This trip to Costa Rica was a truly amazing experience. Spending all this time outside of school with students in a foreign country where you are learning together is invaluable. Two things really stood out to me. First, our students truly were selfless in their service learning project at the local school. They stepped up and showed me a side that we don’t get to see inside the school building. They understood the need that was conveyed to us and dedicated hours of their time to assist in landscaping to deal with a mosquito problem and build a fence to secure the area around the school. Their attitude, their conversations, their work ethic – all were focused on the task at hand which was to help this group of students in need. It was special to witness the switch. They understood this time was not about them, but a little bit of their time and hard work could mean so much more to someone in need.
The second thing that stood out was the students stepping out of their comfort zone. They tried new foods, drinks, and even speaking in Spanish. True growth takes place once you leave your comfort zone and that is what I saw on this trip – growth in our students.
Finally, as I sit and reflect on this and past school years along with this trip, I think it is evident that we need to continue to have high expectations for our students and provide them with opportunities to learn and grow outside of the classroom. No lesson or text book can give them what they just experienced on this week long excursion to Costa Rica. If we want to create well rounded, self-sufficient citizens that are life long learners who can think globally and act locally to impact our communities they need experiences such as this as many others that take place out of the classroom.
Derek Gorham, Academy Director – Friendship Chamberlain
The animals were way different from the ones I see in dc. In Costa Rica, you most likely wouldn’t see the same animals everyday. We saw the normal cows, chickens, dogs but we also encountered monkeys, crocodiles, and even a sloth. There were many bugs there. I got scared a lot because the bugs looked like poisonous insects but they don’t harm you. Outside of San Jose, most of the hotels were in the rain forest, so we got to see more animals and try different foods.
Out of this whole trip, I’m gonna miss the travelers, tourists, (some) foods, drinks, and two hotels (they had many memories and fun activities in them). It was really interesting seeing how they lived and how they basically had only what they needed. I didn’t see things being wasted or any extravagant items. The people we met were very nice and always made us feel welcome. I really liked how nice the people were there. That isn’t always the case here in DC. This was really fun and I hope we can do it again some time in the future.
Aniyah Wallace, 8th Grader
The trip to Costa Rica was a different experience and had an impact on me. San Jose was very nice and it was city like except for it was small. We saw their national theater, their central market (It reminded me of our Eastern Market by Chamberlain) and a fancy hotel where President Kennedy stayed. The other areas we went to weren’t in the city. We visited the rainforests and the views and scenery were like out of magazines. The flowers and the fruit trees – The sights were amazing and we even went zip lining which was a fun experience. We zip lined through the rainforest and over rivers and past mountains.
One of the things that stood out was that we had to help some people in need at a small school only built for 10 children grades K thru 5 with one teacher and one lunch lady. We planted trees and built a fence for the school. I think we made an impact and we even got praised for being the hardest working group there. That made Mr. Gorham happy! And I was happy to help someone in need. We should do more of that.
I learned some things about culture like Joe family and education are very important. They don’t even have an army in Costa Rica – they value education over war. And I learned they don’t sped a lot of money on things we do. I don’t think I could do that; I like my things. I would love to travel again, but probably not to Costa Rica.
Alana McClellan, 8th Grader Chamberlain