 2016

The Fulton Science Academy 2016 Costa Rica class trip was made up of six students. The arrival to Costa Rica day the group had testing and orientation at the Heredia CPI campus.

The weather was overcast but it didn’t diminish the warmth with which the home stay families welcomed the students.

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The first night was spent getting to know the Tico, or Costa Rican, families. Everyone got a taste of Costa Rican food and it was an early night since the following day was packed with activities.

The first full day in Costa Rica the group walked around the local town of San Joaquín which is within walking distance of CPI. It was cloudy and threatened rain. A few of the more interesting sites and important landmarks were pointed out. The soccer field, the local school, the uneven sidewalks, all were part of the getting to know the town.

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Then back to CPI for dance class! This is always a most fun activity although a bit intimidating if one doesn’t know the steps. But that is OK since it was only the Fulton group who was there and it was made fun with the tropical music and cheerful spirit of the dance instructor. And that is why it’s called dance class.

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Next on the agenda was cooking class. This consists of making a traditional Costa Rican meal and getting to eat it too! Today the group made “picadillo de papa” which consists of finely chopped potatoes with lots of herbs and seasonings.

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Tortillas were also prepared. This is always a fun and very much hands on activity. 🙂

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Ingredients for the lunch were washed and chopped, seasonings were added to the different dishes being prepared, and finally the tables were wiped down and set for lunch. This was lunch on that first day.

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In the afternoon it was time for some Spanish classes. Notebooks, pens, and pencils were at the ready for the lessons to be imparted.

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Then in the evening it was back to the home stay families, a nice welcoming Costa Rican meal and time spent with family.

In the first few days in Costa Rica there were two birthdays! They were celebrated with cake and singing, of course! ¡Feliz Cumpleaños Ben and Sophia!

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Then it was on to a fun public bus ride into the city of Heredia where the group ate lunch at the market. Every city has a local market which is basically how a modern mall began. This is always a worthwhile cultural experience. One can get pretty much anything at the market, be it weird fruits, odd vegetables, all kinds of food, household goods, clothing, etc. The sights and smells of the traditional market is an experience unto itself. There is a lot of hustle and bustle: the market is where the action is!

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While in Heredia the group had a cultural treasure hunt and walked around the main plaza to see the sights. The Fortín was visited as well. This is a historical landmark and the people are proud to show off their guard tower that was built in 1876 to defend the city. Now it’s only a historical emblem. img_3750

In the evening it was movie going time and a visit to a modern mall. Quite the opposite visits in one day!

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Wednesday of the first week the group got to go to a nearby volcano: Volcán Poás. This is a National Park and is one the best known and much visited. It´s located in the Central Valley and so it’s easy access from the CPI Heredia campus. This volcano has one of the largest craters and if one is lucky and it´s not cloudy, you can see the large lake. It rises an impressive 2,700 meters above sea level and so it´s often cloudy, wet, and rainy. This makes for lots of biodiversity, plants and animals alike.

The next day the group was scheduled to do volunteer work about a half hour away from the CPI campus. The group arrived and was given an orientation by the lady who is in charge of the program. Then it was the hands on experience of the actual volunteer. The morning went by quickly and lunch was served. Then back to CPI for the afternoon Spanish classes.

The evenings were spent with the host families and enjoying the time with them.

The week was coming to a close but another must do activity was a canopy tour zip line. The drive was around half hour (again, really close to CPI) and everyone was geared up with harnesses, gloves, and helmet. The safety talk was given and the tour began! There was a bit of a walking involved but nothing too strenuous. The zip lines were a bit scary but mostly exciting! It was an adventure Fulton Science Academy will not forget!

On the weekend the group had a trip to Arenal Volcano. This is one of the most famous volcanoes in Costa Rica. It used to be the most active, with lava flows to be seen flowing red at night and loud rumbling noises coming from its belly. Now it is dormant and only rarely does one see plumes of gas clouds coming out of it. One thing that hasn’t changed for the Arenal area is the awesome hot springs surrounding the volcano. This is a chance to experience natural hot springs due to the volcano’s proximity. The group took advantage of the first rate facilities and ate and relaxed for the evening.

The next day the group walked around the local town of La Fortuna. There is a pretty park in front of the main church and surrounding the park are all kinds of souvenir shops, restaurants, ice cream shops, supermarkets, etc. For the late morning and lunch the group visited a local typical organic farm where they got to see the various crops, animals, and ended with an authentic lunch prepared with ingredients grown on the farm.

Then it was back to the Central Valley for one more night before having to say goodbye to Costa Rica. It was an amazing experience, an opportunity and chance to expand horizons, get to know a different culture and language live with another family for a week, and over all awesome trip!

Thanks for coming Fulton Science Academy and we hope to see you again very soon!

Pura Vida! 🙂

Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School 2016

Le damos la bienvenida a Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School 2016.

