23 City High students will embark on an immersive journey to Costa Rica (Nina Lavezzo-Stecopoulos)
23 City High students will embark on an immersive journey to Costa Rica

Nina Lavezzo-Stecopoulos

The Second Option

The Spanish program is offering a field trip to Costa Rica, as well as its traditional Spain trip, for the first time this year.

February 20, 2019

For the first time, City High Spanish students will be traveling to Costa Rica during spring break of 2019. Spain has been the only option for Spanish students to use their skills abroad up until the 2018/2019 school year. Jordan Garrett and Dolores Silva, two Spanish teachers at City, have wanted to offer the trip for quite some time.

“[Costa Rica is] more affordable and more accessible to students that don’t necessarily have the means [to go to Spain],” Silva said.

The two prices differ by $1,000. City High is the only school in the Iowa City Community School District that has scholarships available to students, offering this immersive opportunity to more of the student population. Along with having a more affordable price, the trip consists of a different focus than that in Spain.

“There’s a lot more diversity,” Silva said. “I guess I tend to think history versus culture in some regards to the way the trips are formed, but there’s a lot of things that get missed in Latin America. There are also different things that come with the history that’s not really studied in Spain, which is our indigenous history.”

This drew students to the new option. Grace Parrott ‘2o had been planning on going to Spain for years, but after looking at the benefits and opportunities in Costa Rica, she changed her mind.

” I’ve been looking forward to [Spain] for like four years now,” Parrott said. “In Costa Rica, the culture would be more diverse and visible. It seemed like a better cultural experience than Spain would’ve ever been.”

23 City High students are attending Costa Rica. Despite adjusting to Interact, a new program, facilitating and organizing the trip, Silva and Garrett find the trip’s planning to have been successful.

“The process has been a little bit different for us then what we’ve experienced in the past, so that was a little uncomfortable,” Silva said. “Now that we understand how [Interact] is working towards the goal of getting us there, it makes a little bit more sense to us. It’s like anything when you’re learning something new; it seems a little uncomfortable at first, and then once you get it down it’s no big deal.”

One of the reasons the district chose Interact as the program for this trip abroad was because it included volunteering opportunities for the students, another difference between Costa Rica and Spain. Students will have two options for volunteering: aiding a local orphanage or visiting a school with lower economic status. City High will also be giving a gift to the children at the orphanage, donating $15 from each student. Not only does this unique opportunity differentiate the two trips, but the difference in nature and sightseeing also appeals to students.

“I decided to go to Costa Rica mostly because I’m more interested in the nature aspect of it, rather than the history,” Charlie Maxwell ‘19 said. “The Spain trip would be more about historical monuments, which should be very fascinating and beautiful, but I think I’m more interested in the nature aspect.”

Both Garrett and Silva have been talking about the trip for years, having either lived or studied in Costa Rica. City High, Liberty, and West are all going on the trip from March 15 to March 25.

“I think what I enjoy the most is watching the students get immersed,” Silva said. “[They] realize how much they actually have under their belts, and are able to really see a lot of what they learned to go in so many directions. It’s the beginning of something bigger.”

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