Teachers Lead Students on Trip to Costa Rica
A group of Natick High School students traveled to Costa Rica during February school vacation, where they were able to learn about the culture firsthand.
A group of 18 students and three teachers from Natick High School traveled to Costa Rica during February vacation for nine days of education, sightseeing and fun.
“I feel that the Costa Rica trip was a hit,” Spanish teacher Melidenise Vasquez, who had previously led student trips to Spain, said. “Spain has a lot of history, but Costa Rica was very different. You can’t learn from just a textbook. Their culture is very laid back.”
The group from Natick traveled with students from Boston Latin and Marlborough Math & Science, and a tour guide led them throughout the trip.
One of the themes the students seemed to talk about a lot when asked about their trip was the beauty of the country, as well as how they all seemed to try things they had never done before. One of those things that some of the students had never tried before was horseback riding.
“I was afraid of animals before,” junior Kyle Collins said. “I’m scared of birds. But horseback riding wasn’t that bad. It was one of the highlights.”
“They just threw me on the horse,” said Linsey Malia, who is also a junior. “We rode on the side of a mountain with a view of the coffee plantations.”
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The Natick students also got an opportunity to observe firsthand what education looks like in Costa Rica when they spent a day at an elementary school. Not only was it obvious how different the school is socioeconomically from what they’re used to seeing here in the United States, but the setup was a shocker as well, with one classroom filled with students ranging in grade level from kindergarten to 5th grade.
Kerryn O’Sullivan, another Natick teacher who went on the trip, noted how the computers the school had were really old and outdated.
“My favorite part of the trip was the elementary school,” junior Melissa Aste said. “We got to see what life was really like in Costa Rica. We played soccer and spoke Spanish with the kids.”
For Vasquez, taking students on trips abroad is much more than simply taking them on a fun trip. She wants them to experience the world, and preparation for the trip is part of that experience.
Each student does a presentation on a certain aspect of the trip before they go so that they’ll be familiar with the different places they visit.
“I wanted them to learn,” Vasquez said. “If they wanted to travel you have to do background.”
The plan now is for a trip to Spain next year and then another school trip to Costa Rica in 2015.
“I want to have students want to travel abroad in college,” Vasquez said. “Hopefully how we ended this trip will spark interest for next year.”