Thursday, May 24th. Landing in Costa Rica at the airport of Alajuela the students started coming one by one in different flights. After all of them arrived we started heading to our hotel Bougainvillea located in Santo Domingo, Heredia. Nice views from our rooms showing the city lights from San Jose which is the capital of Costa Rica.
Second day. After a good rest and a good traditional breakfast the group continue the trip. We arrived to CPI school in San Joaquin, Heredia. The welcome meeting and orientation started with some basic information about Costa Rica. For example what things we recommend to do and what things we shouldn’t do during our experience visiting the tropics. Then finally the students met their host families enriching their cultural experience.
Walking around San Joaquin has helped the students to become familiar with the place that they are going to live for a month. San Joaquín de Flores is a charming, colorful and quaint colonial town located ten miles from San José. Everything can be reached on foot and along the way students can visit historic landmarks and buildings from the 18th century.
In the first week the group has visited a coffee plantation where they had a funny and educational tour. Teaching the students how coffee plants grow and the different factors that makes costarican coffee one of the best coffees in the whole world.
On Monday the group started with its first class of the program. The students look excited about this new experience to study abroad. In a class of the CPI school the guys are going to be studying almost every day during the mornings. After classes they are going to do different activities and some days they have plans to go visit hospitals, clinics and health centers.
The first activity for them was a latin dance class. Dancing different rhythms like merengue, salsa and bachata the students have experienced how ticos have fun in a dance floor.
The adventure will continue.
The fisrt week was a complete success.
Besides taking classes every morning and keeping with the program and course of syllabus. The group after the dancing class they proceed with a latin cooking class. This class was very interesting and funny. The guys learned the right way to chop vegetables in order to prepare one of our very traditional meals in Costa Rica ”arroz con pollo” or rice with chicken. Of course after they prepared the meal they ate what they cooked. They are good chefs because the final result was great and the food was delicious.
Some free afternoons are part of the itinerary, so in this free time the students have the chance to explore on their own, visit and eat in different restaurants. Also this free time is good because they spend time together as a group and they get to meet each other in a deeper way to create a bond between the group members.
The group visited the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social where they had a talk about how the health care system works in Costa Rica. It was a very educational talk and the guys got to now almost every detail about the different ways that all costaricans and also inmigrants use their social insurance.
Next day the group visited a community of nicaranguan inmigrants where they got to see the shocking conditions where a lot of people in Costa Rica live. In general this community is inhabited by people who came from Nicaragua to try to find a better quality of life. The houses are built mostly with very cheap materials and the field is unstable. It was a very nice experience for all of us because they get to appreciate more what they have and be more grateful with life.
The group visited La Paz Waterfall Gardens on Saturday. Walking through the forest and looking at the beautiful waterfalls. They could see all the different species of animals in their animal sanctuary and they ate a very yummy lunch too. It was an all day trip so when they arrived to San Joaquin they were ready to go to their host families houses to have dinner with them.
The group went to a Costa Rica soccer game on Sundayin the National Stadium. It was a friendly game against Ireland. Costa Rica won 3 to 0. It was a special match because it was the last game in our country before the world cup begins. Saying bye to the players and sending positive vibes to them hoping they are going to do a good job in Russia.
On Monday the program continued with a visit to the EBAIS (Equipos Basicos de Atencion Integral en Salud). These health centers are a very important part in the costarican health system. So, for them was a very academic visit where they got to understand how costaricans are cared.