Wednesday, May 29, 2013

REFLECTION #4 - Culture

Now that you are home and had time to relish in the experience of Costa Rica, reflect on the culture.  How would you describe the people and their culture?  Talk about sense of community and pride.  Try to focus on specific characteristics.  What have you learned about the people of Costa Rica?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

REFLECTION #3 - School Visits

Our Teaching Fellows are spending two days in local schools near San Jose, Costa Rica.  We are visiting Atenas Prescolar y Colina Azul and an INA seconday school on May 21 and Santa Fe Bilingual School on May 22.  The fellows will observe classrooms in the schools, interact with faculty and students, and teach lessons based on their major.  As these days conclude, the fellows will examine:

-how they felt prior to arriving at the schools; what did they expect to see when they arrived?
-how they felt teaching and/or interacting with the students.
-how they felt leaving the school visits; how did their lesson develop?  How were the students at the schools?  What did they learn about themselves during this experience?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

REFLECTION #2 - Homestays

Our students are participating in a 2-day homestay with local families in the Monteverde/San Luis area.  Some are in pairs while others are going solo.  The families vary by size and age.  Take a moment to read and share about your homestay experience.  What were your initial thoughts?  How did the transition take place?  How did you feel?  Describe your experience through the members of the family and their daily life.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


We are excited to have 23 participants on our Costa Rica experience:  11 students from NCSU, 5 students from UNC-Wilmington, 2 students from ASU and 1 student from ECU.  Our leaders are from NCSU (Michael Clinkscales, Michael Maher, Syntia Santos) and ECU (Dionna Manning).  All different majors of teacher education are present as well as the graduate Counselor Education program at NCSU.

REFLECTION #1 - Food of Costa Rica

We all know that food is an important part of life.  Cultures can be defined by the food they eat.  Share about your experience with food thus far in Costa Rica.  Compare/contrast the food in Costa Rica with what you eat in the US. (types, colors, aromas, tastes, preparations, etc).  How have you adapted to the food in Costa Rica? Did you get to see any locals eating and how does that compare to the US?

Thursday, May 2, 2013


OTS - North Carolina State University (NCSU)
Itinerary for UGA Costa Rica, San Luis de Monteverde
May 13 – 24, 2013

May 13 (Monday)
12:00 PM          Arrive at RDU International Airport – Terminal 2 (Delta Airlines)
2:45 PM            Depart RDU on Delta Flight 1908 to Atlanta
4:15 PM            Arrive in Atlanta
5:00 PM            Meet at Gate for departure to Costa Rica
5:35 PM            Depart Atlanta for San Jose, Costa Rica on Delta Flight 413
7:45 PM            Arrive in San Jose; clear customs, travel to hotel, dinner (2 hour time difference)
9:00 PM            Dinner (on your own)
10:00 PM          Arrive at Villa Dolce

May 14 (Tuesday)
7:00 AM            Breakfast at hotel
9:00 AM            Depart for San Jose - Embassy
9:30 AM            Arrive at Embassy
12:00 PM          Lunch (at your expense)
1:30 PM            Tour University of Costa Rica
6:00 PM            Dinner (group)
8:30 PM            Return to hotel & REFLECTION

May 15 (Wednesday)
6:00 AM            Breakfast at hotel; pack your bags
9:00 AM            Depart for agricultural tour (pineapple tour or banana tour)
10:00 AM          Arrive at tour
1:00 PM            Lunch (group)
2:00 PM            Depart for University of Georgia (UGA) research station in Monteverde
5:00 PM            Arrive at UGA
6:00 PM            Dinner
7:00 PM            Welcome and Orientation talk (UGA CR Staff)

May 16 (Thursday)
7:30 AM            Breakfast at UGA CR
8:30 AM            Coffee co-op tour
12:00 PM          Lunch
2:00 PM            History of Costa Rica
3:00 PM            Homestay Orientation
4:30 PM            Cooling workshop at local home
6:00 PM            Dinner
7:30 PM            REFLECTION

May 17 (Friday)
7:30 AM            Breakfast at UGA CR
8:30 AM            Waterfall tour
12:00 PM          Lunch at UGA CR
1:00 PM            Pack for homestay
2:00 PM            Homestay

May 18 (Saturday)
7:30 AM            Breakfast at homestay
10:30 AM          Return to UGA for debrief session
12:00 PM          Lunch @ UGA
1:00 PM            Debrief
3:00 PM            Return to homestay

May 19 (Sunday)
Breakfast at homestay
9:00 AM            Return to campus using NCSU transportation (bus)
10:00 AM          Pack, clean rooms to depart UGA
12:00 PM          Lunch @ UGA
1:00 PM            Depart UGA; afternoon in Monteverde
4:00 PM            Depart for Arenal
6:00 PM            Dinner; arrive at Arenal Observatory OR Baldi
8:00 PM            REFLECTION

May 20 (Monday)
7:30 AM            Breakfast
8:30 AM            Activities around Arenal
12:00 PM          Lunch
Afternoon         Visit, explore, experience hot springs
4:00 PM            Return to San Jose – Hotel Villa Dolce
6:30 PM            Dinner (Group)

May 21 (Tuesday)
7:00 AM            Breakfast
8:30 AM            Depart for School Visits
9:30 AM            Arrive at schools
12:00 PM          Lunch (Group)
1:00 PM            Return to schools
4:30 PM            Arrive at hotel
6:00 PM            Dinner (Group)
9:00 PM            Return to hotel & REFLECTION

