Each year for the past 5 years, the GCS music faculty has worked together to present a “Benefit Recital” for the public and our students. The funds generated from this recital go directly to student scholarships. This year the recital will be on Sunday afternoon, January 31st at 2:00 p.m. in the GHS Auditorium.
We cordially invite you to attend, and enjoy some incredible music presented by the GCS Music Faculty. You will hear string selections, an incredible jazz combo, instrumental and vocal solos; even a barbershop quartet!
Tickets will be sold at the door and are $4 for students and $6 for adults.
The Music Faculty includes: Deanna Board, Zac Coudret, Tom Cox, Caroline Garber, Josh Hren, Josh Kaufman, Max Mault, Sean Patrick, Jason Pfeifer, Rocco Duranti, Stephen Snyder, Monica Stutzman, Marcia Yost, and GHS Private Teachers.
Sorry for the lack of updates, we’ve had some internet trouble.
Every Wednesday students have time in the mornings to journal about their experience in a new culture. I have included some of Luke’s journal entry from this week.
“This trip has been really fun trying new things. So many things that I don’t really want to do but I end up liking them. Like the canopy tour, that was tons of fun. All the food has been great and I haven’t regretted trying any of it. Being uncomfortable meeting new families and trying to get to know them has been a great experience. This whole trip is definitely something that has made me mature more.”
Today is also Maddie’s 17th birthday so we celebrated with some great cake!
After classes this morning we made our way down to Tamarindo beach, one of the best in Costa Rica for surfing. Hans, Josh, and Rachel were the brave ones to try out the surfing. We had a great time riding waves, looking for crabs (mainly Luke) and relaxing in good conversation with our new guide, Lamar.
Flamingo is beautiful, yet very hot. Students arrived to campus today for their morning classes and to meet their new professors. The Flamingo campus is very nice as well and luckily the classrooms are air conditioned. After classes we went to eat lunch and then straight to Flamingo beach. It was a gorgeous day today and we were able to catch some good waves before heading home to spend the evening with families.
Sadly, today we left Monteverde. We took off this morning to Arenal for the weekend to relax and take a break from classes. We stopped for lunch before getting to Arenal. We took a nature hike and saw some interesting things on the trails. Once getting into our rooms at hotel, we looked behind us to see the beautiful Arenal volcano. It is a spectacular view. Everyone was eager to see the hot springs and so before dinner we tried out their pools, each pool having a different temperature. After dinner it was back to the pools to relax.
The next day we woke up to see Arenal with no clouds. The morning was spent relaxing by the pool and in our ooms until we left before lunch. It was quite a drive to Flamingo from there, though the scenery was great. We spotted some monkeys and birds along the way. New host families were waiting when we got to Flamingo and so students went straight their homes to eat and spend the evening with them. The beaches are incredible here but it is really hot.
Today is canopy day!! Students have been super excited (and a little nervous and scared) to go zip-lining! We meet up with our group at our usual meeting spot early this morning. We got to Extremo Canopy and started putting on our gear. Some students decided to take the final zip-line “Superman” style, so we had to put on some extra equipment. After a short demonstration, we made our way up the first ladder. Hans and Luke were the first to try out the lines. With smiles and hearts pounding, we flew amongst the trees with amazing views all around. For some of the lines we got to pair up to go a bit faster. In the middle of the lines we got to do what’s called the “Tarzan Swing”, where you hook on to a couple ropes and fly from a platform like Tarzan. The first drop is quite scary, but students loved it. After a couple more lines we made our way up to the last line, which is 1 km long! This is the one some of us decided to do “Superman” style. It took a little more time to hook us in, but being able to spread your arms and fly in the clouds looking over the cloud forest was absolutely surreal. Enjoy the pictures.
This morning our group did some volunteering at a nearby farm. Our guide told us all about the farm and their many uses of the land. We then bagged up some fertilizer and went out the coffee fields to level some ground for the coffee plants. It was a pretty good workout. We then got to see many of the different animals. Students haven’t been able to touch the dogs in the streets, and so they loved feeding the goats and pigs. After a quick coffee break, everyone grabbed a small tree and we walked out to plant them in a different field. While planting the trees, we caught eye of this amazing tree great for climbing. We had to take a couple pictures before heading back to the bus.
Every Wednesday students have time in the mornings to journal about their experience in a new culture. I have included some of Maddie and Juliana’s journal entries from this week.