Después de tener un martes complicado, al ser las 8:10 pm el grupo Martha’s Vineyard arribo al país, sin embargo quedaban algunas horas de viaje para llegar al destino final en playa Flamingo. Formalmente esta aventura arranco el miércoles cuando después de un buen desayuno el grupo se movilizo hasta Bahía de los Piratas para realizar un trabajo voluntario en la playa y con las tortugas, bastaron pocos segundos para que todos se enamoraran de este hermoso lugar, iniciando con el pie derecho nuestro día, pero lo mejor estaba por venir…

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Después de un duro trabajo siempre viene la recompensa, un rico almuerzo frente a playa Tamarindo, arena, sombra y una rica brisa de la costa fueron los acompañantes del grupo; luego de esto, una gran tarde a bordo de un catamarán, bebidas naturales, snorkel, cena temprana a bordo del catamarán y al final un hermoso atardecer hicieron de un primer día algo mágico.

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Para nuestro segundo día el grupo Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School 2016 se fue para el volcán Rincón de la Vieja; senderos se recorrieron, arboles de varios tipos, algunos animales, lodo volcánico hirviendo, fumarolas y ríos fueron parte del recorrido de los jóvenes durante la mañana, en el camino disfrutaron de un rico almuerzo y luego nos fuimos para las cataratas Llanos del Cortes, otro lugar mágico que sin duda los enamoró, mezcla perfecta para nadar y disfrutar de la naturaleza.

Una cena en el camino y a descansar que mañana será un día con nuevas aventuras; poco a poco el grupo va entendiendo el verdadero significado del Pura Vida!

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Hoy el grupo de Martha’s Vineyarde traslado hacia Arenal, pero primero tuvieron una parada para un tour de bote en medio de la naturaleza. Muchos tipos de aves y cocodrilos se pudieron observar desde el bote, así como también cocodrilos y algunos monos. El almuerzo fue en el lugar, un una gran vista de las plantaciones de caña de azúcar que se pueden apreciar desde una casona histórica, patrimonio del Costa Rica.

El resto de la tarde nos dirigimos hacia el volcán Arenal, otra belleza natural de Costa Rica, al llegar al lugar las chichas, chicos y profesoras se relajaron en las aguas termales, para después deleitar una gran cena en el lugar, ahora sí a descansar por que las aventuras continúan mañana.

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Despertar en La Fortuna de San Carlos siempre es mágico, aun con ese clima lluvioso, después de un desayuno típico nos trasladamos hasta el proyecto ASIS, mezcla de sentimientos, tristeza al saber que existen personas que le hacen tanto a los animales indefensos, alegría al conocer que este tipo de fundaciones que ayudan y dan refugios a estos animales, y felicidad al saber que este proyecto no solo les da refugio si no también los tratan de reintegrar nuevamente a la naturaleza. Un gran aprendizaje para nuestros estudiantes.

Por la tarde el grupo de Martha’s Vineyard se traslado hacia Monteverde, otro paraíso natural de Costa Rica, zona montañosa de bosque nuboso, sin embargo el clima y el sol estaban esperando para recibirlos de una forma única, un hermoso atardecer, al final una deliciosa cena en el hotel y a descansar.

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Domingo, un día para conocer un poco el área de Monteverde, caminata primero por el centro de Santa Elena para después jugar a la búsqueda del tesoro, integrarse un poco mas con la cultura costarricense y la comunidad era parte de la idea de juego.

Para el final de la mañana los estudiantes vinieron a la escuela para realizar la prueba de ubicación y la entrevista, un típico almuerzo en el centro de Monteverde, y un poco de la historia de la localidad para por la tarde disfrutar de una tarde de película y juegos dentro de la escuela. En la noche una buena cena en la comunidad y a descansar por que mañana Martha’s Vineyard inicia las clases de español.

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Lunes, las clases iniciaron, los estudiantes y profesores arrancaron con mucha energía y ganas de aprender, para la tarde nos fuimos a un tour de trapiche, café y caña de azúcar. De cada uno un gran aprendizaje en el proceso de cultivo y producción de los productos, dos muy buenas partes fue viajar en carreta (medio de transporte antiguo) y preparar un postre tradicional y poder llevarlo de regreso al hotel. Al final de la tarde no podían faltar las clases de baile latino, mucha energía y entusiasmo departe de todos, una clase que se aprovecho al máximo, para al final una rica cena, para después ir a descansar y reponer el energías para mañana.

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Bueno hoy martes un día más relajado y tranquilo, clases por la mañana y por la tarde se disfruto de largo y relajante tour a caballo, en el cual se pudieron apreciar aves y vistas hermosas de Monteverde. Al final del tour los estudiantes y profesores de Martha’s Vineyard estaban un poco adoloridos sin embargo valió la pena porque el tour fue muy bueno. Una gran cena en un restaurante de la localidad y nuevamente a descansar que por seguro mañana será un día largo.

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Hoy miércoles fue un día extremo, después de las clases de español y un buen almuerzo en la escuela Martha’s Vineyard se dirigió a una tarde llena de aventura, primero una caminata sobre los puentes colgantes, para después iniciar la aventura del canopy, con vistas increíbles y mucha adrenalina los participantes del grupo disfrutaron al máximo esta aventura. Ya por la noche nos fuimos a una caminata nocturna en donde se pudieron apreciar distintos animales en su hábitat nocturno natural. Después una gran cena y a regresar al hotel para hacer tareas y descansar, fue un día largo pero muy provechoso!

