Seventeen year-old Sechelt student Sara Brad-shaw recently returned from a month of practising Spanish and soaking in Costa Rican culture.
Bradshaw was in a 30-day multi-element course with Spanish emphasis with Costa Rican Outward Bound, an experiential education school that combines adventure activities with personal growth. Bradshaw pushed herself by trekking through clouded rain forests and living with Costa Rican families, scuba diving in the Caribbean and rafting Class IV rapids.
In addition to physical challenges, she developed leadership skills and experienced firsthand the culture of Costa Rica. She hiked into a remote Costa Rican village to conduct home-stays with local families. Bradshaw learned about traditional foods and how to make sugar from sugar cane and tortillas from ground corn. The group also conducted two service projects, painting a house and distributing food to locals on an impoverished Panamanian island.
"The course was enlightening and opened my mind," she said. "It's a great course."
Founded in 1997 by executive director James Rowe, the Costa Rica Rainforest Outward Bound School combines activities including hiking, rafting, kayaking, surfing, rappelling and scuba diving with hands-on cultural experiences such as home-stays with local families and complete immersion in wilderness settings.