As a reunion trip, us Valpo chicas went on a trip to La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano and the Cloud Forest of Monteverde, which is one of the most biodiverse beautiful places on earth. We had the opportunity to walk across the hanging bridges that look over of miles of lush forests full of chattering monkeys, colourful plants, and endangered species such as Kinkajous and some types of tropical birds.
After being separated by our different internships, some of our Valpo group went on a very eventful camping trip on the Souther Caribbean Coast in Punta Uva and Manzanillo. It was amazing to be around such amazing people in such a beautiful and exotic place. Great memories!
This past break from internships, we had the oppurtunity to visit the iconic beaches of Manuel Antonio. After seeing the beautiful coastline full of monkeys and wildlife and salty, blue water, I knew that I wanted to see the coast from above. I decided to go parasailing. Between the three people on the parasail, there were three different languages spoken-English, Spanish and Sign Language. Each of us knew at least two of the languages. I thought it was amazing that after learning about how to communicate a little bit in sign language in our time in Granada, Nicaragua, I could use what I learned. It just goes to show that you learn something new everyday and that you might be able to actually use it in the future.
During a week long break from our internships during Holy Week here in Costa Rica, our Valpo group visited a cooperative community of El Salvadoran immigrants preserving their culture through living communally. Pictured here is Valpo Junior, Shannon Segin and I learning how to make the traditional dish of pupusas in Longo Mai!
On the way to my internship in a rural area of Costa Rica in Bribri, Limon, there are many picturesque views with tropical vegetation and fresh breeze from the Atlantic Ocean.
One simple joy of traveling, is the getting the beautiful, unique stamps you receive at customs when crossing international borders. Pictured here is the filled-up passport of one of the study center directors, Alfonso Meléndez who is from El Salvador, which has this intricately colored and culturally-relevant designs. Here in the Valpo Costa Rica program, we have finished up our two classes of Spanish, culture, history and social justice and are getting prepared to start our internships in different areas and organizations in the country. We are also excited to welcome the group of nursing students who are coming to work in clinics for underserved populations in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Right now I’m making sure I have my bilingual medical terms down as I’m translating this week!
During our visit to Nicaragua, we visited the Island of Ometepe in the middle of the Lake of Nicaragua. The island is made up of two volcanoes, (one active!) and breathtaking biodiversity. The island is home to wild monkeys and petroglyphs from early inhabitants, while one can even find sharks swimming in the Lake! This photo was taken on a lovely stroll down the beach where one can find locals playing a pickup game of soccer, called a “mejenga” in Central America, as well as backpackers from around the world soaking in the sun and serenity of the island. The clouds in this photo are made up of the steam that comes out of the active volcano.
This past week, our group visited Managua, Granada and Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. Here are sophomores Jennifer Carpenter and Jasmine Lopez taking a break after touring around the colonial and colorful city of Granada.
When someone from the United States hears “Costa Rica”, a buzz word that often comes to mind is coffee. After living here for about 4 weeks, I’ve learned that coffee is no joke. Similar to Valpo students during finals week, I am going on about three cups of coffee per day-but because its so amazing! It’s rich, strong and local, and there is little to no need for milk and sugar. It’s something I don’t feel guilty about because I’m supporting local economy and I have more energy to explore and learn about this vibrant country!