May 22 (Wednesday)
7:00 AM            Breakfast
8:30 AM            Departure for School Visits
12:30 PM          Lunch (Group)
1:30 PM            Education discussion
5:00 PM            Return to hotel
6:00 PM            Dinner (Group)
7:30 PM            Reflection

May 23 (Thursday)
6:00 AM            Wake-up
6:30 AM            Depart for white water rafting
9:00 AM            Arrive at white water rafting; breakfast provided
2:30 PM            Return from rafting; shower and lunch provided
3:30 PM            Return to San Jose and hotel
5:30 PM            Rest time at hotel
6:30 PM            Dinner (Group)
9:00 PM            BED TIME

May 24 (Friday)
3:00 AM            Wake-up
3:30 AM            Depart for airport
4:00 AM            Arrive at airport; clear security, breakfast (at your expense)
7:10 AM            Depart San Jose on Delta Flight 414
1:13 PM            Arrive in Atlanta; free time and lunch (at your expense)
3:30 PM            Meet at gate for departure
4:20 PM            Depart Atlanta on Delta Flight 1666
5:41 PM            Arrive at RDU International airport

Packing List

Cultural Immersion in Costa Rica

Begin finding/acquiring the following items for the experience. 

Money- Yes, there are ATM’s and banks in the little town close to our biological reserve, BUT do not count on these.  Last year the ATM’s worked some days and not others.  You really do not need a lot of cash, but spend wisely.  If you are low on funds and are not sure if that ATM is going to work or not, then do not spend your last $40 on a ceremonial mask.  You will need that $40 to get out of the country.....and for your last few meals.

Sandals- Do not bring them!!!!! One look at the big hairy spiders that lurk all through the gardens will make you a believer!!!!! Trust me, you want something between your pretty pink toes and spiders the size of dinner plates…..I am not exaggerating.

Contacts/Meds- Every year we have someone lose a contact lens and say “I didn’t think I would lose one”.  You will have come a long way to see nothing but a large green blur. Bring extra contacts and extra meds.  There is a hospital very close, but it may take days or weeks to get your specific prescriptions delivered.

Clothes- Do not bring clothes with American symbols, alcohol advertising, or fatigues.  The culture you are going to see is a reserved culture and they do not find it “cool” that you choose to advertise for Budweiser on your shirts, in fact they find it offensive.  At the risk of sounding political, Americans are not universally loved outside of America at this time.  While Costa Ricans are very receptive to Americans you do not want to go and start broadcasting your nationality while in their country.  Being prideful of your country is a wonderful thing, but too much and other cultures see this as being boastful.  Fatigues are a big “no-no” as you will either blend in too much with the forest and we might not be able to find you in an emergency or you will closely resemble a militant.  Either way, very bad idea, do not wear them.

Passport - Bring me a photocopy of your passport in Atlanta (just in case you lose your original).  This is your lifeblood.  You cannot get into or out-of Costa Rica without it.  You also can not move around inside of the country without it. 

Insect Repellant- This is a must.  Even though we will be fairly high in elevation there is still a resident population of mosquitoes and black flies.  While Malaria and Dengue Fever are not known in the areas that we will be visiting, keeping the bugs away is a good idea.  Last year I had pretty good luck with a Citronella based spray.  I do recommend that if you are going to treat your clothes with Picaridin or DEET that you treat all of them…..have some clothes that are untreated; you will feel better if you can give your body a rest from time to time.  Also, if possible, try to get pump bottles rather than aerosol.  The Costa Ricans take their environment very seriously and prefer not to have aerosols in their country. ALSO you want to bring an ant-itch cream….many sunburn aloe creams also have small amount of Lidocaine in them and make the bug bites feel MUCH better.

Sunscreen- It does not matter if you live in Sunny Florida, Beautiful California, are naturally tan, African American, or have never burned in your life.  The Costa Rican sun is powerful and you will get burned!!! SPF 30 is a must for everyone no matter your skin type.  Burned and blistered is no way to spend a trip like this.

Equipment- You will need to bring a waterproof jacket, it rains A LOT. We had 5 feet of rain in the first five days last year….yes, you read that correctly.  You need to bring a quality pair of hiking boots.  These are very important for the rain, the mud and the snakes…..and we are going to get wet, muddy, and see snakes. You need a good flashlight/headlamp.  It gets dark very early and very quickly.  Walking back from dinner it will very likely be dark.  Also, we go on night hikes in the rain forest and a light is always useful.   You most likely want a camera and/or binoculars. We will see all kinds of plant and animal life and these are two ways to see them better.

Climate-Where we are going is called a mountain/cloud rain forest.  It is actually quite cool at night and not always very hot in the day.  Make sure to bring some long sleeved shirts, long pants, and a fleece.  It is a paradise to be able to be in a rain forest and not sweat to death 24/7.  If you are coming from a low altitude area you MIGHT experience some slight altitude sickness.  Talk to us if during the first few days you have trouble sleeping or have a slightly upset stomach. 

Gringo- In the town of San Vito you might get called a Gringo….this is not meant to be derogatory.  It is just what they call “us”.  Same way we get called “Yanks” in Australia

Internet- There is Internet on site, but at best it can be intermittent (we are in a rain forest) so do not tell someone that you will e-mail them at exactly 5:00 on Monday…..they may get worried if the net is down and you are unable to make that communication.