Sara James

International Experience Country:
Costa Rica
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Lincoln University

Heinz Programming Area:
Study Abroad Country: Cohort Year:  Home Institution:  Programming Area: 
International Experience Summary:

Sara spent five weeks in San Jose, Costa Rica. In San Jose, Costa Rica, Sara Studied the fundamental functions of the Costa Rican health care system within the context of the Costa Rican socio-political economic situation. Coupled with a rigorous Spanish course for health professionals, Sara developed an understanding of the complex relationship between health care and politics. While studying at Universidad Veritas, she assisted in the planning of a student ran health fair for local Costa Ricans to learn understand their current health status or how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As a volunteer, she took patients’ vitals such as height and weight. During her free time, she explored the city and surrounding provinces; frequenting the artisan market, visiting local museums, traveling to the regional volcanoes, and going on excursions that highlighted Costa Rica’s vast rainforest. Sara used this opportunity to face her fear of heights and drowning by going swimming in the Pacific Ocean and zip-lining over a waterfall. As her journey came to an end she had to say goodbye to her new friends, a host family she would miss deeply and a country she fell in love with. As a new member of the world travelers club, Sara has developed an affinity for   learning about different cultures and has learned to a find a home outside of her own. She’s excited to share her travels with her friends and family in America and introduce her peers to the Pura Vida lifestyle, as it has left a huge imprint on her life.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Thinking Outside Your Comfort Zone

Our CEE was about breaking the American Barrier of remaining content and adapting to new social cues as we age. We each presented PowerPoints on our experiences our seas and provide background on the country we visited to provide our peers with a complete understanding of the country. Each of us tackled issues we faced that impacted our personal growth in a profound way. We touched on topics like racism, colorism, homophobia, and sexism which we witnessed and experienced while abroad. We broke down each experience into three parts; our initial reaction, our actual reaction, and what the experience taught us. Each presentation gave time for questions about our experiences, our reactions, and our personal growth. We then tasked our peers to put themselves in our shoes and imagine if they could react like us or would their reaction remain the same as it would if the experience happened in the United States. It was our mission to help our peers understanding that personal growth is not limited to trips abroad, but it is a simple as acting on the want to improve yourself. We urged everyone in the room to review their interactions with others and rethink how they response to things that could be offense and take those moments as potential lessons instead on confrontations. The take way was thinking outside of one’s comfort zone can be applied to all life experiences. It does not matter what one goes through in life, the traditional approach my not always be the best choice. Ultimately, we learned personal growth and wanted to help our peers learn it by way of our experiences.