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Para hoy jueves, los estudiantes recibieron clases durante toda la mañana, una buena dosis de español para seguir aprendiendo. Después de un típico almuerzo costarricense los estudiantes recibieron una charla sobre como funciona una granja sostenible en el área de Monteverde, un intercambio de ideas fue uno de los puntos interesantes de la conversación, luego una degustación de café típico de la zona. Para el resto de la tarde tuvieron un descanso o tiempo libre para caminar o hacer algunas compras en el centro de Santa Elena y por la noche disfrutaron una deliciosa cena en uno de los restaurantes de la comunidad. Mañana va a ser el último día de clases entonces es justo descansar y reponer energías.

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Hoy ultimo día de clases, un poco de nostalgia pero a la vez felicidad por lo aprendido hasta el momento, sin duda conocimiento que se puede emplear en el futuro tanto en lo personal como en la parte académica y ser la base para aplicarlo en la vida profesional, luego tuvimos una ceremonia de graduación para nuestros estudiantes de Martha’s Vineyard, con entrega de certificados. Ellos no se podían escapar del CPI sin tener una clase de cocina costarricense, ellos prepararon una receta típica llamada Arroz con pollo.

Durante la tarde nos fuimos para la Reserva de Santa Elena, una caminata con mucha naturaleza que fue bien aprovechada por nuestro grupo.

Para el final de la noche visitamos otro de los restaurantes de Monteverde, una cena deliciosa preparada para una noche de recuento de experiencias, para nosotros el CPI fue un gusto tenerlos en una de nuestras casas, esperamos verlos pronto y que todo fuera una gran experiencia, que mañana sea un gran viaje de regreso a sus hogares un abrazo enorme y PURA VIDA!!!    

 

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Southwest Anesthesia & Medical Seminars

Bienvenidos Shamila y Jon, anestesistas y ahora estudiantes del programa Medical Spanish for Health Care Professionals, impartido en el CPI Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste, durante una semana estaremos acompañándolos durante esta nueva aventura que ayudara no solo en lo profesional si no también en la vida, esto va a ser una gran experiencia, bienvenidos de nuevo Southwest Anesthesia & Medical Seminarsimg_8638

Fue una semana rápida con mucho mucho estudio, tareas y mas, sin embargo provechosa, los estudiantes de Southwest Anesthesia & Medical Seminars finalizaron hoy el curso y aunque fue duro ellos sacaron el provecho necesario para sus carreras y para su vida en general, agradecemos a Shamila y Jon por la oportunidad de estudiar con nosotros y al señor Richard Saucier por hacerlos llegar hasta CPI Flamingo, esperamos verlos nuevamente y desde ya estamos ansiosos por los próximos estudiantes que vendrán a participar de este programa, nuevamente muchas gracias y pura vida!!!

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Hola, ¿Cómo estan? Hoy inició un nuevo programa de Southwest Anesthesia & Medical Seminars y con el programa nos van acompañar Donna. Olesya y Emmy a las cuales les damos una muy cordial bienvenida, ellas durante esta semana estarán aprendiendo español así también como ejemplos de diálogos que van a ser de gran ayuda con su vida laboral. Sin duda va a ser una gran semana, una gran experiencia!!!

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Texas A&M Fall Break 2016!

En el primer día en Costa Rica, Texas A&M Fall Break después de un buen almuerzo típico costarricense se dirigió a la escuela del CPI para tomar el examen de ubicación, la orientación y conocer un poco las instalaciones de la escuela. Un día largo y cansado pero sin duda la playa repone esa energía!img_8369

Ya después de descansar con nuestras familias ticas, nada mejor que conocer la localidad de Brasilito, pero que mejor forma de hacerlo que ir a las playas ticas, con su naturaleza, romance y aventura. Caminar sobre la arena, sintiendo el agua del mar entre nuestros pies hicieron de esta una gran caminata, además el ver como somos uno solo con la naturaleza, empiezan a sorprender este país.

Conchal, nuestra segunda playa en el día, parte conchas parte arena más blanca, listos para disfrutar un día de playa, agua de coco fría, playa, sol y frutas tropicales, esto es Costa Rica, Pura Vida!!!

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img_8125Y llegó el domingo…

El domingo fue un gran día, muchas actividades, un canopy lleno de aventura y adrenalina hizo que el grupo de Texas A&M Fall Break disfrutara de un encuentro único con la naturaleza, zip line, ríos, arboles enormes y montaña hacen que la aventura y la paz interior se mezclen creando el más hermoso sentimiento del Pura Vida; pero no es todo, todavía faltaba que “las chicas y el chico” se relajaron de una forma sin igual, baños de lodo y termales son la mejor combinación para esto!

