While most students were at home during winter break, the Stevenson University School of the Sciences and the department of human services traveled to Costa Rica for two weeks as an opportunity to earn class credits and explore another culture.
The human services department trip was led by Lauri Weiner, associate professor of human services, and department chair Dr. John Rosicky, who worked with Cross-Cultural Solutions to explore Costa Rica. The School of the Sciences trip was led by Dr. Keith Johnson, assistant professor of biology at Stevenson.
Rosicky and Weiner led the students on a 13-day service trip to Cartago, Costa Rica. Students helped in low-income neighborhoods with child care centers and orphanages, and worked in a home with HIV/AIDS patients during the morning sessions. Not only did the students help in service work, but in the afternoon they explored the Costa Rican culture through cooking and dancing. The students also took trips into the rainforest to see volcanos and waterfalls during their afternoons.
“We have said from the beginning that we were going to have an opportunity for students to talk about their experiences. As part of the class, they were required to put together a WordPress site with information about Costa Rican history and culture,” said Rosicky.
The School of the Sciences trip was also a 13-day excursion, but the group was studying environmental science and observing the different habitats of Costa Rica. The students were part of a 300-level course that involved going to class three days before the trip and two days after returning. Not only did the students learn about different habitats and environments, but they were also able to go to a beach, taste test different cocoa and sugar canes, and sightsee in the rainforest and cities.
“I think that, within the study abroad trip, they learned a lot of things beyond the scope of a class,” said Johnson.