I’ve been abroad quite a bit starting when I was young and I’ve continued through college studying abroad every summer. Over this winter break I’m going to Costa Rica and I want to take advantage of it more than I have in the past. I have always kept a journal when I travel, but I think it’s time I made more of an effort to get a memorable experience. My plan is to go there with some sort of individual project beyond my broader goals of improving my Spanish and volunteering at a children’s school.
I’ve heard that Costa Rica has some amazing environmental programs. In some basic research I’ve found that despite their booming eco-tourism and protected forests, they still have quite a problem with illegal deforestation. I also have seen some stories about dwindling turtle populations due to rising sea levels on the coast. These things interest me and, being in the same country, I’d like to find a way to take advantage of it. However, I don’t think any visits to deforested areas are scheduled into the itinerary.
The problem with sea turtles losing beaches to high sea levels fascinates me as a demonstration of climate change that is having an immediate effect. The only way the turtles are continuing to breed is because people move the eggs higher on the beach to keep them safe after they are laid. I’m going to sound like a preachy treehugger, but people tend not to acknowledge climate change as an important issue because they can’t see any immediate effects. If there is more evidence of immediate effects in Costa Rica I want to know about them and give people a reason to start caring.
So, this Costa Rica environment issue is what I’d like to focus on, but it’s difficult to know how things will be until I get there. To get myself started here is the list of things to accomplish while down south.
1. Make a new friend to be my Spanish pen pal
2. Take pictures all the time
3. Maintain a journal as usual
4. Write ten new Spanish words in the journal everyday
5. Read the local news daily
Mostly I will just keep my eyes open for new opportunities to get out of my comfort zone.