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Jasmine Reflects on her Costa Rica Pre-Med & Public Health Trip

Spending two and a half weeks in Costa Rica with Global Works was one of the best things I have done in my life. Although there were many things I gained from this trip, I narrowed it down to 4 words: Independence, confidence, communication, and community. I gained a new sense of independence on this trip, which will help me when I move out and go to college. Working in Veracruz for the community taught me and the people I was on the trip with how to really put ourselves into our work, and to help without being asked. We were able to work through different problems that came up while doing our service work, and gained independence from the experience.

In a country that only speaks Spanish, many of us struggled to communicate at first. Hearing the language all the time and staying with our host families (who only spoke Spanish) definitely improved communication. While visiting the clinics, we had to communicate with the doctors and the patients. This helped even the people who spoke no Spanish to learn a little. We also visited an herbalist, and she spoke a small amount of English. Understanding was easier than speaking for her, and a lot of the students on the trip felt the same way about Spanish.

The sense of community is huge in Costa Rica. Families live together, and every neighbor is like another family member. Everyone looks out for each other, and isn’t afraid to help. We all felt this energy, and it helped bring us together. Throughout the trip, all of the participants got closer to one another. We gained friendships and bonds that are closer than some of the friends I have back home.  I absolutely loved this trip, and wish it was longer than three weeks. We all enjoyed the food, zipeline, Zumba, rain, music, sports, forests, animals, bonding with each other and others, and so much more.  Thank you, Global Works, for giving me this amazing opportunity!

By Jasmine Schwaller, Costa Rica Intro to Pre-Med and Public Health (Session 2), 2018