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Sofia Reflects on her Costa Rica: Sea Turtle Expedition Trip

​After going to Costa Rica with Global Works, my curiosity for global travel and service has spiked. My trip only lasted a week but the memories I’ve made seem like they were from a lifetime. A year ago I never would’ve expected that I’d have the opportunity to completely immerse myself into the culture and environment of a whole new country. For me, The Costa Rica Sea Turtle Expedition was split into 3 main parts. First it was the day and a half we spent in San Jose. Then it was the 2 days spent on the river, rafting. Then it was our remaining days in Parismina.
In San Jose, my biggest memory was rolling mozzarella at a cheese factory. It was at a small ranch that grew all kinds of foods. I tried some that I can’t even remember the names of. We held chickens and all laughed at how funny they looked. The next day, we woke up early and drove for hours to a river. It was in the middle of the jungle. Trees the sizes of city buildings towered above us. Colorful butterflies flew over our heads. The sounds of insects and birds buzzed around us. We rafted that day for a few hours. Then we arrived to a pull off. We hiked winding stairs to bungalows scattered in a jungle clearing. It was the greenest place I’ve ever seen. Dart frogs hopped through the plants at our feet. We slept there for a night and then continued our rafting the next day. A memory that stands out the most to me during this trip is arriving to a small canyon surrounding the river near the end of our day. The water was calm. We all jumped out from the boat and floated through the canyon. The water reflected the warm sun and the red-orange walls of the canyons. We splashed and took goofy underwater pictures of each other. Then we’d take a moment and look around us. It was a moment where I truly felt like I was in Costa Rica. It’s nearly impossible to explain.
After our rafting trip we drove to a small village of 500 people called Parismina. This is where we completed our service. At night we’d walk along the black sand beaches looking for turtles. You could see the milky way sitting in the sky during the night. When being introduced to ASTOP, the sea turtle conservation program, we all had the opportunity to hold a baby turtle. It was surreal. It was something I’d never expect to do. I was filled to the brim with uncontainable happiness.
These experiences were amazing and life changing. I come home and look at life differently now. I’m so much more open-minded and understanding of the things happening around me. And my trip wouldn’t be what it was without the people there. I created unbreakable bonds with friends on the trip. We still stay in touch. It’s a sense of family and belonging that I’ve never felt before. I strive to go back to Costa Rica and experience it all again. And even better, I’d like to do it with my friends. I’m so lucky and so glad that I got to go on this trip with Global Works. I can easily say it was the greatest experience of my life. It holds a special place in my heart.