Hi, my name is Adriana Altamirano. I was part of the 2016 Costa Rica trip. This trip was so much fun. We learned a lot on the bus rides, on the boat rides, and everywhere we went. We also learned a lot at the community centers and it was an amazing time with all my friends. The local people and the guides were really nice, so fun and really funny. Jimmy was one of the guides. He made learning fun. The other guide was Jenny and she was is an amazing singer. They taught us a lot about the culture of Costa Rica. It was a life-changing experience.
Hello, my name is Alexis Sanchez. I’m 12 years old and I live in Fort Collins, Colorado. I am the oldest of all my siblings. I like to play soccer when I have free time because it's just a really fun sport to play. Costa Rica was really important to me because I learned so many things that I can't learn in school. One of the things that was really important to me about this trip was that I got to know my friends better and also that I had a chance to try out new things such as new foods and lots of other cool things.
In the photo, I’m the one in the middle.
Hello, my name is Anna-Maria Rosalia Gaier. I live in the wonderful city of Fort Collins, Colorado. I am part Latin, Spanish, German, Greek, Italian, Czech, and Polish. I am an only child. I will be 13 years old on February 18th, 2017. I live with my mom and her boyfriend. My dad passed away when I was 9. I participate in basketball, soccer, wrestling, dance, and gymnastics. I also enjoy crafts, community service, playing with animals, hanging out with friends, and spending time with my family. I also really like pets. Soon, I will be bringing a ferret into my home as a pet. I used to have three cats, one Rottweiler dog, two guinea pigs, and a bunny. Every weekend I am either hanging out with friends, hiking, or volunteering at the local animal shelter. I really like nature and helping people. I had so much fun on this trip and I would definitely go back again. When I left for Costa Rica I was just an ignorant and careless person. I didn’t have much understanding of the world. This trip changed me, for sure. I now care that everyone is treated the same and considered equal. It's not fair to the people who might be a little bit different than the other people to be treated like they're aliens; they should be embraced and be treated the exact same way as the others. This trip taught me to be more open-minded and care about people around the world.
Hello, my name is Anthony, but my friends call me Fungai (they actually don’t, but I’m starting it). I live in Fort Collins, Colorado. I go to Lincoln I.B. Middle School, and I am a 12-year-old who is very invested in physical activities, music, comedy, video games, and friends. Before I went to Costa Rica I was never really invested in anything but soccer, unless you count liking to eat a lot as an investment. Now that I’ve come back from Costa Rica I’ve started to get more invested in things like the ones listed above because the trip taught me to try new things. Before Costa Rica I didn’t really pay attention to directions. Now that we are back from the trip, I do, because if I didn’t listen to directions in Costa Rica, I wouldn’t know which plant to not touch, or which berry not to eat. I understand that directions help me know what to do. Now that I’ve done some services for other people (I know this will sound cheesy) I actually feel more complete, like I can be satisfied with myself and where I’m at right now. For the service projects I was involved in, I painted trash cans with happy messages and scraped off old paint, then repainted soccer stands. I feel like these projects helped the places feel more positive, and that makes me feel good. Costa Rica really changed me, and I’m happy about it.
Hola, my name is Bela Voglund and l am a seventh grader at Lincoln IB Middle School in Fort Collins, Colorado. I currently play competitive basketball, ski on the weekends, and played volleyball in the summer. I have a brother and a sister, in first grade and fourth grade. I love being outdoors with my friends and family, and going to Costa Rica was another amazing experience with my friends in the outdoors.
Now that I am back from Costa Rica, I like to compare and contrast customs and common ways of life that help me understand more about the people there and what they are like compared to me. For example something that really stood out to me was that the family I ate dinner with grew all the food in their garden except the rice. This really stood out to me because here in Fort Collins, most of our produce is found in the produce section of the grocery store, not in the garden in the back yard. Another thing that really stood out to me was that when we went to local gift shops, many items were handmade in Costa Rica by Costa Rican women. Some of the things you can find in the shops are stuffed felt animals such as frogs, Costa Rican birds and sloths. You may also be able to find things such as homemade bracelets and hanging mosaic animals like lizards and frogs. The reason I really liked this was because in Fort Collins the gift shops usually have things that were manufactured in large quantities and the Costa Rican goods were hand made, and the labels were even hand written and had a hand written story or blurb from the creator.