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img_8274Para el final de la tarde, un pequeño tour sorpresa, para nadie es un secreto que el café costarricense es de los mejores a nivel mundial y por supuesto Texas A&M Fall Break no podía dejar de lado la  posibilidad de conocer esta parte de la cultura costarricense, conocer un cafetal, el proceso del cultivo y tueste del café, así como una degustación fue parte de este tour; sin embargo el conocer un poco de la actividad agrícola de la zona también fue parte del tour, caña de azúcar y árboles frutales formaron parte de la charla. Ahora si después de un par de días recargando energías estaban listos para iniciar las clases.

Lunes, iniciamos con el programa de español para Texas A&M Fall Break, luego de un buen día de lecciones de español, vinieron las clases de cocina latina, un plato típico costarricense fue preparado por los estudiantes, “el típico casado” que ellos cocinaron estuvo delicioso, una combinación de arroz, frijoles, pollo en salsa, ensalada, pico de gallo y tortillas acompañado con un fresco de tamarindo fue el almuerzo del grupo ayer al medio día.

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Después de las tareas, Costa Rica y el cielo se encargaron de regalarnos un increíble atardecer donde en una mezcla de colores dio fin a un gran día de estudios y nuevos amigos

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img_8414 img_8416Martes, ni te cases ni te embarques (frase típica costarricense, solo un chiste), hoy sin duda alguna fue el día mas caliente desde que el grupo llegó a Costa Rica, sin embargo nada mejor para combatir ese calor que después de clases adentrarnos más en la cultura tica, clases de baile pusieron a mover el cuerpo de las estudiantes de Texas A&M Fall Break, ritmos como la cumbia, salsa y bachata calentaron aún más la pista, vaya manera de terminar el día. Pura Vida!!!

 

 

Hoy miércoles fue un día mas que emotivo, nuestra aventura llevo hoy al grupo de Texas A&M Fall Break hasta la escuela de Huacas, fue un día de trabajo voluntario, de mucho aprendizaje para todos, los niños aprendieron mucho vocabulario en ingles, Texas A&M Fall Break aprendió mucho mas de la cultura costarricense, su sistema de educación y lo duro que puede ser, sin embargo lo mejor fue la sonrisa de los niños y la satisfacción del grupo de Texas A&M por la ayuda brindada a la escuela y la comunidad; para cerrar el día un hermoso atardecer en playa Flamingo, un atardecer que enamora…

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El jueves, nuestro grupo Texas A&M Fall Break, disfruto de una tarde libre en playa Tamarindo, compras y caminata por la playa fueron la prioridad en esta visita, sin embargo no se podía dejar pasar la oportunidad de bañarse en esta hermosa playa, sin duda una gran tarde para Texas A&M fall Break.

Viernes, ultimo día de escuela, pero no el ultimo día en Costa Rica, un día muy especial para los estudiantes de Texas A&M Fall Break, hoy fue la graduación de ellos y con esto se empiezan a mezclar sentimientos, la satisfacción de haber logrado cumplir con el objetivo de estudio y la nostalgia de despedirse de los que ayudaron a formar esa parte académica durante esta semana, una experiencia única que va acabando desde el punto de vista académico en Costa Rica, pero un nuevo inicio en la parte de formación de vida de las chicas, Pura Vida!

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El sábado la aventura llevo al grupo de Texas A&M Fall break hasta La Fortuna de San Carlos, cerca del volcán Arenal, un largo trayecto pero con vistas únicas, rodearon y nos detuvimos en el lago del Arenal para capturar con las cámaras pero principalmente con nuestras retinas ese hermoso paisaje. Inspira paz el solo estar ahí… después de arribar a la fortuna y realizar un pequeño tour por la localidad las chicas se fueron de compras. Para el resto de la tarde nos fuimos a las aguas termales y una gran vista del volcán, claro está, esto después de un gran y delicioso almuerzo

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El domingo fue la despedida de Texas A&M Fall Break, el grupo regreso a la universidad a poner en práctica lo aprendido, esperamos que esto fuera una gran aventura y una enorme enseñanza para ustedes, esperamos verlos pronto, muchas gracias y pura vida!!!

 

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TAMU Biomedical in Costa Rica

On a late Sunday afternoon the Texas A&M Biomedical group arrived at the CPI Heredia campus for oral testing and orientation to homestays.

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Games were a part of our time on campus and a bit later the families started making their appearance. It was fun to see the interactions and before we knew it all the students were settled in to their new homes.

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The first week in Heredia was full of classes and learning. The mornings were spent in Spanish classes and the afternoons in the field visiting different sites that spoke to the students’ majors.

The first full day we went to visit a veterinary clinic; the biggest one in the Central Valley. Doctor Andrés was very knowledgeable and toured us around the clinic, showing us the many rooms that made up the clinic.

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From the reception to the physical therapy room, from the lab to the grassy back yard, it is a professional and successful clinic. We got to see some patients in different stages of care, and it was very clear this clinic gives its all to make sure the patients have the best treatment.

In the afternoon it rained cats and dogs and to take advantage of the weather homework was done and everyone spent time with their home stay families.

Tuesday dawned bright and early and again Spanish classes were in order for the morning. In the afternoon a visit to a private hospital was scheduled.

