Students Reflect on Spring Break Costa Rica Trip
Posted on 06/03/2024
Students in Costa Rica

East Hartford High School students are reflecting on their spring break trip to Costa Rica, which they call “unforgettable.” The 15 students along with 3 chaperones spent the week immersing themselves in the culture and beauty of country. It was the first international trip for East Hartford Public Schools since before the pandemic. 

“I never had been to Central America and knowing that I would have the opportunity to explore and see new stuff, I just wanted to come immediately,” said Junior Dantes Rodriguez.

Junior Jaden Enriquez said, “Going to new places I’ve never been to is a dream of mine, to travel the world. So being able to go out of the country and explore with my friends sounded like a good experience and it was a good experience.”

One highlight of the trip was their stay with Costa Rican families who opened their homes to the students. While with the host families, they cooked meals together, spoke mostly in Spanish, and gained a deeper understanding of their way of life.

“When I entered, I was scared that it would seem more intimidating, but almost immediately they took to me like I was one of their own,” explained Rodriguez.

The trip also included exciting activities like white water rafting, ziplining in the jungle, and exploring the city of San Jose. But when asked about their favorite memory of the trip they agreed it was the time spent with the people of Costa Rica and one another.

“Their culture, how they live and how they treat people. They’re really nice over there and how happy they are,” said Junior Marcela Lozada about what she’ll remember most.

“People now adays are stuck to their phones and never interacting with others. Stepping out of our comfort zone and getting away from electronics and stuff and seeing the world from a different person’s perspective, it’s nice,” said Enriquez. “It’s beautiful enjoying the world around you.”

EHHS Teacher, Trip Co-Organizer and Chaperone Amber Dickey began organizing this trip in 2019 for a planned 2021 trip. After the pandemic canceled those plans, Dickey began planning again in 2022 for this year. To help with costs, students participated in fundraisers including cleaning up after games at Rentschler field, selling chocolates and selling Croc JIbbitz during lunch waves.

After the success of this year’s trip, Dickey, along with her co-organizer and chaperone Erin Grant, hope to plan future international opportunities for more East Hartford students to experience.

“It is so important for students to have opportunities and experiences to travel in order to open up their worldview. It helps them to see how other people live and how things work in other countries – from big things like infrastructure, transportation and passport process to smaller things like not flushing toilet paper or having electricity and wifi in the jungle,” said Grant, who teaches at Synergy and EHHS. “It also gave students a chance to bond with new friends that they may never have met had it not been for this trip.”

Four of the students were invited to share a presentation about this trip to the East Hartford Board of Education during its regular meeting on June 3. They said they created bonds that will last a lifetime and future classes should have the same experiences.