MADAWASKA/Costa Rica- On April 12, a group of seven students from Madawaska High School arrived in Costa Rica along with two chaperones, and eight other adults comprised of parents, grandparents, and vacationing teachers.
EF Tours hosted the tour, an organization which offers educational tour packages for high school and college students. Each student paid for their trips through monthly installments.
The purpose of the trip was to expose students, as well as some adults, to a different culture and environment. The trip was both an educational experience and an adventure. Students went zip lining, horseback riding, and hiking.
“Our group went kayaking and for some of us it was our first time doing any of these things. We gained a lot of knowledge and experience,” said Hannah Cote, a junior at MHS.
Trip participants also visited a cloud forest and various volcanoes in the area. Cloud forests are essentially elevated tropical forests shrouded in clouds. In the cloud forests, students viewed and studied many different animals and fauna.
“My favorite experience was the food,” said Hannah Cote. “It was different than the food here. In every meal there is rice and black beans. You can tell a lot about a culture from their food.”
“The biggest challenge was facing the different insects in the area, including scorpions and tarantulas,” said Cai Levesque, a teacher who accompanied the students.
Costa Rica is a mixing bowl of different cultures. Students quickly grew aware of all the different people who inhabit the area including native Costa Ricans, Italians, Canadians, and Germans.
Wildlife and fauna was a major highlight of the trip. Costa Rica is teeming with wildlife, including but not limited to different species of parrots, butterflies, monkeys, and turtles.
“My favorite thing was viewing the different types of butterflies that we don't have at home,” said Linda McDermott, a teacher at MMHS.
“The trip itself really emphasized living a sustainable life and preserving the ecosystem. It gave us a different perspective and appreciation of different cultures as well as our own,” said Levesque.
On their last night in Costa Rica, students took part in a folklore evening, in which native Costa Ricans danced and recounted traditional stories.
“Overall, the tour of Costa Rica was astounding, as were the people there, and if I had the chance to go again, I would go back in a heartbeat!” said Indya Ouellette, another student who went on the trip.
“My recommendation is that everyone should go on an EF Tour sometime in their lives. You will learn so much that you would have never learned in the classroom,” added Aspen Cote.
The opinion was unanimous. The trip was a success, proving that learning can take you outside of the classroom and can be exciting.
“Travel changes you, it changes your perspective,” said Levesque.
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