My experience in the Honors College service trip to Costa Rica was hands down the best week of my life.
Thirteen Honors students enrolled in this class to gain a better understanding of the culture and society in Costa Rica while using cross-cultural communication skills in professional interactions. Little did we know that we were going to gain that and so much more.
Teaching at Cartagena and Tempate Elementary Schools allowed us the chance to go beyond the textbook and get an in-depth understanding of the current education system in Costa Rica. We taught grades K-6 a variety of English lessons, conducted dental exams for all students, and taught the importance of good hygiene and dental practices.
Working at these schools opened my mind and heart to so many new experiences and perspectives. Even without extensive knowledge of the Spanish language, I was able to form connections with the students that I will never forget. We bonded over teaching each other new words and laughing at the way we acted it out.
I fell in love with meeting new people; hearing about their families and telling them about mine, and the look of wonder on their faces when I told them I took an airplane to get to Costa Rica! Words cannot describe the feeling of getting to see how excited the students were to learn English from us. One day we walked in and our students started chanting, “ENG-LISH, ENG-LISH, ENG-LISH.” At that moment, I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Never in my life have I felt like I was making more of an impact than while I was teaching in Costa Rica. Every student got a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a free dental exam, which made my heart so full because it was some of the first times that these kids have ever even seen a dentist. The students I met were the kindest I have had the chance to meet, I felt so incredibly lucky to be in the presence of their shine.