Hi! My name is Brigid Murray. I am a 7th grader at Lincoln IB Middle School in Fort Collins, Colorado. I love doing art, playing basketball, playing piano, and singing. I also recently went on the 2016 Costa Rica trip. I really enjoyed this trip, not only because it was really fun, but it made me happy when I saw the faces of the people I helped light up in joy. Out of all of the service learning projects we completed, I liked the one we did where we painted an anti -bullying sign on a school wall and painted trash cans. I liked this one because I knew it would make an impact on the children going to that school, and we got to play with the children which was really fun! We played duck – duck - goose (Pato – pato - ganso) and soccer. This trip also changed me for the better in many ways. I came back much more mature, self-aware, and more aware of my surroundings. I also have an urge to do my part to make the world a better place. So, to help me with that I made some goals. I pledged to be more respectful to nature, peers, and myself. I believe that this will surely help make the world a better place. Also, whenever I reach a goal, I will make another. Overall, this trip really impacted me in a heartfelt way. I came back a much different person then I was before, and I think that person is a better person overall. I think I really helped people do things that needed to be done, helped them learn about another culture, and made people happy. And I was really happy to do so.
Photo: I’m the one on the left.
Hi, my name is Emma Stewart. I am a comic-and-superhero-loving girl and I always have been since my dad has worked at a comic shop. I love polar bears and any type of special animal. I have a younger brother and sister, which makes me the oldest. I have a great mom and dad who take care of me and support me so much. Costa Rica was great and it really changed me. Before the trip I wanted to be a cop, so I could help the people who need help. Being accepted by No Barriers to have a scholarship for this trip helped solidify my decision to be a cop and to help others. It was so exciting; I have never been happier. I realized when I was reading that letter that I can make a difference and I already have by accepting to go to Costa Rica. I have helped people before. It's an instinct; I was born and raised that way. I have always been told to do the right thing, even when nobody's watching. When I was ready to go on the trip I was all prepared and couldn't be happier. When we were on the plane there, I was thinking about how this choice and decision will really change the way I look at things and what I can do. Costa Rica was the greatest time of my life. All of the people who were with us were the greatest people in the world. They all made the decision to help people. I am really grateful that I got a scholarship, otherwise I wouldn't have ever gone zip-lining and get over my fear of heights, or realize how different culture is all over the world. I got to see all the different herbal plants they grow and how these plants help the people. Learning about crops like chocolate and pineapple, and the rainforest, was exciting and interesting. Costa Rica was my greatest experience and I will encourage anyone to do it because it was truly amazing.
Hello, my name is Ethan Mills. I go to Lincoln IB Middle School. I am 12 years old. I am really passionate about soccer. I also like acting, music, riding my bike and other physical activities in general. I really enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I have two brothers, a mom, a dad, and a dog named Copper. During our Costa Rica trip, I learned many things about their culture and much more. We also went to do service projects. Our first one was at a school and we painted a big mural against bullying. The next one we did we split up in two groups. One group went to a soccer field and repainted the seats. The other group went to a park and did landscaping. If it wasn’t for the donors I wouldn’t have been able to be engulfed in Costa Rican culture and help others around me. I feel like I learned a lot on this trip and it truly changed me as a person.
We are the lucky crew who accompany these amazing students on a life-changing adventure to Costa Rica. As educators in the classroom, we know the value of learning about the world, but as educators in the field we get to see students making profound discoveries about our world firsthand. This trip’s effects are long lasting and far reaching: Our students grow socially, emotionally, and academically. We cannot express how fortunate we feel to be able to spend this kind of quality time with our students, helping them discover, explore, and expand their strengths and passions. This is the kind of life-long learning we hope to model and inspire in our students.
Group Leaders From right to left: Liz Kennedy, Julie Israelson, Angie Dowdy, AJ Griffith
Hi, my name is Isabella. I'm currently 13 years old and I was born in Simi Valley, California, on January 18, 2004. My family and I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, when I was 3 years old. I currently go to Lincoln IB Middle School. I'm in 7th grade and in my 7th grade experience I did a service learning trip to Costa Rica with fellow classmates and teachers. The trip was the best experience of my life. I got to get to know the teachers and students in ways I could have never gotten to know them at school. I feel this trip changed me in very positive ways. I now am very good friends with all the kids that went on the trip. I'm very grateful for everything I have, no matter what it is because I know not everyone has what I do. I have a good life and am very grateful for it. Since returning, I have noticed that I have focused more on school and not on my social life but still maintain a good social life. Thank you to those who made this trip possible for me. I am very grateful for this experience.
In the photo, I’m the one on the right.
