In a week’s time, I’ll be arriving with a team of 24 students and 2 staff members in San José, Costa Rica for our annual Calgary Serves International program. Each year, this program brings something new. Last year we worked on a basketball court for the Montero y Palito school. This year we’ll work on various projects at both the school and La Posada Rural La Amistad, a tranquil ecotourism cooperative run by a group of women on Chira Island. Although the experience is rich in many ways, what I look forward to the most is staying with my host family. Our program is a collaboration between the Centre for Community-Engaged Learning, Volunteer Services (the Students’ Union), Canada World Youth and VIDA Asociación Ambiental.
Although I work with my colleague, Nikhat, to prepare this learning experience for our students, the Calgary Serves International program is always a rich cultural experience for me as well. I look forward to learning more about community development and specifically about community-based rural tourism, and to visiting with local women who will share their experiences with our students.
I’m also hoping that my host ‘brother’ and his cousins will be up for some Ultimate Frisbee!
Throughout our trip, a number of our student team members will update the Calgary Serves blog (dependent of course on our access to internet!). We’ll try to post photos regularly, and share a slideshow of the trip’s photos when we return in the middle of May.