Our visit to the private hospital CIMA was a success. The hospital in one the most prestigious in its class in Costa Rica. Spacious hallways and rooms, state of the art equipment, friendly staff, and an overall sense of knowledge and competency left no doubt in our minds as to the quality of the services offered at CIMA.

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A dynamic and interactive white board in each room drew our attention. This gives the opportunity for patients, family or friends, and hospital staff the chance to write down questions, comments, important information (be it medical or personal), positive thoughts, things to remember, etc

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The following day was full of cultural and interesting activities. We had our latin cooking class where we had to prepare our lunch.

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Our menu was picadillo de papa con carne, arroz, frijoles, ensalada, y tortillas. Picadillo is a tradicional Costa Rican dish and it can be made of finely cut up vegetables: potato, chayote (type of squash), arracache (Arracacia xanthorrhiza for those exacting science types. This is starchy root tasting a bit like a cross between a carrot and celery), ayote (squash), zanahoria y vainica (carrot and green beans), and many more. Ours we made with potato, onion, bell peppers, ground beef, celery, garlic, and cilantro. Or culantro, as it’s called in Costa Rica.

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Our lunch was delicious and then it was off for the walk about San Joaquín. The afternoon was threatening rain quite seriously but we decided to brave the weather, armed with our umbrellas and rain jackets. Since most of the group knew where we and other important landmarks were, our tour was spent talking and pointing out other interesting cultural things. A couple of girls tried out the Costa Rican snow cones: Copos or Granizados

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Costa Rica, along with the other Central American countries, became independent from Spain in September of 1821 and for everyone to know this great news a group of people was sent from country to country, beginning in Guatemala, to make this announcement. History tells us that the very first time a man from Guatemala ran through the streets carrying a lantern symbolizing hope for the future for all citizens. Present day torch runners from each country run the length of Central America (approximately 350 kilometers) with a lit torch and kids from all ages meet the torch at key locations throughout the countries to receive this fire and take it to their home towns and schools.

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A couple of groups of school kids waiting for the torch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every year on the 14th of September this event occurs and TAMU was privileged to be part of this celebration this year. We saw as the main torch passed by the main street in San Joaquín and its fire was shared to the other school kids waiting impatiently and with patriotic pride to carry the “good news” back to their home towns. Everyone cheered loudly as the main torch kept going; on to the original capital of Costa Rica: Cartago.

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As if the heavens knew and were waiting for the torch to run through San Joaquín, it all of a sudden started to rain, one of the hardest downpours so far in TAMU’s Heredia stay. All of us got soaked!

The weather didn’t deter our trip that evening to the nearby town of San Lorenzo. The festivities continued that evening as the torch was received, the National Anthem was sung, and other speeches given. There was no rain that night at all. The only evidence of the inclement weather of the afternoon was the muddy soccer field.

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The popular place to be was the soccer field of San Lorenzo as the town council had made arrangements for marimbas to be set up in each of the field corners, a stage was set up (later we would see why!), and the traditional Desfile de Faroles, or The Lantern Parade, started from this point.

The Desfile de Faroles represents the Guatemalan delegates of yesteryear lighting lanterns to symbolize the receiving of the independence torch. To this day every town and city in Costa Rica holds this tradition dear. It has become, in some places, a competition of sort with the locals making the most beautiful “farol”. Both young and old make these hand crafted works of art.

A couple of our girls bought faroles and proudly showed them off. Little Mandy Lu also joined the festivities with her own farol!

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After we had walk a few blocks around San Lorenzo with our faroles it was time to switch modes. Marimbas were playing and people were milling about and eating the food that was for sale. It was then we found out why the stage had been put up. A national TV comedian, doña Merry Christmas, was invited to perform for the town. She, or more correctly “he”, embodies a typical Costa Rican homemaker, from humble origins, hard working mother, cleaner extraordinaire, loves to cook, and must look nice: at all times!

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She/he got the show going and asked for volunteers. Before we knew it one of our own, David, was up on stage participating! 😀 David won by a long shot!

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The night ended with an absolutely spectacular show of fireworks. They were set up in the middle of the soccer field and once the authorities made sure everyone was out of harm’s way the amazing show got underway. It was loud and colorful. It seemed to go on forever. Just when we thought the show was over more fireworks would paint a magnificent design in the night sky.

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Independence Day dawned hot and the sky was bright blue; the fluffy clouds giving no hint of rain from the day before. The civic act and speeches started very early, and the parades started after that. Sun block and water were key to have handy this day.

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The streets were filled with people enjoying this meaningful patriotic day. The parades started off with the smallest kids and their schools. The high school kids followed. The well rehearsed moves showed off the dresses, flags, and the privilege to be in the parade was clear in everyone’s stance and face. There was even a band made up of alumni from a well known nearby high school. There were students in the parade dressed in beautiful typical dresses, dancing to the tune that the band behind them played.

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Little Mandy Lu was dressed beautifully for the occasion!

 

 

Lots of people took their dogs. There were lots of sizes and colors and they didn’t seem to mind the loud drums, music, and crowd.

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People were obviously proud to be Costa Rican this day, showing off the red, white, and blue colors of the flag. TAMU Biomedical was privileged to have been part of this celebration! ¡Viva Costa Rica!

