Breaking the Ice

Team Journal Entry for Monday, August 10 

20After a delicious breakfast prepared by Tatiana and Anthony at the Mar Inn (and the superb Costa Rican coffee!), we finished a quick morning meeting and headed off to Colegio. Before starting our work, we learned that in addition to the traditional academic areas, students at Colegio choose a specialty area of study that they concentrate in from tenth to twelfth grade. Professor Jorge, whom we’d met the night before, gave details about these specialty areas and a fact-filled tour of the school, which includes a cow pasture and milking area, a pig pen (with piglets and the most enormous hog any of us had ever seen), a chicken coup, and finally several gardens and a pond that was built to ergonomically clean waste from the pasture lands.

After our tour, we proceeded into the classroom to meet the students who would work with us. Our student partners today were ninth graders in the morning and twelfth graders in the afternoon. As planned, we began by introducing ourselves in Spanish. Most of us had not studied Spanish before our lesson with Maggie, but I think we all did well. Thank you, Maggie! Though some were a bit hesitant, the students also introduced themselves to us. The students did wonderfully as well – no need for any hesitation!


IMG_1350Jorge divided us into four gardening/landscaping projects, which eventually turned into two projects as the day progressed. My group worked on adding and spreading soil to an ornamental school garden directly behind the newly built technological specialty classrooms. The other group cleared the butterfly garden further up the hill near the ecotourism classroom. During our work time, we all made efforts to proactively start conversations with the students as Maggie suggested. While it was a bit challenging due to the language difference, we kept trying and at the very least began to “break the ice” and increase the comfort level between both ourselves and the students.

While it is often easy to notice and focus on the differences between people of various cultures, what stuck out most to me today was a similarity: teens are teens, no matter in a Costa Rican high school or an American high school. Sometimes self-conscious, sometimes mischievous (as we had a few who “wandered elsewhere” during one of the projects…much to the annoyance of the profesor), but always full of humor, energy, and great promise for the future!

Entry submitted by: Caitlyn

Message of the Day – Maggie: “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



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