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MHS High School Students Gain Worldly Experience in Costa Rica

On Saturday, April 27, a group of 24 Milton Hershey School students returned from a week-long language immersion tour through Costa Rica. The tour is part of the school’s Multicultural and Global Education program.

“The benefit of a language immersion trip is that students get pushed out of their comfort zones and are placed into a completely different environment,” said Veronica Kemmlein-Colon, an MHS fifth-grade teacher who led students and chaperones on the tour. “In these new surroundings, they are forced to practice the language and experience a different culture.”

The tour, organized by Education First, combined interactive language lessons with meaningful cultural experiences. Students were able to practice their Spanish, learn how to cook traditional meals, interacted with locals, and had fun enjoying the Costa Rican landscape.

“For me, the best part of the trip was seeing our students learn Spanish firsthand, while embracing a different culture, meeting new people, and exploring the environment in Costa Rica,” said Kemmlein-Colon.

Each day of the tour focused on a different aspect of Costa Rican life. Students and chaperones traveled to Guanacaste to learn about entrepreneurial spirit; the Arenal region to study animals, plants, and fungi; the Sarapiqui region to experience living by a Pura Vida (“pure life”) philosophy; and finally, San José to learn the history of the country and visit a pineapple plantation.

“My most memorable moment was going to visit an elementary school in Sarapiqui,” said Kemmlein-Colon. “I was so impressed with our students and how they interacted with the elementary students. Not only did they communicate in Spanish, but they learned that soccer is also a global language—playing against the elementary students.”

MHS students play soccer with Costa Rican elementary school students

Immersion tours are just one of three types of international trips through the Multicultural and Global Education program at MHS. Additional trips throughout the school year include academic tours and global summits. International travel is part of the school’s commitment to provide students with opportunities to gain worldly experiences that help them better understand themselves, different cultures, and the systems in which they live.

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