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Our next event was a talk on the pharmaceutical guild in Costa Rica. Dr. Marvin Gómez is an expert in his field. The talk was enlightening and professional.

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Dance class followed Dr. Gómez’s talk. Geraldine took over and it was a great way to finish the day. She was animated and lots of fun. She showed us three rhythms: merengue, salsa, and swing criollo. This last originates in the 1950’s combining Colombian cumbia and US swing. It was started by the working class in the Costa Rican Central Valley and has its own moves; it’s not comparable to any other style of dancing.

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Geraldine and her partner made sure everyone was out on the dance floor and having fun. She even gave us a small presentation for swing criollo. A fun afternoon, to be sure!

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Saturday morning we went white water rafting. Some of us had done it before and others hadn’t. That didn’t slow anyone down, however! It was an adrenaline filled day; it had rained the night before and the river was medium high and super fun! The guides got a kick out of teasing the group and splashing us repeatedly with water. Most everyone slept on the bus for the two hours back to the Central Valley.

The second week TAMU Biomedical was in Heredia was again full of Spanish classes, site visits, and time spent with host families. The CPI teachers expressed their satisfaction as to how well the group was advancing in their Spanish. Yay!

One of our guest speakers was on medicinal plants in Costa Rica. What they are, where they grow, their historical uses, present day uses, etc. The talk was given by Dr. Rafael Ocampo, renown author, researcher, agronomist, and as he puts it, a bit crazy! He brought in examples of different medicinal plants and books to share.

Another great visit was to the Medical School of the Universidad de Costa Rica. The dean of the school received us and gave us a lecture, then toured us around the school.

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It was interesting to learn the way medical professionals are formed and their careers afterwards. We also learned how the students are chosen, how the admissions tests work in Costa Rica, how foreign doctors can come to Costa Rica and practice medicine in country, and other practical and logistical aspects. We saw how medicine is intertwined with everyday life and how our daily decisions when we are young affect our future, medically speaking.

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One day in the second week a trip to the local Heredia market was planned. To make the experience more interesting we took the public bus. Public transportation in Costa Rica is overall safe and reliable. We waited a few minutes at the bus stop and then piled in the crowded bus. Some of us got seats and some had to stand. The ride was around 20 minutes, spent taking in the scenery and taking pics.

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A market is the predecessor of the modern mall. Most Costa Rican cities have a market and it’s a great cultural experience. One can find all kind of things one needs, and doesn’t imagine needing ever! The sights are colorful, the cacophony of sounds fills ones ears, some of the smells are unidentifiable, but all around an entertaining experience. The hustle and bustle of a market has a life of its own.

Lunch was eaten in the market, not all of us in one place since each food stand is small and can’t host a big group. Things tried and tasted were tamales, corn tortillas with cheese, plantains, chicharrones (pork rinds), local drink made with lots fruits, and many more.

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The group was split into smaller groups and the assignment was to interact with the locals, ask about different fruits, products on sale, and purchase a few examples of local and unusual fruits. Later, all the information was to be put together in a PowerPoint to analyze and study.

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After the market activity we walked to the famous Fortín. This is a tower built in 1876 to defend the city and now is a landmark in Heredia. It measures 13 meters high with a steep spiral staircase going up the inside. We were lucky to have had permission to go to the top since a lot of the time this monument is closed to the public. Only five people at a time are allowed to go the top and then for a short time. The view from the top of the edifice gave us a real sense of the Central Valley: its surrounding mountains and the ever growing city.

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We also got a chance to walk through the main church, La Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción. Built originally out of wood in 1704, it was torn down and the now impressive church started construction in 1797 and finished in 1804. The quiet and peaceful interior gives one a sense of awe. Of note are the stained glass windows brought over from France. Although it started as a small humble parish it is now the best known church in the town of Heredia.

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Our afternoon finished off with a trip to get ice cream. Yummy! Then back on the public bus to our homestays.

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The following day was our visit to one of the biggest and most important public hospitals in the Central Valley: Hospital México. Designed by specialists from the Mexican Institute of Social Security, it was inaugurated in 1969. The Mexican institute played a big role in its design, blueprints, and technical advice and therefore the name: Hospital México. This hospital is a modern and renowned facility where many complex and delicate cases and transplants are seen and operated.

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Fabián Soto was our guide and we began in the pharmacy section where we learned there are five different pharmacies in the hospital. The one we visited is the central one. This day it was being manned by 15 pharmacists and many pharmacy technicians. Almost 100 people work to fill prescriptions. Wow. We saw how the prescriptions were received and processed. We were impressed as to how complicated and detailed the process is.

After the pharmacy we saw different sections of the hospital: outpatient care, oncology, urology, radiology and imaging, cardiology, etc. etc. The hospital was bustling with people in all stages of care.

We then proceeded to the emergency room. This was seemed pretty calm and fortunately no emergency came while we were there. We got to meet and get toured around by one of the head doctors of the ER. He talked about the “shock room” or trauma room, surgery, the triage system, and their organ donor program.

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When we were finished in the ER we had a small section of Q&A with Fabián to finalize our afternoon visit.

