Costa Rica Precursor

My trip to Costa Rica was unlike an of my other adventures. Instead of traveling solo or with a small, trusted band of friends I was the solo adult taking 4 high school students. Three of the four had never been on an airplane and none of them had ever been outside of the United States.

Tomorrow’s post will be more specific about my trip to Costa Rica, but I wanted to write a post with some back ground information on the trip before hand.

For the past three years I have worked as a Spanish teacher in Baton Rouge intercity public schools. After my first year I posted a blog post, The Ant Who Fights, reflecting on my experience. Soon I will be posting another reflection after 3 years, but I digress. For two years I dreamed about taking a group of students on a trip. How cool would that be, I thought, to show students the application of the Spanish language and culture while also helping them discover (hopefully) a love for the world around them.

This dream lay festering until the beginning of my third year teaching. I knew then that it was a now or never situation. At the end of the year I was going to leave. If I wanted to plan a trip it had to be now. So I planned. I made application packets. I pooled interested students: where do you want to go? Which type of trip should I plan? More important than anything else I wanted the trip to be available for all. Any student, no matter their financial situation, should have the opportunity to go. Thus once the 5, then 4, students were chosen we began to fund raise. We had $1000 donated by a phenomenal community member, raised about $600 through a youcaring account, made money through a student versus teacher volleyball game, and finally capped it all off with a jambalaya dinner generously donated by a local butcher shop (go check out Iverstine Butchers if you’re in the Baton Rouge area). Even now I can’t believe we truly made our $4500 fund raising goal. I have been blown away by the generosity of my community.

In order to keep the costs’ down we decided NOT to go through a educational tour company. On average a trip with something like EF tours costs ~3500 a person. That simply wasn’t reasonable if we were truly dedicated to providing a trip accessible to all that wanted to come. This decision added a lot of stress as I then was the sole person responsible. Flights, waivers, meetings, excursions, homestays ect. it all landed on my shoulders. It didn’t help that our original location, Nicaragua, erupted in civil unrest and political uprising less than 3 weeks before our trip ( I highly recommend going and checking out what’s going on over there at the moment). Long story short I planned a 9 day trip for 4 high school female students to the lovely country of Costa Rica. No one got sick, no one go hurt, and no one died; safe to say it was a successful trip.

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