GLOBAL HEALTH SQUAD: High School of Health Sciences-Costa Rica Trip Report
The High School of Health Sciences from Wales, Wisconsin recently took a Squad Abroad to Cartago, Costa Rica to volunteer abroad.The organizing educator, Vicki Haidacher Kopidlansky, took meticulous and amazing notes of the Squads time abroad with CCS and we’re happy to share some of the photos and highlights of their recent trip.
On Day one, everyone made it safely from Wisconsin with all of their luggage. Vicki says, “We met the Home-Base staff–AMAZING so far. Helpful, instructive, and very concerned about safety.” After a quick Spanish lesson and orientation, the group settled in.
This Squad was volunteering with one of our partner programs, which is a facility for the elderly, that CCS has been working with for over a decade. The Squad did a variety of tasks from leading dental hygiene workshops to helping feed the residents to building wheelchair-friendly hydroponic flower beds for the elderly who are currently unable to get down to ground-level for a little garden therapy. Additionally, the group took on some light occupational therapy tasks.
The students were extremely hard-workers, and that fact was remarked upon, several times by CCS staff. The Squad was happy to get their hands dirty, and through Vicki’s leadership, they were able to recognize that these tasks are important, as she told her students that the center is “so short-staffed that these tasks never get done regularly.” One of the extra-special things that this Squad got to experience was a field trip with some of the elderly residents to a local garden.
To show this group a diverse population, they also had a chance to visit a transitional orphanage and learn about some of the health struggles that exist within the health system in Costa Rica.
While there was a lot of hard-work and experiential education involved, the groups also enjoyed a variety of Cultural and Learning Activities from Spanish lessons to learning to make tortillas to a typical Costa Rican dance class.
On their travel weekend, they got the chance to travel to Tapanti Rainforest and go for a hike in one of the most ecologically diverse rainforests in the world. And of course, what’s a trip to Costa Rica without a couple adventure sports? The group got to experience zip-lining and rapelling, and it was the perfect experience to top off the trip.
At the conclusion of the journey and on the way back to Wisconsin, the group was tired, but all smiles. One of the students said, “I love Cartago, I hope to bring my family here one day. I feel like I really got an authentic Costa Rican experience.”