Hi, my name is Guillermo Gaucin. I was part of the 2016 Lincoln Costa Rica trip. It was so fun to go on this trip and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was a chance to get out of the house, get out of the city, and get out of the country. It was so much fun that I didn’t worry about anything going on at home. There were so many great things about this trip that it’s hard to focus on one thing to write about. I will talk about the bus rides. The bus rides were surprisingly fun because we got our own private bus and we could sit by anyone. We might not know the people well, but we would soon be friends. The leaders were awesome and played games with us on the bus rides. Our leaders and teachers were really funny; we were the luckiest group in the world. On the really long bus rides we slept to catch up on energy needed for the next fun activity. We also made funny mannequin challenge videos and played new games. I think everyone should go on this trip because you will learn a lot about yourself by just doing fun things and going to a lot of places. It was a fun and safe trip.
Hello, my name is Indigo and I went on the 2016 Lincoln Costa Rica trip. I live in Fort Collins, Colorado. I chose to go on the trip because I thought (correctly) that it would change what I think about the world around me. This trip is definitely going to be one of my highlights in life to look back at and recall some of my best memories. One of those memories is when we were assigned different parts of a mural to paint at a school. I worked on painting a boy's head on the wall. The mural was to send the message that bullying is not cool. After we finished the mural, some of the kids had recess and we got to play soccer and duck, duck, goose with them. When we were back on the bus, I thought to myself, “Dang, these kids are a lot like people in our country.” Then I thought, “We are really all the same in this world, why don’t we treat everyone the same?” That has been driving me to try to be more open and kind to other people that I do not know or are from somewhere unfamiliar.
Another part of the trip that also made me think were the days where we went to the plantations. The one that stuck out to me was the coffee plantation. It was really close to the place we were staying. The first thing we did was listen to a native speak about coffee and how to produce it. After that we had a little tour of the plantation. We learned that their coffee is all natural, they use no pesticides, and shade the plants with other plants so that the coffee is rich and smooth. The land that they own was given to them by a group of Americans that raised money for people in other places that needed income. I thought that that was very interesting. This was a big part of my trip because it shed new light on other cultures and how they are adapting themselves to new processes for their needs.
Lastly, the people that we met were very kind and considerate to us. It is part of the Costa Rican culture to be very hospitable, even to people you may not know. They abolished their army in 1948. They are a very peaceful culture, and I look forward to going there again, maybe with my family. The Costa Rica trip is going to change my life forever and ever. THANK YOU so much for helping us get there.
Jared Lopez Morales
Hello, my name is Jared Lopez Morales. I am 12 years old and I live in Fort Collins, Colorado. I am the youngest in my family. The favorite thing to do in my free time is to go outside and play soccer. When we went to a school in Costa Rica for a service project, the students went outside and played soccer. I was so excited to play with them. It was really fun. Also, on this trip I met new people from my own school. It was a lot of fun to make new friends while traveling in a new country. All of us really liked the food there, too. I also liked helping people with anything. Sometimes it was difficult to be away from my family. This was the first time I had ever gone far away from home. Luckily I had my friends next to me; they helped me when I got homesick. Overall, though, it was the best trip I have ever been on.
I’m on the left in the photograph.
My name is Khloe Carpenter. I went on the 2016 Lincoln Costa Rica trip. I had an amazing, life-changing time. The main part of the trip that completely changed my views was a service project. We visited a local school (Buenos Aires Elementary) where all the children all seemed nice. I began off to the side when all the children first came out. I was so nervous about trying to communicate with two different languages, but my friend Adriana (a fluent Spanish speaker) ended up helping me. I walked over with my English teacher (Mrs. Kennedy) and she introduced me to the little girls. I think that these kids were in second grade. One other girl and I taught them a little handshake we knew. Then they began to say a few words I didn’t understand. “Pato, pato, ganzo!” a few girls chanted. Adriana translated to “duck, duck, goose,” a popular game for children ages 4 to 10. I was amazed that in such a culturally different area I could still spot the littlest similarities. Although we had just met and began playing, I got attached to each of the young girls. I felt a strong connection and it was hard for me to believe because the way I had lived compared to theirs was/is completely different. Yet those children at a random local school changed my views on how life is everywhere. That life can be different or even difficult but that doesn’t prevent people from finding happiness! My heart fell as I heard their school bell ring for them to go back into class. They all ran away together in one big friend group as I got up and turned around. I nearly cried when I felt three little girls latching onto my waist. Right then I knew that would be my favorite part of my trip. My perceptions on life around the world changed. This along with visiting a local family's home showed me that to many others, my life would be considered privileged. Then to go and meet these amazing, kind girls in a whole different country made me see we are who we are. And the way we were raised or the place we grew up doesn't mean we all have to be uncaring or unkind. We are who we are, and we all can be good.
