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Costa Rica Intro to Pre-Med & Public Health 2022, Session 1

June 25, 2022
We started off the day with an 8am breakfast of fruit, gallo pinto, juice, and toast. We were all super excited after finding out today was coffee farm day, although we did not realize how long the bus ride would be. However, even that ended up being fun as we played some card games, the name game, and ‘subtly’ tried to convince the trip leaders to get us churros. We did lots of fun activities at the coffee farm. We began with some Global Works group activities, such as icebreakers, even though we are all already super comfortable with each other. We also made a contract to start the trip to ensure we all treat each other respectfully. After having a snack, we headed up to make our own sugar cane juice. We pushed the arms of a large wooden machine around in a circle, squeezing the juice out of each sugar cane. We got to drink the juice, as well as lots of other amazing fruit and treats. It was fun to make the juice and see Camila translate the Spanish speaking farm owner. We also got to try these berries that make everything you taste sweet, which was so cool when eating raw lemons but kind of weird when eating lunch an hour later.

Next, we headed down the farm to learn about medicinal plants and even taste some. We learned not to eat anything that the farm owner said was “muy dulce” (very sweet) because it was probably a trick and very sour. Next we sat down to an amazing lunch that made us all feel very organic. After lunch it was time to make coffee, so we walked back up and learned all about the process. At the end we even got to make some of our own ground beans to take home with us. We then tried to talk to one of the farmers in Spanish, but he was not very impressed by “donde estan los cerdos” (They did not have any pigs). As we were getting ready to go, it began pouring rain which none of us were prepared for despite plenty of warnings. We put a giant leaf over or head and ran back to grab our stuff, eat tamales, then come home. Once we got back, we played a bunch of fun games in the room, like 5 second rule and catch phrase. Now it is dinner time, and we are all super hungry again. It was a really fun day!

By Lilah N.

June 26, 2022

We started out this morning by waking up for a 7am breakfast of the staple gallo pinto, toast, eggs, and fruit. We then headed out for a beautiful hour bus ride to the Poas Volcano where were able to take in the scenic sights of the Costa Rican valleys as we made our way up and around the mountains. Although a little foggy, the walk to the volcano was full of unique wildlife found nowhere else in the world! There were colorful native hummingbirds flying around the only plants strong enough to withstand the sulfur-filled air and soil from the volcano.

On our way back down the mountains, we stopped for warm hot chocolate in a friendly lodge and ventured on to stop for lunch at a town staple restaurant. There we tried arepas, hamburgers and even the Columbian national dish! After, we returned to the hotel to begin preparing for our time at the clinic in the coming days. We talked about our knowledge of different aspects of the medical world and what we will see as we shadow many different types of doctors during real-time appointments.

After our meeting, we walked around the beautiful town of San Joaquin where we met many friendly animals, admired the lush plants growing happily along the streets and buildings, and took in the historical buildings and churches. After grabbing some snacks from a local grocery store and ordering some ice cream, we walked back to the hotel to wait for our late celebratory dinner for Camila’s birthday! We are all so excited to begin our work in the clinics tomorrow! Miss you lots!

By Zoe B.

June 27, 2022

The morning started off a bit later than usual, around 8, granting us a little extra sleep in order to prepare us for the extensive but exciting activities at the clinic for the next 3 days to come. After walking outside to a light drizzle, we were greeted with pancakes, freshly cut fruit, and, as always: gallo pinto. Once we were all done with breakfast, we quickly got dressed and briefly went over basic medical terms and phrases in Spanish that we may use over the next few days. Along with a basic anatomical lesson and refresh, we learned about how the public and private health systems in Costa Rica work; very interesting!

About 2 hours after beginning our lesson, our bus driver was here and we quickly grabbed our bags and headed over to one of FIMRC’s clinics in Alajuelita. FIMRC stands for Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, it is an organization based around providing free healthcare in low-resource areas. Despite the original name, “Medical Relief of Children”, the organization has since developed into a system designed for the benefit for everyone.

