One hundred and four sophomores from Convent and Stuart Hall spent eight days in Dominical, Costa Rica for a cultural immersion trip, that included horseback riding, zip lining, white water rafting and providing community service.
“The adventure that all the students and chaperones experienced, stretched our boundaries,” President Ann Marie Krejcarek said. “Everyone was out of their comfort zone in the trip, and it was such a privilege to be with these students in this environment.”
“I definitely did feel outside of my comfort zone,” Lily Ross said. “Everyday there was something new that I had never done before. Everything basically gave you a rush of adrenaline, and I think that everyone needs a little thrill to spice up their overall experience.”
Krejcarek says the Sophomore Classes engaged in community activities and worked together in order to achieve the objectives set by the school.
“Our goal was to unify the Sophomore Class in addition to gaining a language and cultural immersion,” Krejcarek said. “It was nice to get all the students equipped to travel and engage globally.”
Students volunteered in three local schools in Dominical, three hours south of San Jose, by painting classrooms and playing with the children. There was a large language barrier between the students and the children, according to Aurelio Jimenez, a Spanish 4 Honors student.
“I was called upon multiple times to be a translator for everyone who didn’t speak Spanish or who were in a lower level,” Jimenez said. Although there were communication difficulties, students found they did not really need to speak to the children to have interactions, according to Julian Moreno, Stuart Hall Sophomore Class President.
“I take Spanish, so I thought I would understand them, but I had no clue what they were saying,” Moreno said. “So I just sort of smiled and played soccer, even though I did not talk to them much.”
The chaperons aimed for an unplugged experience by only allowing students to bring a digital camera to fully absorbed themselves in the trip.
“I actually really enjoyed not having technology all week,” Ross said. “I found that I had more personal interactions with people, and I didn’t really think about my phone or checking Instagram or anything. I found when I came back that I didn’t even check my phone.”
Students feel more bonded as an entire class since the trip, according to Moreno.
“It’s not so much something you could see, it’s something that you could feel,” Moreno said. “For the guys, we have even more fun with each other now and the bond feels stronger.”