My name is Leah Borrego. I live in Fort Collins, Colorado, and I am 12 years old. Here are some facts about my life: I live with my mom and three sisters. My mom’s name is Pamela, and she is 36. My older sister, Kendra, is 18. My other older sister, Marissa, is 16. My little sister, Izabella, is 11. My sisters and I are really close but when we fight that’s a whole different story. Anyways, here are some of my hobbies: I am really into baking, boxing, music, and helping plan special occasions. Now that you know some things about me, I would like to tell you about how this trip has changed me and my life. When I went to Costa Rica I noticed that a lot of people were kind of struggling to make money for their family and were working a lot. Also people were trying to find ways to make their businesses better. Seeing all these people that were trying to make their businesses better made me feel like I could help people make their businesses better. This trip has changed my life by making me want to help people with life, businesses, and other things because I enjoy helping others.
The Costa Rica trip of 2016 was one of the best things that has happened to me in this life so far. I can barely start to explain how amazing this was, and how I’ve changed. I currently live in Fort Collins, Colorado, and attend Lincoln IB Middle School. While on the trip, I realized how extremely big and different our amazing world is. When we first arrived in San Jose and had gotten on the bus it was so cool to look out of the big windows and see a hilly, humid city expanding around me. It was different seeing how people drive throughout Costa Rica; some places had no lines on the narrow roads, everyone just trying to get from point A to B! Now that I have seen more of my world, I have changed my views on things, like we really don’t need to be on our phones all the time, and have lots of belongings. Just live simply! I think that the best day on the trip for me was our seventh day there, when we did our second service project and had a cooking class. The service project was so enjoyable because we made jokes and messed around, but we still got lots of work done for their community. When we finished the people at the community center gave us amazing homemade treats, cinnamon rolls, biscuits, and lemon juice (not the same as lemonade)! It really shows the kind culture of Costa Rica, and what a great place it is. If I had the opportunity, I would go back in a heartbeat (and hopefully bring my family to share great experiences with them)! The trip was nothing as I had expected it to be, but a thousand times more fun and incredible. I would 100% recommend this trip to anyone, and I hope that they have the same experiences as me!
Hola! My name is Kenzie, and I am a 7th grader at Lincoln IB Middle School in Fort Collins, Colorado. I enjoy skiing, reading, playing soccer, camping, traveling, and hanging out with friends and family. One thing that happened on the trip that was really cool was getting to spend time with many people that I knew really well, and many I didn't know that well. I made many new friends, and I built stronger relationships with my other friends. One thing that was really cool for me was getting to go to the Buenos Aires Elementary school. We got to meet kids from kindergarten to 3rd grade. All the girls would go over to a section of the soccer field and play duck, duck, goose. All the boys would go to the soccer field and play soccer. I played soccer with these students and other students from Lincoln. The soccer field was concrete, not grass, and was covered to protect it from the frequent rain. The trip to the school was really cool because we got to see the different things that they had or did. One thing that was different was that to get from class to class they had to go outside to go to the next classroom. I thought that was really cool because it was so pretty outside and it was never cold. Overall I loved being in Costa Rica and I wish I could go back.
Hello, my name is Priest. I’m 12 years old and I live in Fort Collins, Colorado. I go to Lincoln IB Middle School. I have 3 brothers, 2 sisters and one pet. I love sports. I play football, wrestling, basketball, and I'm also running track. I’m a person who is positive and well rounded: I like doing extra-curricular activities and I like making friends with everybody in my school. This trip taught me how happy people are with their families and lives, even though they don’t have a lot of things in their house. This is a really big lesson to me because most U.S. kids, and some of my family members, aren’t happy for what they have in their life. When we visited a local family’s house, I saw a family with two kids and a working dad. I saw a mom that would cook for her older child and then cook something different for the younger child. The kids and adults seemed happy when she cooked. The mom smiled when her kids ran in the kitchen to give her a hug or wash their dish after they were done eating. I also saw the foods they had like rice, beans, tortillas and other native things. I look up to families who can live like that because so many people aren’t thankful for what they already have in life and this family seemed truly thankful. Some of my friends have all the new technology but are still not thankful for their family. Costa Rican families are also seem considerate about their food; they want you to finish all the food you put on your plate so it is not wasted. In the U.S. people throw away what they don't finish or don't want. There is so much waste. Since this trip, I always try to finish the food I put on my plate. This is how Costa Ricans influenced me to be happy for what I already have and be thankful for my family.