Maddie – “Class was long today, but helpful. It was good review and I feel like class is helping me a lot with conversational Spanish, while also reviewing difficult aspects of grammar. This evening, my family took us all to my grandma’s house to celebrate father’s day because they didn’t get a chance to on Sunday. It was an interesting experience! I met sooooooo many people, ate chicharones, and was able to keep up a decent conversation with my grandma tica. It was a great feeling, being surrounded by so many people who love each other. The kids running around playing with each other and the adults laughing and talking in the kitchen reminded me of my family, and what our family gathering are like back home. “
Juliana – “I’m so glad to have a host sister my age. I always observe what she does and her lifestyle. It’s also great to share with each other stories dealing with our personal lives and our cultures. It gives me an opportunity to compare and contrast our lives. We both love learning new things and dogs. She is very creative and loves painting my nails. My sister walks to school while I drive to school. I know for a fact I will really miss my family in Monteverde, but I will definitely keep in touch with them. I’m so glad we are given the opportunity to live with host families and to visit Costa Rica because the memories I am making with my family and my roup are memories I will never forget.”
Today we woke up super early to go visit a Cloud Forest by Santa Elena. These rare forests are in tropical mountainous environments and usually have a pretty consistent cover of clouds. Students learned about the different trees and wildlife in the forest. Some of us were lucky to briefly catch a view of one of Costa Rica’s most popular birds, the Quetzal.
Monteverde is a very beautiful place. It’s filled with cloud forests, birds and monkeys in the trees, hilly roads and coffee plantations, and friendly locals. Students met at our new meeting point near Santa Elena to go for a scavenger hunt of the area. Students had to take pictures of all sorts of things…picture of you dancing with a local, picture of a fruit in season, picture of an animal, picture of the local soccer team, etc. Winners were Juliana, Josh, and Rachel who completed all tasks and were rewarded with some delicious ice cream.
We made our way back to CPI for our second Latin cooking class. This one was a lot more hands on for the students as you can see in the pictures. Students then went to their Spanish classes to meet their new professors.
Today was a day of travel. Students said goodbye to their host-families in Heredia as we packed up the bus to go to Monteverde. The ride got a bit bumpy as we made our way up, but the views were incredible. Soon, we were in the clouds and drove right to the CPI campus in Monteverde. We had little time today to explore the campus since their new host families were coming by to pick them up.
Today is also Father’s day so as students celebrate with their host-fathers here, they wanted to wish their dads back home a Happy Father’s Day!
Today I took our group into San Jose to explore the city a bit more. We rode the public bus from our home in San Joaquin into the city. We first went to a souvenir market we had seen before when we visited the National Museum. We then walked down Avenida Central to “Mercado Central”, or the central market. Students had lunch beside locals while listening to the many sounds of the main market in San Jose. We then made a long walk down Paseo Colon to the famous “La Sabana” park. On our way we stopped for some wonderful ice cream. We sat in the park playing cards, throwing the frisbee, and watching the horses around us.
This morning students got a chance to learn some basic steps of popular dances in Costa Rica. This included Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, and Cumbia. In our free time I have been teaching them what’s called “La Rueda Cubana” which is a Salsa but danced with partners in a circle. Students have really enjoyed that and so learning some other latin dances was great. After that we made our way over to the patio area where we had a cooking class to make “Arroz con pollo”, or chicken and rice. It was delicious!!
Students have very much enjoyed the CPI campus in Heredia. Between classes and other activities, they’ve enjoyed the patio area where they can sip coffee and work on journals/homework. Often on break many find their way to the ping pong table. Students have enjoyed their classes as well, though they aren’t thrilled with having homework. Here are some pictures from around the CPI campus.
In the morning students’ families helped them walk to our meeting point in San Joaquin de Flores. We boarded a public bus to downtown Heredia for a walking tour of the city. Our tour guide, Javier, showed us some of the important landmarks and talked about the history of the region. Students were given free time to explore the streets and then meet up for lunch in the central market.
Once back at CPI, students entered their Spanish classes. Students have classes from 1-5pm with a break in the middle for coffee along with bread and fresh pineapple and watermelon. After classes, students made their own way home to their houses to eat dinner with their families.
Our adventures began very early this morning. Ms. Kari Wildman drove us to Chicago at 3am from Goshen. Our flight to Costa Rica made a stop in Miami where students got a chance to eat their last American food for awhile.
We had a little delay leaving Miami due to weather, but arrived around 3:30pm Costa Rica time this afternoon. After going through immigration and customs we met our group coordinator, Mikel. She took us into Heredia where we will be staying for the first couple days. After settling in a bit students got to try some fresh fruit and juices. We got to know Mikel a bit more and then went to eat dinner at a local place with a typical “casado”. After a long day of traveling, students were ready to crash.