Entries in #media #photography #costarica #teaching #travel (4)


Living with CCD

The travel bug causes you to have the urge to travel to different countries and explore things you have not yet discovered. The focus of this article is to bring light to one of the effects of getting bitten by the travel bug. I call it the “Cultural Comparison Disease (CCD)”.

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Saturnino Cedeño Cedeño

As those who are already present on our Teaching Project are aware, we have recently begun working at a new school in Puerto Jimenez: Saturnino Cedeño Cedeño.

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English Workshops 

All Costa Rican schools are currently on their midyear break. Two weeks off is a lot of time outside the classroom! However, Frontier volunteers are keeping the children busy by teaching them English from Monday through Friday at 10am and 2pm.

Many of the kids arrive 20 minutes earlier than the scheduled times and even stay after to revise what they have learned so far. The volunteers, including myself, create a lesson plan for each session in order to make use of the 2-hour sessions.

The workshops are for children ages 7-12 because those are the most important years of a child’s development. However, we do not turn anyone away because of their age, if they are willing to learn then they we are willing to help. Although there are younger children who are not as advanced as the older kids, we try to accommodate everyone’s level of understanding. Usually we separate the younger children who are still learning how to read and write, and we teach them the basics of the English language like the ABC’s.

In just one week, the children have learned how to say and write the alphabet, continents, foods, days of the week, months, and seasons. Throughout these various lessons, we make sure the children are engaged with the class. Saying what they have learned out loud is very important; therefore, we call up children to the front of the class to explain or repeat what is being taught. The children help each other on a regular basis.

Working with the children is extremely fun because they have so much creativity and energy that keep the ambience alive! I asked the children “What words do you know in English?”, and one child answered “The Walking Dead”. That day the children learned the actual meaning of the famous TV-Series in Spanish, which is “El caminar muerto” in other words, ZOMBIES! The children laughed and became more enthusiastic about the lesson being taught! Although we try to keep the environment fun and casual, sometimes we have to be a bit serious because the children can easily get very distracted. However, moments like the one mentioned above bring bright smiles to the children’s faces.

By Estrella Vargas - Media and Journalism Intern

Find out more about the Costa Rica Teaching project.

Check out what volunteers in Costa Rica are up to right now!


Media and Journalism Intern Project 

As a Media and Journalism Intern with Frontier, I have the opportunity to design my own project and focus. At the beginning, I wanted to write about everything, but I learned that doing everything is neither attainable nor healthy. Working with the schools was definitely something I wanted to focus on, so I rode the Collectivo (a bumpy and expensive truck service) from Playa Piro to Puerto Jimenez to commence my unknown project.

As soon as I stepped foot in the school, I quickly noticed the colors green, blue and brown. From the two weeks I have been here, I believe those three colors are representations of Costa Rica. This country is known for its biodiversity, oceans, and agriculture. Even though the presence of these colors in the school may have been a coincidence, I believe they were chosen for a reason.  These colors act as a constant reminder for the children of the natural wealth and beauty of their country.I was introduced to Leah the secretary who is very nice to the children. We spoke about the school for a while, but in realty it was only thirty minutes of dialogue because she kept leaving during our conversation. Although it was hard to stay focused, I managed to get some questions answered. I asked about the curriculum, the children, the country, and her goals for the future in regards to the school.

Initially, my focus was to see if tourism has any effects on the education system here, but the administrator said after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 tourism has not been the same. I felt as if there would not be much to write about on the topic of tourism in relation to the schools here, but I did want to incorporate it somehow in my project. After coming home to the staff house, I generated a list of possible topics of interest, and decided to do a little research on the history of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s education system is very good. The public schools are free, and the government provides the curriculums and pays for the teachers. However, many teachers and parents invest so much money in order to keep the schools running. Toilet paper, school supplies, books, and uniforms have to be paid by parents or teachers. The school I am working with is private, which means the parents have to pay for their children to attend school.

Leah, the secretary of the school, says that the school relies heavily on sponsors or donors in order to buy supplies, pay the teachers, and even have enough funds to finish an academic school year. Besides the fact that the school needs more funding, they do everything in their control to make the children happy and worry free, which is one of the many amazing things this school does for the children.

The children are learning how to teach themselves, and the teachers are mainly there to guide them along the way. This is what makes this school vital for the future of Costa Rica; it is truly focused on the children’s futures. As a media and journalism intern, I will create a documentary showcasing the importance of the school. Alongside this, I will be generating a number of articles that talk about important issues of education.

By Estrella Vargas  - Intern

Find out more about the Costa Rica Teaching project.

Check out what volunteers in Costa Rica are up to right now!