This past Friday the ICDS program staff orchestrated a trip for us to visit one of Costa Rica’s eight indigenous communities. We were greeted by Don Juan, one of the guides and distinguished seniors of the community. He told us the history of the Huetar people and how productive and self-sufficient their society was before contact with the Spaniards. The Huetar are very well versed in plants and incorporate them into their diets and medicines thoroughly. They also have “inverted” family dynamics in which the fathers are meant to focus more on their daughters and the mothers focus more on their sons.
We were walked through different practices and customs, such as a bow-and-arrow demonstration made of bamboo and tree bark; the weaving of baskets from plant straw; hand-making tortillas using just corn; and we got to press sugarcane with a traditional wooden machine! We also got to make our own clay figures.
It was nice going on a trip with all the students on the program since we spend so much time apart between our class schedules and sub-program specific activities. I got to catch up with some students I haven’t seen in a while, and it’s always interesting to hear the differences in how we’ve been experiencing Costa Rica. One of the students (Omar) told me he regrets not going out of his way more to make Costa Rican (or “Tico/Tica”) friends and that he wanted to get a more diverse experience, so I told him I could introduce him to some of my friends and that he could spend time with us!
The past few days I’ve spent time with some different friends groups I’ve managed to put together. Back home in Philadelphia I’m much more introverted, so I’ve surprised myself with this social butterfly personality that’s been showing itself. I introduced some of my friends to one another and they got along instantly, and another time I was able to introduce Omar to some Ticos and he was happy to be able to practice his Spanish and socialize with different kinds of people. It made me happy to know that with the initiatives I’ve taken to improve and maximize my experience, I’ve been able to uplift other people’s experience as well. 🙂
A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:
The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.