Some would call it just another vacation away from home, but for me traveling to Costa Rica was an experience of a lifetime. My Spanish teacher was interested in promoting cultural awareness, and that is exactly what she introduced to us. From the beginning I knew this journey would be difficult, but in the end it would be all worth the months of planning. I had to sacrifice my savings and work extra hard by doing endless fundraisers to make it all work. The trip was organized by a travel program called EFTours.
We adventured for ten days to various parts of Costa Rica and participated in numerous activities. Adjusting to our new life for the next week and a half was not as extreme as most would think. We enjoyed the different foods and diverse lifestyle we were acclimated with. We did not only enjoy adventures such as zip lining, horseback riding, hiking the volcano and waterfall, surfing, and whitewater rafting, but we aided Costa Rica by donating school supplies, money, and planting trees for the local schools. The children at this school were by no means privileged or well off in life. The majority of these students will never go to college, pursue their dreams, or take part in jobs like we are blessed with in the United States. These kids arrive to school everyday and are faced with poor conditions, crammed classrooms, and students ranging from ages 5-12 years old. Schools receive about $1.30 per day for food for each student. This means the “normal” school lunch is out of the question. Witnessing these conditions flashed a thought through my mind of helping these students by donating and providing them with something little to look forward to each day, even if it was only a backpack, notebooks, and pencils. When presenting these gifts to the students, I felt better about myself because I saw the dull faces suddenly glisten. No one deserves to live the way several of these students are forced upon. I felt accomplished and proud for serving to these young children.
The people enjoyed life for not what material goods they had, but rather being alive, happy, and living life like there was no tomorrow. Life is pure to them. This has taught me so much about myself and there is more in life to experience and learn than one could imagine. I am now a go-getter and will not let anything hold me back. Because of this trip, I have reached out to my community more. I am also considering the study abroad program upon graduation high school. I believe this program will further me in my goal of contributing to the lives of the more unfortunate. This trip has not only changed me as a person, but has guided me to the better things in life. My motto is now ¡Pura Vida! This is translated as pure life.
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