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Our second cooking class was spent making the very typical arroz con pollo. Doña Eugenia, our cooking class teacher, explained all the ingredients: cebolla, ajos, apio, zanahoria, vainicas, etc. Music was put on and those carrots and green beans were chopped and cooking in a heartbeat. Another yummy meal!

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Following our cooking class was another special guest speaker: Gail Nystrom from the Humanitarian Foundation. She has worked in Costa Rica for over 20 years with the marginal and immigrant people from, not only Costa Rica, but also from different Central American countries. Her selfless work has been outstanding and generous. Her talk was inspiring and gave us lots to reflect upon.

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The following day was Saturday and our group was scheduled for a San José city tour. Our knowledgeable guide, Juan Carlos, talked a lot and showed us interesting historical or cultural landmarks and gave us some history to go along with the showing. It was a fun day and we were back to our homestays by late afternoon. Our day finished with a torrential downpour and we were happy to be inside!

Sunday dawned bright and early and it was time for TAMU Biomedical to say good bye to the families in Heredia and move on the new adventures. It had been a great two weeks in San Joaquín and everyone’s Spanish had much improved. Although goodbyes are hard the next expedition was calling: Manuel Antonio National Park and some beach time.

TAMU Biomedical was only saying “hasta luego” since in a few short weeks we would receive them again, this time in Flamingo.

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TAMU Biomedical was due for a week at the CPI beach campus after having spent a month doing other activities and classes for their university.

The weather had been raining and wet but Flamingo welcomed us with an abundance of sunshine! The day was hot and the reflection off the sand and ocean made wearing sun glasses a must. The very first day the ocean’s call was loud and everyone went to test the water for a couple of hours.

The group was divided into their respective classes and the schedule was much the same as the Spanish classed in Heredia. The food at the break was awesome; the fruit being especially refreshing.

The homestay families welcomed our group with typical Costa Rican hospitality. Although the region and families were different than the first two weeks in Heredia, the warmth and generosity was the same. The food contrasted with the meals served in Heredia but again, it was delicious!

The first full day in Flamingo we had Spanish classes in the morning and went wandering the beach in the afternoon. It was a hot and sunny afternoon and the white sand soft to our feet.

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The ocean was an amazing blue, its water a nice warm temperature. Someone mentioned how salty it was and it was interesting to explore that idea; how salty, or not, it was in the different places we had visited. The afternoon wrapped up having a few drinks and snacks at a local restaurant.

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One of our lunches was a cooking class at CPI. We had rice, beans, cabbage salad, chimichurri, tortillas, and chicken. It was a yummy lunch followed by going back to homestays, changing into our bathing suits and going to the beach.

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It was a relaxing and fun. The water was calm, the waves coming and going in that ever mesmerizing rhythm. Several girls made sand chairs, while others walked the beach; everyone took lots of pictures. The day finished with a beautiful sunset and we walked home to our homestays.

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One day we went to Liberia to visit a Veterinary Hospital and a private hospital (for people) It took us an hour to get to the vet hospital and were received by several dogs and cats, all vying for our attention.

The head vet gave us a tour around the clinic, proudly showing us her clinic, the patients, and ended the visit with moving comments as to why she became a vet, what drives her, and what she would like to accomplish.

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Our next stop was the private hospital, also in Liberia. It is a well established and respected hospital. We were shown the pharmacy, imagining section, private rooms, waiting rooms, etc. If one were to choose a hospital to go to this would definitely be a great choice! Our visit ended with a stop in the ER to chat with the doctor on call. He was helpful and answered all of our questions.

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A couple of days later we had a talk by a doctor from a doctor stationed in Flamingo. He talked to us about the private clinic in this rural area, the challenges, goals, examples of different cases seen, and even brought their ambulance so we could see it first-hand.

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Friday dawned clear and bright: graduation day had come! There was some commotion getting things ready and everyone was excited.

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Each group presented a small part of a couple of songs that had been assigned to them. The songs are very much tropical and dance-able, but the lyrics are meaningful and have a social awareness impact that one would not think to pay attention to.

 

 

Then came the certificates; both teachers and students proudly posing for the camera!

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Dancing is a big part of the Latin American culture and we couldn’t not have a dance class at least one time in Flamingo. Our teacher went over basic steps for bachata and salsa.

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In the afternoon it was time to laze in Playa Conchal. This is an awesome beach made up completely of broken shells. The whiteness of the “sand” and the clearness of the water make this beach one of the most beautiful beaches in Guanacaste.

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Almost as a must-do activity in Flamingo is the catamaran snorkel cruise. We spent Saturday morning touring and chilling in the town of Tamarindo, followed by a delicious lunch.

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The catamaran was right after lunch and it was the highlight of the day. The water was clear, as was the sky, the drinks refreshing, the crew most helpful, music to dance to, and all around TAMU had a wonderful time.

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Snorkeling and paddle boarding were part of the lazy afternoon. A late lunch was served after everyone had gotten tired from swimming and snorkeling. And the sunset from on deck was fully appreciated by all.

