United World College CR Students from Northern Youth Abroad in Canada Complete Challenging Course
On August 3rd, Outward Bound Costa Rica welcomed five participants from Nunavut and the Northwest Territories of Canada for a 13-day Custom Course adventure. The students were accompanied by their chaperones from Northern Youth Abroad, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help the youth of from the Canadian North realize their potential, developing leadership skills and cross-cultural awareness through work and travel. Prior to coming on course with Outward Bound Costa Rica, they had been immersed in educational workshops and hikes for one month with United World College Costa Rica.
The group began their journey with us by hiking and camping their way through unspoiled rainforests, deep valleys, waterfalls and dense cloud forests in the remote region of Piedras Blancas. They were welcomed into the homes of several host families along the route, where they shared stories with family members and learned to cook traditional meals using local ingredients. They tried their hand at trapiche, a traditional method of processing raw sugar cane stalks and ground corn to make homemade tortillas. A highlight for many of the students was the 80-foot waterfall rappel which put their teamwork to the test and encouraged the group to support and rely on each other.
During their time, the students shared their own way of life, customs, and indigenous traditions from the Canadian North with local Ticos. A way of life and customs that includes living off the land, hunting for food, weather between -14 to -40°C, experiencing much snow, and and 24-hour darkness from December to January and 24-hour daylight from May to August every year.
Despite the many climate and cultural differences, students were able to draw similarities. Gibson, one of the students from the Canadian North, noted that in their culture they use drum dances and throat singing and in Costa Rica they use instruments for celebrations.
After a rich cultural experience, the group headed to the famed Manuel Antonio National Park, where they learned about local wildlife and soaked up the sun at the beach.
They returned back to the rainforest for a zipline tour through the canopies followed by a visit to a local organic coffee plantation and butterfly farm. To conclude their adventure, the participants travelled to the indigenous community of Nimari-Ñak where they met with the Cabécar language teacher. The group helped paint the local school and practiced their Spanish skills with students.
Throughout their trip, there were many opportunities where each of these students conquered their fears and pushed themselves beyond what they thought was possible. Here is what their instructors, Diego and Mike, had to say about each UWC student, as well as what lesson each of the students learned out on course:
Chris: “The course went beyond my expectations. Ziplining was my favorite activity. ”
Instructors: “You impressed everyone when you went ziplining. You can always find the fun in all situations. We so enjoyed your authentic, honest, and funny personality. Never forget that the hardest part is to try, and that you can do anything you put your mind to.”
Katarina: “I learned to trust myself and others, to be open-minded to things, and to accept others as they are. Be present, don’t worry about tomorrow, or yesterday.”
Instructors: “You are an artist through and through. You choose your words carefully and put so much thought before speaking. You excelled in being present and stopped to enjoy the view. Don’t be afraid to open up, and continue to live in the moment.”
Patti: “I learned that I could do anything at all if I just pushed myself more than usual. It has changed my outlook on life and people.”
Instructors: “Patti, you are so strong, and incredibly resilient. We could tell that you were gaining confidence each day, and it was amazing to witness. You’re capable of anything you want to do. Your limitations are only in your mind.”
Gibson: “It helped me find trust in myself. We all became a family with different roles. It was the best challenge in my life.”
Instructors: “You have a great sense of initiative, and were always the first one to help clean and cook. You were also the first one to start painting on the service project. Whether it was at the homestays or in the Cabécar community, you had a great connection with the local kids. Your strength lies in your ability to lead by example. Never lose that quality to embrace life and others.”
Mahasi: “I learned that I can do a lot of things when I feel more challenged. My favorite part of the course was ziplining because that was when I challenged myself the most.”
Instructors: “You have an unbreakable spirit, and are always smiling. Your happiness is contagious and brought sunshine to the group. Never be afraid to be who you are because you are an incredible person and it is obvious to see that.”
Diego and Mike also wanted to thank the three chaperones. Alasdair for being such a passionate and great teacher. Carolyn for being full of life and for your positive energy. And Jimmy, for being genuine and always ready for anything. Thank you all for your invaluable contributions to United World College Costa Rica students’ experience.
Interested in traveling abroad on a Custom Group?
Surf, hike, raft, scuba, kayak, and more on a Group Program with your students, family, friends, Girl Scout troop, or co-workers.
Contact our Custom Courses & Partnerships Manager at 800-676-2018 or by emailing Custom@OutwardBoundCR.org.