Proctor in Costa Rica affords a language and cultural immersion experience to Proctor sophomores every winter and spring. Studying at the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica and living with local host families, students not only learn an incredible amount of Spanish and continue their regular sophomore level courses, but immerse themselves in one of the most biodiverse regions of the world.
Spring 2019 Proctor in Costa Rica before their night hike in the Cloud Forest
Monteverde's many schools, the Cloud Forest rainforest, and local emphasis on sustainable farming and living practices provides a powerful learning experience to students around permaculture and sustainable living practices. Sophie '21 shares reflections from her term abroad in the writing below. Thank you to program director Brooks Bicknell '77 and Proctor Academic Dean Derek Nussbaum Wagler for sharing photos from their recent visit to see Sophie '21, Hannah '21, Beth '21, and Zach '21 in Monteverde.
Students visiting Valle Escondido Preserve where owner/director Jonah Chaffee discusses the complex permaculture environment he has cultivated at the hotel/farm in Monteverde.
Walking through security in Boston I was terrified and excited for what I was about to do. Now more than halfway through this term I feel as though I’ve both lived in Monteverde, Costa Rica my whole life and that I just arrived yesterday. I was most worried about not being able to communicate with my host family, but I soon found out that was not a problem.
Hannah '21 with her host family and Program Director Brooks Bicknell '77 and Academic Dean Derek Nussbaum Wagler
A laugh and smile is part of a universal language that everyone understands. The other night I was sitting in the woods behind my house with my host family around a fire pit. They had marshmallows and asked if I wanted to roast one, of course I said yes - I’m not one to turn down a warm, gooey marshmallow. Sitting out there I forgot that I was in a different country with new people. I looked around as the fire was dying down to see stars. They were everywhere and with no light from a big city they were even brighter.
Beth '21 with her host family and Derek Nussbaum Wagler
A few days later my host family invited me to go swimming at a river with them. It was very hot, but as soon as we started to leave it got cloudy. When we got to the river, about 30 minutes away from the house down the mountain on a sort of sketchy dirt road, the sun had come back out and it was still really hot. We had to cross the river to get to where there was more family already set up. There were 3 tents and lots of food.
My host sister and I went right into the water and played games until we couldn’t put off eating lunch any longer. As we were eating it started to rain, it had gotten cloudy as we were swimming, but I didn’t think much about it. It was just a bit at first but then it started to pour. We tried to make a makeshift roof out of a tarp, but the rain was coming through the holes.
At this point I was soaking wet from swimming and now the rain so we went running back into the river to swim in the pouring rain. I stood in the middle of the river looking up to the sky letting the rain hit my face and all I could think was, this is the coolest thing.
How many people have that experience? Very soon we got called out because it started to thunder and the river was rising so if we didn’t leave soon it would flood our area and we wouldn’t be able to cross back. Everyone threw things together and made it across the river. Of course it was the one day I forgot a rain jacket, but at that point everyone and everything was so wet it wasn’t worth trying to stay dry.
The experiences I’m having here, not to mention how much my Spanish is improving, are lifelong adventures I will carry with me my whole life. I know in a blink of an eye the term will be over, so for now I’m trying to soak in every moment - no pun intended.