In less than twenty four hours fourteen students and two adult chaperones will be on their way to Costa Rica to begin an adventure. I can’t wait! Admittedly, I also can’t sleep. Before a trip, I get so anxious worrying about last-minute details, that I am writing this at 4:00 a.m. (yikes!).
This will be the second time I have gone on this trip, and I am looking forward to so many things. I am eager to go to the places we ventured before and look at them at a deeper level. Without everything being so new, I wonder what I will notice that I missed the first time around. For me, the first trip to Costa Rica opened my eyes to a whole different kind of travel. Before going on the trip, I saw an ideal trip as one where I could see some landmarks or sleep in the sun (and, don’t get me wrong, I will never turn down a day at the beach). After the trip, I realized that what I had most enjoyed was getting to know members of the local community and seeing plants and wildlife I had never seen before. It hit me that travel isn’t just about relaxing and taking photos, it is about working to understand a world different than our own. I truly hope that our students end the trip believing this is true, as well.
On this trip, we get to experience so many different regions and ecosystems in Costa Rica. It is truly eye-opening. As we learn about the country’s efforts in environmental sustainability during every stop, our students will have a chance to understand the fragility of our environment, the wonder of a diverse ecosystem, and what can be accomplished when leaders in government, industry, and science come together to solve problems. Our service work is largely environmental – trail work, beach clean-ups, and some community resource work in our homestay community. My wish for our students is that they be inspired by what they learn about sustainability in Costa Rica and apply it back at home.
One of the things I am most eager to see is how our students will fare without cell phones for nearly two weeks. In the time leading up to the trip, students spent some time reflecting on this. While there is some anxiety about not being connected in a virtual sense, students are really looking forward to a different and perhaps more authentic sense of connection with one another.
Each day of the trip, at least one student will write a blog post. We will send them along to George School to add to this blog (we will have photos going forward!). We hope you will follow along. You can also keep up with our trip on our Instagram. Follow us on Instagram @gs_costarica19. Pura Vida!
Photo of Arenal Volcano National Park – one of our stops on the trip