Howell High School Students Explore Costa Rica

Howell High School Students Explore Costa Rica
Posted on 07/07/2016
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Recently, 18 Howell High School students traveled throughout Costa Rica to learn about the country's history, culture and biodiversity. For four of the eight nights of the trip, students stayed with Costa Rican families where they put their Spanish language skills to the test. This experience allowed students to see firsthand what it is like to live the tico lifestyle. To engage in the culture students took Latin dance and cooking classes. The students also participated in a community service project. The trip was led by Brian Riordan, Howell High School Spanish teacher. 

The students participated in a community service project called Hogar Dulce Hogar. The project, which was coordinated by El Rancho de Español Lodge and School in partnership with Interact Travel was similar to Habitat for Humanity and gave the students the opportunity to work on building a house for a family in need. The students spent time cleaning the concrete walls and applying a sealant so that the final coat of concrete could be applied. The students also used their money to purchase nearly $300 in building supplies for the home's bathroom as a donation to the project.

Students visited the Sarapiquí region where they learned how chocolate is made and how pineapples are grown. They took a boat ride on the Sarapiquí River where they viewed crocodiles, howler monkeys, toucans, iguanas, colorful frogs and other wildlife in their habitat. While in the area, students spent two nights in an ecolodge called Selva Verde in the middle of the rainforest. They also traveled to Manuel Antonio National Park where they spent the day enjoying the Pacific beach and protecting their belongings from Capuchin monkeys, which are known for stealing visitors’ food, and other items found in backpacks and bags. The students' last day was spent at the foot of Arenal Volcano and Baldí Spa. Arenal is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and provides therapeutic water via hot springs used by the local spas.

"Interact Travel and the Rancho put such a great program together for the students allowing them to experience all aspects of the Costa Rican culture in a way that engages students in a fun and impactful way. This is my sixth trip to Costa Rica and I will continue to return in the future because the experiences are so profound for the students. Their language abilities and confidence improve and students gain a more global perspective. Plus, through the service project, students can give back to the global community," said Riordan. "The Highlanders on this trip represented our school in the most positive manner and received compliments about their behavior and friendliness everywhere we went."

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