Getting Into It
We Live Here Now
On June 27, 2023, the team found themselves in unfamiliar rooms and homes scattered around Monte Verde and Santa Elena. Each was greeted by their new host families and sat down for true Spanish immersion over breakfast. Most homes are nearly exclusively speaking Spanish. The members of the LBCC Costa Rica Study Abroad team are in varying levels of Spanish study, yet all are immersed in the language. Sunday being their free day participants found various activities, some traveling with their host families while others explored Santa Elena.
|Some of the team took the chance on Sunday, June 25 to try some local restaurants. This is a place called "Taco Taco" located in Santa Elena|
In Santa Elena, dogs run free. Monte Verde Institute Coordinator Paola Rojas said that all the dogs have homes, they just enjoy following anyone who pets them. Santa Elena is also home to many souvenir shops and the Cloud Forrest attracts lots of tourists. Over all Costa Rica is well-traveled by tourists. Nearly 2.4 million international tourists visited Costa Rica in 2022. Tourism is the largest industry in the country and its main source of hard currency.
|Josh Robles takes a photo of a dog that followed some of the team on a long hike.|
Along with tourism Costa Rica is known for being one of the most sustainable countries in the world. Costa Rica is 98% free of deforestation, creates 93 percent of its electricity from renewable resources, and conserves around 30 percent of its territory. Costa Rica being such a small country with so much travel in and out from non-natives is a challenge.
|One of the classrooms at MVI|
|Homestay families pack their MVI participant's lunch for school each day.|
From the furthest homestay, it is about a one-hour walk for the participants, the closest being close to 5 minutes. The walk into the cloud forest however is beautiful. As Rojas lead them they passed through Santa Elena and up the hillside where on a clear day you can see the Gulf of Nicoya. Most days depending on the schedule the participants can choose to walk or catch a bus to school. At the end of the day, they can all opt to purchase a shuttle home. Everyone agreed that would be a great choice on days with torrential downpours.
|The view from the walk to MVI in Monte Verde.|
|Prepared cups of fresh fruit for the team to enjoy after their walk to MVI.|
|Riley Bond and Noah Aynes enjoy some fresh fruit upon arriving at MVI.|
|Elena González sharing with the team about sustainability.|
|High school students at CTP Santa Elena sharing their poetry with the LBCC team.|
|Students at CTP Santa Elena High School showing the LBCC team around their campus.|
|Students at the CTP Santa Elena High School performing Mascaradas dance|
Familure with Mascaradas and rice with beans (a staple of the Costa Rican diet) the team settled into their new life in Costa Rica.
|The LBCC team and the dancers from CTP Santa Elena High School after the assembly.|