WEB EXCLUSIVE Sophomores arrived back to San Francisco this weekend and returned to a regular school schedule on Monday after a week in Costa Rica.
“Although I loved the trip, I’m glad to be home,” Ari Levine said. “ The service work and the exciting outdoor activities we did made me energized, motivated and ready for the rest of the school year.”
Sophomores paused their everyday school schedules last week and embarked on the fifth annual week-long Costa Rica coed service learning and adventure trip. Students arrived in San José on Saturday, Jan. 13 and departed the following Saturday.
“[The trip] is an effort to build a strong coed community that understands what it means to be a traveler,” Head of School Rachel Simpson said. “To have an experience that combines language immersion with cultural immersion and to have students embed in a home away from home in a way that fits with the Goals of the Sacred Heart is one of many reasons why we have done this trip for five years now.”
The trip’s itinerary included horseback riding, medicinal plant walks, whitewater rafting, ziplining, salsa dance classes and jumping from a waterfall and elective activities such as surfing, snorkeling and walking into town.
“My favorite activities had to be the ones with thrill factor,” Julianna Ovalle said. “ When I jumped off the waterfall, I could feel the fear leave my body. That was one of the most eye-opening parts of this trip and maybe of my life.”
One of the key features of the trip is the service aspect, according to Simpson, which included volunteering at schools near the town of Dominical and cleaning and rebuilding sand dunes in a sea turtle hatchery.
“The service portion of the [trip] gave me the greatest, most profound takeaways,” Lauren Tulley said. “When you have the privilege of attending a school like Convent, and are given opportunities to put yourself in an unfamiliar location and dedicate your time to the aid of others, it develops a sense of empathy that cannot be obtained in a classroom.”
This story was revised on Jan. 24 to better reflect the students’ experiences.