Once there, the director of the clinic went into more depth about the story behind the organization, who it’s for, what it does, and much more. Around 3 PM we headed back closer to home and stopped for some Poke bowls on the way; I think we can all agree that it was one of our favorite lunches. After getting home around 5 PM we were all very tired and just had some downtime for a while before dinner. For dinner we celebrated a birthday with a delicious tres leches and some tacos afterwards. All the while preparing our health education posters for the clinic. After a taco dinner, we are all heading to bed to rest up for a full day at the clinic tomorrow.

By Megan K.

June 28, 2022

We started the day with an early breakfast of our typical gallo pinto and fruit at 6:30, and then left for the clinic for our first full day. At the clinic, we divided into groups of people going to the soup kitchen where FIMRC’s mobile clinic is set up and staying at the home clinic. At the clinics, we observed doctors and psychiatrists, and worked in the pharmacy and waiting room. We learned to take vitals, observed treatments, learned about child psychiatry, practiced how to pack and explain how to take prescriptions, and observed proper bedside manners. We all kept working until we had a delicious lunch of rice and chicken, beans, chips, and juice which were all homemade. After lunch we had a meeting with the director of the clinic who showed us how their online database of patients work. We then got on the bus and drove to the mall where we had churros and went shopping for a few hours. After shopping, we returned to our hotel and had some downtime until dinner. For dinner we had tacos and some green tea, and then went to bed early to prepare for our next day at the clinic.

By Riyah

June 29, 2022

Hello everyone! Our day in Costa Rica today was a very busy day. We started off with an early breakfast at 6:30am to get to the clinic by 8:30am. I started off in the clinic by being in the examination room. Everyone working in the clinic today took turns observing the doctor. I got to see the doctor give a shot to a patient which was really cool! After being in the examination room for around an hour, I switched to work in the pharmacy with Charlotte. We got to put together prescriptions for each patient as well as explain to them how to use the medicine. While my Spanish is a bit rough, it was still fun to practice speaking with a patient in a medical setting. We left the clinic at around 11am to make our way to La Fortuna.

The drive to La Fortuna was beautiful- we could see the mountains of Costa Rica, cows and horses roaming around, and many colorful houses and villages. I also took an amazing nap on the bus. About an hour into the drive, we stopped for lunch. I got Bolognese spaghetti which was delicious. After lunch, we continued our drive and saw several waterfalls on the way. We arrived to our new hotel- Heliconias- about an hour and a half after lunch. I was immediately blown away by our new hotel. The rooms are so spacious and cozy and there are even two hammocks outside! The best part about today and the resort was seeing a sloth outside on a tree- it was adorable and I definitely checked it off my bucket list. After the sloth, we explored a bit, had a group meeting, played soccer outside in the rain, and had a yummy dinner of rice, beans, chicken, fried plantains, salad, and mango juice. Overall, I love our new hotel and I cannot wait for our few days here!

Pura vida,

Cece W.

June 30, 2022

In the morning we had a delicious breakfast consisting of pancakes, fresh fruit, and local Costa Rican coffee. At 8:20, we took a short ride to a lovely cheese farm. Once there, we watched a presentation that the owner shared with us and learned about his family and the origins of the farm. After the presentation, we had the chance to stretch and roll our own delicious mozzarella cheese. Then, we toured the farm and learned about the variety of native Costa Rican fruits and wild plants. We ran into wild red blue jean dart frogs, and a couple of us (including myself) held the frogs. For lunch we ate chicken, pork, mashed yuca, and a salad! Afterwards we took a little drive to the local supermarket and bought some snacks.

Once we got back to the beautiful hotel, we started our wilderness first aid classes. This was a four hour long training course where we learned the basics of CPR, what to do when someone is choking, and assessing situations. Overall, we had a very educational and fun experience, and we will continue our training for the next two days. We finished of the day off with delicious alfredo and ice cream. Some girls went on a night walk, and some went on a night swim!