My name is Rene Antillon and I'm a member of the 2016 Lincoln Costa Rica trip. The Costa Rica trip really inspired me: When I grow up I’m going to travel a lot and try new things. This trip really helped me get comfortable with all of my friends who came on the trip. Also I learned how it feels to visit another country that is not as developed as the United States. It was my first experience being away from home for a while. I really stepped out of my comfort zone. I hope I can do more trips like this in the future because although this trip was really fun, I missed my family a lot being really far away from home. This taught me a lot about myself and how I want to become more independent.
My name is Roxi Wessel, and I’m from Fort Collins, Colorado. I love books (particularly Harry Potter), music, and being outside, especially when there isn’t much between myself and the elements of nature. That’s a big part of what propelled me to take this trip in the first place, and I feel like this trip connected me with nature, among other things, more than ever before. Every hike we took, night or day, every environment we visited - it all had an impact. Not only that, it connected me with others who were on the trip with me who appreciated nature as much as I do. It was nice for me to see that others shared my love of the environment. Costa Rica truly was a lovely place for a nature enthusiast, too - a step outside a hotel door revealed wonders in the form of exquisite wildlife and beautiful forests.
But honestly, nature wasn’t the only thing that moved me on this trip. Another thing that amazed me was that a country could be so friendly - in America, people are (in my opinion) more commonly judged on their appearance than on their actual personality. In Costa Rica, however, a person would really take the time to know you before pressing judgement. Some of that rubbed off on me, and I find myself being a little more reluctant to judge as quickly as I admit to being before the trip - I think that this would be an excellent habit for more people to develop because a person’s looks really don’t define who they are on the inside. Though I knew that before, the trip really highlighted that fact.
I found even more inside myself while in Costa Rica - I found an ability to discover common similarities between myself and others as well. Laughter became a big part of this trip because my travel group and I discovered so much together. We all saw the beauty of the land together, and we’ll never forget this experience that we all shared. Most importantly, I found out things about others that I never knew before, and we became so much more comfortable with each other because we knew those things. The trip taught me to never give up on being someone’s friend based on only a few aspects of their personality, and that you can learn a great many things just by sitting by someone you don’t know.
The real lesson for me to learn was that fun and work really aren’t so different, as this trip has proved - because I was having fun, not just sometimes, but all the time, and I loved the service projects, and the food, and the tours, and the activities - there isn’t a single thing I regret. I am still Roxi Wessel, resident of Fort Collins, Colorado, but my life has been impacted in a major way.
Hi there! My name is Sammi York. I went on the 2016 Costa Rica Trip with Lincoln IB Middle School, and it honestly changed my life. There are a few things that you should know about me. I have two dogs and no siblings. I am really active, and I love skiing, running, swimming, and volleyball. But enough about my hobbies. Let me tell you about my life-changing trip to Costa Rica. We went in November, and were there for a week. One of the best things that we did there was to go to a local Costa Rican’s house to eat dinner. It was amazing because we got to meet people from a different culture and taste some homemade Costa Rican cuisine. My group had beans and rice, egg and potato salad, homemade juice, and Chiky’s cookies for dessert. The family we ate with was so nice, they talked and talked with us, even though we spoke different languages. We made a lot of mistakes while trying to speak Spanish, but we did our best, and overall it was an amazing experience! We learned that the kids had to travel a long way to school, and they took a bus every day to and from school. They grew all of their vegetables in their back yard, and made us a homemade meal.
We also did two service projects, one in which we painted an anti-bullying mural on a wall at a school in Sarapiqui. It was eye opening to see what schools are like in other places and to interact with the kids there. They taught us some Spanish and we taught them a little English. We played “pato, pato, ganzo” or “duck duck goose.” It felt great to be helping out and teaching them the values of friendship and tolerance through the mural. Our second service project was in Monteverde. We split into two groups. One group went to a local park to move rocks and dirt and clean up a little. My group went to a local soccer field to polish up the viewing chairs. We used sandpaper to scrape off the old paint, and painted a fresh coat of alternating green and blue, the team’s colors. Afterward, we all met up in the San Luis Community Center for a mid-day snack of cinnamon rolls, coffee, and a native fruit juice. It was delicious.