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Sunday was the last day in Flamingo. It was time to say goodbye. It was a bittersweet moment; it was time for new adventures and yet it was a bit sad to say goodbye to the families and good times in Flamingo and CPI.

Thanks for coming and spending time with us at CPI! Until next time!

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All the best to TAMU Biomedical!!!! 🙂

PURA VIDA!!!

 

 

 

 

El Paso Community College 2016, Summer in Flamingo

A small group from El Paso Community College arrived in Costa Rica a warm Friday afternoon to enjoy a few days in Heredia before going on to CPI’s Flamingo campus. They had a tour of the capital city, San José, saw the sights of the Gold Museum, National Theater, and had lunch at a local restaurant. The following day the group got up bright and early to have a good time at Café Britt. They learned about the coffee process; from the time the seed is planted to the time the coffee is poured into the cup. It was informative and fun! Lots of coffee savored too!

In the afternoon the group got in the van for the long ride to Flamingo in the Guanacaste province. In Flamingo they met up with the rest of the group that had arrived that day and the adventure began in Flamingo.

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Monday dawned bright and hot and the CPI staff in Flamingo received the group for placements and orientation. The group was split into several smaller groups for Spanish classes and it was an entertaining and pleasant experience the rest of the week.

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Two of the experiences that highlighted the week were dance class and cooking class. The teacher was energetic and lively.

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For cooking class the group had to prepare a typical meal for lunch. This time it was casado con pollo; a typical Costa Rica dish consisting of rice, beans, salad, and chicken fixed up with lots of condiments. The meal was complimented with a natural fruit juice: cas. A little tart fruit, cas is in the guava family and is smaller and more sour.

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The week went by with Spanish classes in the morning and activities around the Flamingo area in the afternoons. Not everyone did all the activities together although it happened many times that people chose to the same things together.

One afternoon Playa Conchal was chosen to visit. This beach is known for its beautiful white sand and broken shells. The name, “Conchal” comes from “concha”, or shell. The sunset was an amazing sight!

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In the evening the group ate out at a local restaurant. A bit of time was spent doing homework before calling it a day.

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Wednesday was the day chosen to do the catamaran cruise after morning classes. The catamaran set sail from the nearby town of Tamarindo. That afternoon was awesome! A sea turtle swam by and was seen by lots of people from on deck.

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There was music, dancing, and food was served. Snorkeling was an option as well as paddle boarding. The sunset was another spectacular sight, made more special by being on the catamaran.

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Playa Danta was another destination and this was spent exploring the beach, kayaking, and relaxing in the shade. The onsite restaurant was yummy!

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The week was going by all too quickly and it was time to go shopping and exploring in Tamarindo. Yet another beach to explore! Gelato (Italian for ice cream) was a popular choice of snack for the afternoon too!

Friday was graduation day! Spanish classes continued in the morning as normal and the graduation ceremony was held near lunch time. The teachers had all kinds of nice and complimentary things to say about their students for the week and all who studied were presented their diploma.

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Saturday was full of fun and adventure. The activity planned was an all day trip to Rincón de la Vieja with horseback riding, river tubing, lunch, canopy tour, and finally relaxing in the volcanic mud baths and hot water pools.

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The day was overflowing with activities and the trip back to Flamingo was a quiet one since most everyone was happily tired.

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The week for El Paso in Flamingo was coming to a close and it was time to say “hasta luego”. It had been a pleasant week full of fun. Spanish classes had been engaging and filled with learning.

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¡Hasta la próxima El Paso! ¡Los esperamos muy pronto de nuevo!

The Last Few Days…

Wednesday, the group enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Ram Luna, with views overlooking the city lights at night. Everyone enjoyed a buffet dinner before the show started at 8pm. The show included a traditional dance and music of Costa Rica. One of the students was invited to dance with some of the dancers at the end of the show! It was a night no one will forget anytime soon.

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Thursday, the group had dance class in the morning, where they learned Salsa, Bachata, and the Merengue. Everyone was paired into couples and had a great time learning the steps.

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After dance class, the group had a cooking class with the chef at Heredia. The group helped with chopping vegetables, making the rice and preparing the chicken for their chicken and rice lunch. It was absolutely delicious meal, that everyone enjoyed after all their hard work!

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La Carpio Round 2!

The group was able to return to La Carpio this past Tuesday to volunteer with the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation. In the morning the group split into 3 different teams to paint houses, work in the montessori and to work in the small library with children. The morning was filled with lots of smiles, laughter and hard work. It was extremely rewarding for the group to spend their time getting to love on the children in La Carpio.

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Continuando el Voluntariado

El día de hoy los estudiantes de WiHi tuvieron otro día de voluntariado y pudieron comenzar el segundo proyecto, pintar el centro de Salud del pueblo. Algunos estudiantes se quedaron con algunas personas de la comunidad terminando los detalles del Salón Comunal mientras que el resto del grupo comenzó a pintar el centro de salud. Hoy fue un día muy ocupado para los estudiantes porque había mucho que pintar sin embargo lograron hacer un muy buen trabajo y dejar la mayoría del trabajo listo para continuar el día siguiente.

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