By Keira

July 1, 2022

Good evening! Today we started off the day with an early breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and fruit. We then headed back to our rooms to prepare for a full day of wilderness training. The instructors let us know that we all passed the CPR test that we had taken yesterday, so we are all officially certified! Today we learned how to identify certain sicknesses like heat stroke, and we also were taught how to put splints on each other. We had a great lunch of chicken, rice, and beans and then continued the training until 5. After we finished, some people went to read and relax in their room and others walked around and played soccer.

For dinner, the hotel prepared baked fish and people are planning on going swimming and embarking on a night hike. Bye!

By Pope

July 2, 2022

We started off our day at 7:30 with a delicious traditional Costa Rican breakfast consisting mainly of rice and beans. After getting ready for the day, we headed out on the bus ride to La Fortuna, the ziplining course. An hour “zipped” by while we jammed out to Taylor Swift and Pitch Perfect. Once we arrived, we had free time to shop and experience what it felt like to be a true Costa Rican tourist. We then embarked on our 7 part ziplining tour. We all enjoyed the beautiful view of the volcano and rain forest. On the way back, we stopped at a local organic restaurant for lunch. Once we got back, we finalized our Wilderness First Aid Course by finishing up the lessons, and taking the test. We our proud to say that we all passed with our “Valedictorians” being Seren and Zoe. We then took a well deserved break where many of us read and napped. Soon after, we began our upbeat and energetic dance lesson with out talented instructor, Randall Vargas. Randall has been a part of Global Works for many years and taught us how to dance Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata. After an exhilarating lesson, we had one of our favorites, chicken fajitas. We ended our night with a greatly anticipated tres leches cake. We are excited for the next day of adventures!

By Evie Faber

July 3, 2022

Today we woke up at 8:30 for a delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and fruit. After, some of us ventured off to a local organic farm to learn about sustainable farming, while those of us who needed to rest stayed at the hotel to sleep, read, and relax in hammocks. It was a sad day, as Tanya had to leave early, and we all exchanged contact info and said our goodbyes. If you’re reading this Tanya, we miss you! For dinner, we had an American style meal of chicken nuggets and fries. After eating, some of us walked around while the rest of us took a night swim and shared funny childhood memories. Overall, today was a rest and recharge day and we are all feeling re-energized for our travel day tomorrow. Shout out to Mom, Dad, Connor, Maddie, and Noah. I miss you all!


July 4, 2022

Hello! Today we woke up at Hotel Heliconias and had breakfast before leaving for the Monteverde cloud forest. We then packed and prepared for the long car ride ahead. Half way through we stopped for lunch and even got to shop at a souvenir shop for funny shirts. After shopping, we got back into the car and drove on to the next destination, Hotel El Jardin.

Once we settled in we walking into town and got chips and cereals to hold us over for our yummy dinner at Cafe Coco. there, we ate authentic pastas, sandwiches, and burgers and finished with amazing tres leches. After that some of us went to a night walk through the cloud forest where we saw many, many cool bugs, an owl, and even two pit vipers! a glowing fungi that only grows in the cloud forest, orchid flowers, Thats all for today, goodnight!

~ Charlotte H.

July 5, 2022

Hola from Monteverde,

This morning we woke up to blue skies and sun, which is something we haven’t seen in a while. We had a quick breakfast of fruit, eggs, rice, beans and toast. Then we went to Ana’s house which was in a beautiful forest. Ana taught us about holistic and natural medicine and what plants she uses to make them. She grows rosemary, lavender, sage, pepper, and guava. Ana had an art studio where she had all sorts of pottery works, paintings and sculptures that reflected feminism and the moon. We learned that clay and rosemary mixed together can heal inflamed skin and swelling. We walked around Ana’s beautiful property and discussed positivity and the life cycle. We had some delicious bread and helped Ana make corn tortillas for lunch. We all enjoyed a afternoon of shopping in the rainy Monteverde town. We went to store with shirts, socks, gifts and picked up lots of souvenirs. Next door to the souvenir store was a café, and we ordered chocolate churros and crepes. Finally we had dinner and came back to the hotel. We had a great first day in Monteverde and I can’t wait for the rest of the trip.