This trip has been an amazing experience for me, and I would do it all over again without any hesitation. Not only was it extremely fun, but it was also really educational and I grew both morally and emotionally from the experience. I am so thankful for everyone who helped make this trip possible for me; my peers, my teachers, my parents and relatives, and the donors who funded the scholarships provided. I will continue to use the experiences found in this trip to keep improving myself and to help others to improve. I intend to live my remaining years by the Costa Rica motto: Pura Vida!
My name is Shannen Johnston and I live in Fort Collins, Colorado. I am 12 years old. I do gymnastics and am currently a level 7. I have three cats and one dog and live with my mom and dad. I go to Lincoln IB Middle School and I recently participated in a service learning project to Costa Rica. I had a great amount of fun but the real reason for going on the trip was to help the people and environment there by participating in two service learning projects. One of our projects got cancelled because of a flight delay but we still had fun helping people in the other ones. I had a lot of fun doing many helpful things in Costa Rica. We did a service learning project at a local elementary school that looked a lot different than our Fort Collins schools. We painted a mural to help support no bullying and it looked beautiful after we finished. The mural displayed many positive messages that would help the students there. Another group painted the trash and recycling bins to also display positive messages. We got to see many children playing and having fun at the school. At our second service learning project, we went to a community center where we helped flatten down the ground and moved rocks to help the playground be safer. We also painted bleachers in the community park to make it brighter. When we were moving the rocks around, we saw many anthills that the children or adults could get hurt by. We were glad that we made the community center more safe and colorful. After we were done, we loaded on the bus and saw the children playing and having fun in the playground. We felt good that we made the children happy. Costa Rica taught me many things about what other places in the world are like. I know now that not all places on earth have what we have. I was also taught in Costa Rica to live in the moment. I was so worried about what was happening next or tomorrow that I would forget what I was doing. I am so grateful that I went on the trip in the first place. It taught me many new things about nature and the world.
In the photo, I’m the one on the left.
Hi! My name is Silas Thornton, and I’m from Fort Collins, Colorado. I have a lot of great memories from the trip, but probably my favorite was all of the time I got to spend with my group on the bus rides, meal times, even the float trip. Before the trip I spent every day hanging out with the same group of friends. But during the trip I got to know people that I hadn’t known before the trip, and they became good friends of mine. The trip taught me that I should be more open to meeting new people, and I shouldn’t just stick with who I’m comfortable with. You never know if the stranger sitting next to you could be your future soul mate, so I am now making an effort to meet more people. This is one of the things that stood out to me from this trip.
In the photo, I’m the one holding the pineapple.
My name is Wren Murzyn and I live in Fort Collins, Colorado. Last November I went to Costa Rica for eight days. The trip was an amazing experience that allowed me to learn about other cultures, nature that was different from what we have in Fort Collins, and grow closer to the other students on the trip -- all things that I could not have done here in my hometown. We also got to do a few service projects while in Costa Rica which let us help out people who might not have as much as we do. It actually would have been nice to do more of this!
I came home from the trip feeling like I knew more about Costa Rica after having stayed there for eight days. One of the parts of the trip I remember most is learning about how the people live. We even got to go to someone’s house to eat dinner one night. I learned that rice and beans are a very important part of every meal, from breakfast to dinner. They grow almost everything else, like plantains, because the hot humid climate makes growing things easy.
Coffee is also a big part of their culture because growing it provides money for their families which allows them to put food on their table. We visited the coffee plantation and learned about the berries that make coffee. We also visited a cacao plantation where the beans that make chocolate are grown and a pineapple plantation where we got to try fresh pineapple. In addition to seeing where people work we got to learn about the natural part of the land. I got to hike in a rainforest and see different animals like a wild boar, a turtle, a toucan, and lots of hummingbirds.
Traveling together was fun and I learned that my friends were there to help anyone who needed it. They especially helped me when my luggage was lost and I had to wait three days for it. The other students all lent me things so I could survive. I will admit though that one of the best days on the trip was when my suitcase showed up! I learned to be calm and stay positive while it was missing but it was the best feeling when it finally came. Our last day together was also nice because we got to relax, swim in the ocean, and reflect on how the trip had changed us and made us tighter as a group.
Another reason that this trip was a great experience was because there were people in Fort Collins willing to help us get closer to our goal of going on our trip by donating some of their own money, contributing to scholarships and at places like our booth at New West Fest. It was very nice of them to help people who might not have had the chance to go on this trip. I believe that planning for Costa Rica and going there allowed me to conquer barriers I had. I learned about a new culture, experienced new things, and learned about my fellow students. It was a great opportunity to try new things and I would recommend the trip to anyone thinking of going.