This experience is the most adventurous and experiential learning thing I have done in my whole life. I wouldn’t trade that trip for class time, ever. It teaches something you only really understand when you are standing in that community hearing about their project, or seeing them succeed after failing for so long, and being able to support local communities. This class was about sustainable community development, but the way you use and view that term varies among everyone. We learned first hand about the type of tight knit community that Costa Rica openly has and creates for strangers, the type of systems that supports the communities or family efforts, like free educational opportunities, and free health care. Costa Rica makes sure everyone leaves happy when making a new decision, leading with their dialect and problem solving with their intellect not their strength or competitiveness, is admirable, because it is so difficult. They try and remain peaceful in all activities, which makes sense why they are the happiest country in the world. They are taking huge steps in over coming generations of social norms, more specifically gender roles in and outside of the household. Costa Rica is well known for their eco-tourism, which is happening everywhere, people are farming sustainably or learning how to, old and new generations are cooperating and exchanging ideas and knowledge. Their culture and ideas for a better future are so simple to foreigners, that the culture may seem plain or poor, when in fact the people are rich with knowledge of life, and the mutualism that plays a part in every ecosystem, they know what connects us to the earth, and they don’t make it into anything else. Their sharing, community, understanding, kindness, and connectedness is unlike anything I have experienced or seen before. This class was very eye opening about the way U.S. systems operate, and how they could operate. It awakens you to how people view subjects and material items, and there needs to be a very large mental shift in how we view the earth, other people, animals, our possessions, jobs and money. This course was well worth everything and I just hope I can use this new knowledge to help other people change and see the earth, other living creatures and plants differently, because it helped me so much.
I loved it so much, very beneficial!