Proctor en Monteverde affords the opportunity for six sophomores to study abroad in Costa Rica each winter and spring trimester. As the spring trimester nears an end, this term's students reflect on their last few weeks in Monteverde. Read more below!
This past Saturday some of us ventured off to support a group that's not yet completely accepted here in Monteverde. The LGBTQ+ community came together to hold the first ever Pride Parade in Monteverde!
We all packed the tiny local library the day before the March to create shirts and signs, which is where we met a lot of new people from the Monteverde community. After that we went to a house in town to cut papayas, pineapples and watermelons to provide snacks for everyone who participated in the Parade or the gathering at the end.
In the morning we met at the cancha (soccer field) with many people holding signs saying “Amor Es Amor” and other inclusive statements. A samba band played on the bed of a truck and people danced and chanted as we made our way through the streets of town. We ended at an old bull ring where we ate the fruits and sandwiches we had helped make and came together to show our support of each other.
This was an experience that I will never forget, where I felt like a part of this community. No matter what barriers we have faced since being here, it feels good to know that I have a place where I can support and be supported.
We sit around the dining room table where we eat dinner and talk about our days. Tonight we are eating rice, beans, and pork. It is a usual dinner in Costa Rica called “casado” which also means marriage because these foods go so well together and make a balanced meal.
When we sit down I say; “Hola, Cinthya; como esta usted?” “Muy bien, gracias, Nate. Y usted?” “Muy bien. Como estan los gatitos hoy?” “Bien, gracias.” It's just another dinner on a Tuesday, but we were happy to be talking to each other without needing any kind of translation.
Finally, I could have a conversation with my host mom, Cinthya. It's been 2 months, and I can now understand her and respond in Spanish. When I arrived in Costa Rica, I barely knew what "Hola!" meant. The first time I met my host family, I was dropped off and stayed with my grandmother, Daisy, and her grandson, Mattias. Both of them knew no English, and I knew no Spanish. It was very awkward for the first hour or two until the rest of my family arrived and my luggage did, too. The only people who spoke English were my host sister Laura and her brother Dario, who loves to play soccer with me. After two months of fewer and fewer awkward interactions, I can finally communicate with them and talk about my day.
I walk in the front door, take my shoes off, throw my backpack in my room, and walk into the kitchen. I grab the ice cream out of the freezer and make myself a bowl. I put it on the table, walk up to the stove, and grab a piece of pasta out of the pot. My host mom gives me a smile. I sit down on the couch with my bowl of ice cream and stretch my legs out to the other side of the couch. After I finish eating, my host mom tells me that she’s very excited to show me something, and insists that Wanda and I follow her to the little cabana on their property that they rent out. We walk around the outside and see the biggest hot tub I’ve ever seen glowing bright blue with Maribelle’s brother, Anthony, sitting inside of it smiling at his work. I felt so happy to be a part of that and have my host mom show me something that she knew I would be excited about.
When I first arrived here I just wanted to hide in my room because I was unsure of how much I was really wanted in the common spaces of the house. I am very happy now knowing that my host family not only wants me around but enjoys my presence.
Isaac pointed out a snake and we were all so happy to see it. It was small but it was still really cool. I still don’t know how he saw it; it was brown, sitting on a green leaf in the middle of the night. All we could see was what our flashlights would show us. Mark picked up the snake and it started slithering around his hand. He passed it off to Beto, then Isaac, then Nate. After it almost bit Nate we decided to put the snake back where we found it.
That was the second night walk we had done on the San Gerardo trip and it definitely paid off. The first night that we went out we had seen only frogs, even though we were looking for snakes and tarantulas. After seeing none, we were a little bit discouraged but the night walk was still very fun. As we were preparing for the second night walk we realized that we might not see any snakes that night but we still wanted to go out. When Isaac pointed out the snake we all were surprised and very happy. Thank god we decided to go out that second night.
All of my worries left my body as my host mom pulled me in for a big hug. Adjusting to being in Costa Rica was very challenging. Things constantly went through my mind like if I was spending enough time with my host family, if they liked me, missing home, improving my Spanish, and so much more. One night these thoughts hit me like a wave and my host mom could tell I was down. She asked how I was doing and she gave me a big hug cause she knew it was what I needed.
BRIDGET - Educator
Life presents us with so many challenges. Traveling is an exciting way to experience the world and learn about ourselves, but if you do it right and really engage with a new place rather than just as a tourist, you will certainly experience some discomfort, maybe even some fear. Over the past weeks the students in the Proctor Monteverde program have done several service projects and other activities, such as working in the CEC school garden, transplanting trees in the rainforest, looking for wildlife in the forest at night, deepening relationships with host families, and exploring the surrounding areas.
Most helpful to me was the participation in the CEC Earth Day events; I had been put in charge of the day and had to organize all-school activities in short order. The Proctor students helped me brainstorm ideas for events, such as a trash-sorting race and water conservation and seed-planting relays. Then they showed up on the day and ran the events with a rotating group of Spanish-speaking children, giving directions and managing chaos in the hot sun. Then the girls stayed on through their lunch break to help me clean up and put things away. I really appreciate their willingness to put in the effort and put themselves out there!
- Off-Campus Program
- Proctor en Monteverde