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36 ODSS students to embark on “incredible” trip to Costa Rica

February 9, 2017   ·   0 Comments

Accompanied by six teachers, 36 students from Orangeville District Secondary School will be embarking on the “trip of their lives” next week as they travel to Costa Rica for a 10-day country-wide tour.

With a wealth of wondrous activities on the group’s agenda, Susie Chamberlain – an English teacher at ODSS and one of the individuals who helped to plan and organize the trip – is confident it will be a “life-changing” experience for those making their way to the central American nation.

With a specialized itinerary put together by Canadian educational travel tour company Explorica, the students and teachers will spend a significant portion of their time providing help to locals in Costa Rica. Over the first three days of the trip, the group will spend time volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary in Coastal Puntarenas, before embarking on a road trip to the mountainous community of Monteverde, where they will have the opportunity to plant trees in the town’s ‘Cloud Forest’. The students will also be visiting a Costa Rican elementary school towards the end of the trip.

It won’t be all work though, according to Ms. Chamberlain, who said the students will have ample time to let their hair down and enjoy themselves in the tropical climate synonymous with many central American countries.

“This trip really is the full package – there’s a healthy combination of service work, eco-tourism and traveling involved. We wanted to make sure we were giving the students the best experience possible and with the lineup Explorica has put together, I don’t think it’s going to disappoint,” Ms. Chamberlain said. “There are so many cool things we’re going to be doing, so many different places throughout the country we’re going to be seeing, it’s going to be incredible. I can’t wait to get out there.”

The group will fly from Toronto to the Costa Rican capital of San Jose on Friday, Feb. 17, and will visit four different communities before traveling back to Canada on Feb. 26. While the trip is jam-packed, full of different fun-filled and educational activities, there’s one in particular Ms. Chamberlain is excited about

“One of the highlights I’m particularly looking forward to is when we travel up to Monteverde. It’s a small community situated right in the middle of the Costa Rican rain forest, so we’re going to be staying in huts up there and we’ll be completely off the grid,” she said. “That means no electricity, no beds, no walls, we’ll be right there in the rain forest living under the stars. It’ll be a big change for the kids – they won’t be able to use their mobile devices even if they want to. It will be a cool experience, so I’m really looking forward to that.”

While the trip came in at a cost of just over $3,000 per person, Ms. Chamberlain said she doesn’t believe you can put a price on the experience and “global perspective” the students will gain from participating in the tour.

“I think it’s incredibly important to offer different opportunities to broaden the minds of our students and open their eyes as to how different the world can be. It’s difficult learning that through books and videos and images,” Ms. Chamberlain said. “I’ve always been a big believer that the greatest learning happens when it’s hands on.”

She added, “But at the end of the day, this is about our students gaining more of a global perspective on things. I worry that if we don’t take this sort of step in our lives, we don’t truly learn or form an appreciation for how different things are in different areas of the world. Too many people think that their world is Orangeville, or their world is Ontario, or Canada. Traveling opens up the mind. It’s going to be a fantastic experience for all of us participating in this adventure.”

         

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