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Vacation Adventures in Costa Rica

Over the vacation break some of our students used their time to explore different summer programmes. Kristin Aanensen of Grade 12 shares her experience here.

ARCC Summer Program – Costa Rica
by Kristin Aanensen

Here I am gardening in Ranchos Tinamu.

If you have been to Costa Rica, or if you are planning a Costa Rica vacation, one term you should be familiar with is “Pura Vida” (pronounces poo-rah vee-dah). Simply translated, it means “simple life” or “pure life”, but in Costa Rica, it is more than just a saying—it is a way of life. No worries, no fuss, no stress—pura vida to them means being thankful for what they have and not dwelling on the negative. Over the summer holidays, I embarked on a 20 day trip to Costa Rica from the 5th to the 25th of July. I went with a programme called “ARCC”. ARCC is a programme that has been around for the past 30 years. They began in the United States going from state to state then as the years went by they expanded worldwide. Now ARCC has 17 summer programs (They also offer three month gap semester trips) in places including Costa Rica, Fiji, Bali, Kenya, Southeast Asia and more. I went on the Costa Rican Ultimate and this is the programme overview: “Experience all the elements of our Costa Rica “Classic” program and protect sea turtles on this ultimate 21-day adventure. Travel from Costa Rica’s lush rainforests to the mountainous cloud forests to the Caribbean Sea. Work with local “Tico” schoolchildren and volunteer with rural farmers on projects which positively affect their quality of life. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this country by whitewater rafting through lush jungle, surfing unspoiled coastline, and by getting to know its wonderful people while working together to build a much-needed community structure. Sample coffee while learning how it is produced, straight from the lush green mountains where it is grown. Patrol turtle nesting beaches to help conserve dwindling sea turtle populations. Make lifelong friendships and take pleasure in knowing that along the way, you are making a positive impact.” Just as the overview stated we accomplished and conquered everything on the agenda including making lifelong friendships. I started off that trip terrified with the only thing in my comfort zone being my cousin. I had no phone, no laptop therefore I had no communication with the outside world. All I had was the people around me which had helped me form close bonds with everyone on the trip. Overall it was the experience of a lifetime and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.