~ Anika

July 6, 2022

This morning we woke up at 7am, at 7:30 we went to the hotel restaurant and ate pancakes for breakfast. At 8am we went to learn about natural plant medicines, including: flower therapy and how different scents and essences affect your feelings. We spoke about the economy (currency specifically), and played a game where we were assigned jobs and traded fake services, for example: a beekeeper trading honey for sugar from a sugarcane farmer. After we did that, we went across the street and enjoyed a cup of lemongrass tea. 10 or so minutes later, we went back to the house and learned about different flowers, their essences, and properties. Then we went out into the garden and collected flower essences ourselves by spraying water onto the flowers and collecting the water that dripped into a jar. After that, we went back and grabbed new jars that we filled with specific herbs (I chose chamomile), then filled the rest with oil or alcohol. The oil/alcohol draw out the essence of the herbs in about 40 days, then we can use it on our skin to produce the herbs properties. (for example, chamomile has calming effects). Once we completed that, we took spray bottles and filled it with water and alcohol, then we added a few drops of specific essences (i chose lemon, coffee, and mint.). We could either choose essences for calming or focus effects.

After that activity, we left and relaxed for about 45 minutes, then went to an Orchid garden where we learned about the different orchids of Costa Rica and their environment. Finally, we went to town and did a little shopping, then came back and had Sushi for dinner. That’s all we did for today, and have a good night, everyone can’t wait to get home!

~ Seren J.

July 7, 2022

Today we took a beautiful drive from the rain forest to the Costa Rican shoreline. After dropping our stuff off at the hotel, we took a short drive to a gorgeous waterfall.  The waterfall was amazing and it was shaped like a slide. When walking down to the waterfall, there was two pathways: one leading to the actual waterfall and one leading to a stream and another pool from the waterfall. We jumped off a short ledge into the waterfall pool and swam in the stream and pool that was created from the waterfall. After such a fun morning of swimming, we ate delicious lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant. We had really good fajitas, enchiladas, nachos, and more! At 3:30, we headed to the beach, which we were all really excited about. The beach was amazing and the waves were pretty big! We immediately ran into water and started jumping the waves. We even saw a couple stingrays! After such an exhausting day, we relaxed in our rooms before dinner at our hotel. Dinner was hamburgers and they were very good. We then went straight to bed, ready for surf lessons tomorrow.

By Pearl M.

July 8, 2022

Surfs up! Today we woke up with a super delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and pineapple waiting for us near the pool. After eating we headed straight to the beach for surf lessons! We practiced the standing on the board and the movements we would need to know on the sand and then we went in the water. We surfed (when we weren’t falling) for about two hours and then took a break and surfed for another two hours. Once we were done we got some delicious ice cream from a local vendor and went back to the hotel to eat a lunch of pork, rice and beans, and salad. Then we all got ready to head out to a beach shaped like a whale’s tail. When we got there we saw the beautiful sunset and took pictures on the beach.  Then we headed out to go eat dinner and we were welcomed by mango or pineapple smoothies and a great ocean view! Today was super fun and we cant wait for tomorrow.

By Megha

July 9, 2022

Today we woke up near the beach and had a very yummy breakfast of pancakes, eggs, fruit loops, rice, and beans! We then got all our stuff together and packed the bus for our drive back to San Jose. On the bus we listened to music, slept, and played some games. We stopped for lunch and got some candy. We then drove another few hours and finally made it back to La Dehesa. When we got here we went back to Vindi which was one of the highlights of the day to gets snacks and two tres leches cakes! Then, we came back, got our phones, and played some more games. We had some really good tacos for dinner followed by tres leches cake ! We are all getting ready to leave in the next few hours! Everyone seems ready to get home but really sad to leave! We will see y’all soon!

Caroline C.