Students travel to new world, share insights on foreign country

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Every other year at BHS, Spanish teacher Samuel Samuelson arranges an international trip for students to go on to learn about different countries and their cultures. This Spring Break, a group traveled over 3000 miles to Costa Rica.
Those who took the opportunity to go on this adventure were seniors Sheigh Carpenter and Alex Burris, juniors Emily Schneider, Regan Norton, Christian Isch and Jacy Lenard, sophomores Valerie Bussard and Nathan Herrman, and freshman Sam Samuelson. They spent 10 days total in the country.
When asked how different the foreign land was from America, Jacy said that Costa Rica was a lot warmer and more humid, but that the people were less wealthy.
She explained that the houses were made out of metal, had iron bars over the windows, and were surrounded by extremely miniature yards.
“They don’t have as many materials as we do, and seeing their houses made me very thankful for the one I have.”
To help out, the group collected supplies such as books, pencils, and crayons and donated them to an elementary school they visited, Escuala El Dos. Not only did they help the children, but they also spent some time with them playing soccer together, dancing, and more.
“The school was my favorite part,” Jacy said. “The kids were laughing at our attempts at speaking to them, and we were laughing at them for laughing at us! It was a great time, and we shared candy with our favorite children.”
The main spoken language in Costa Rica is Spanish, so the students at times had to speak it. Some were nervous about the task, but the groups was overall successful in this field.
Christian explained how her expectations of being surrounded by Spanish speakers corresponded with reality. She thought that there would be a significant language barrier, but she was able to communicate through the Spanish that she knew.
Mr. Samuelson noted that he was especially proud of Christian and the talent she portrayed in doing so.
While in Costa Rica, the students were able to get a taste of authentic food. There were also eggs, lots of fruits, and different natural juices to drink every day.
While in Costa Rica, the students were able to get a taste of authentic food. “We ate a lot of rice and beans until we were tired of them,” said Sheigh. “They were served at every meal, but somehow they tasted a lot better than they do here.”
One night, the students were served a strange meal. “We were eating this really delicious meat, but I wasn’t sure what it was.
“Halfway through we were told that we had just eaten iguana! I wasn’t quite sure how to take it after that,” Sheigh said.  (She had been late to lunch and missed out on the talk about what they were about to eat.)
“We were always very busy, but the trip was full of fun!” Christian said. “We were able to do a lot of hikes, visited the Baldi Hot Springs, walked 503 steps up and down to the base of a waterfall, saw butterfly gardens, went horseback riding,  zip-lining, white water rafting, kayaking, and best of all, made Amazon friends.”
The group traveled with students from Fairfield, Iowa, and Hilo, Hawaii. Over time, they roomed with them and created strong bonds. Sheigh said that she was taught how to say her name, where she is from, and the state fish of Hawaii in their language.
The best part for Christian, she said, was making friends with the girls from Hawaii. At first, she was afraid of reaching out, but eventually they became super close. They even talked about the Hawaiians visiting Kansas next summer.
“I never wanted to leave. It was absolutely incredible,” Christian said about her experience. “I would recommend it to anyone!”
Mr. Samuelson said that his other memorable moments were Valerie’s vegetarian meals, Regan hula dancing at the beach, and Sam crying “¡Pura vida!” as he rode above a canopy on a zipline.  Pura Vida translates to pure life, but it is used as saying “life is good.”
During Spring Break of 2017, there is an excursion planned to Panama. If interested, start planning and saving up so that you can have an adventure of your own!

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Students travel to new world, share insights on foreign country