Abington Takes on the World

Adventures in Costa Rica and Greece

Costa Rica travelers white water rafting

Allison MacLeod, Associate Editor

As part of Abington High School’s Global Education program, juniors and seniors traveled to Costa Rica and Greece over February and April vacations in an effort to become better educated global citizens.

In February, 27 students journeyed to Costa Rica with chaperones Ms. Daisy, Ms. Flaherty, Ms. Casey and Mr. DiRado. Students experienced the beautiful Costa Rican landscape while hiking at Arenal Volcano National Park, kayaking on Lake Arenal and snorkeling at the beach. In search of adventure, they also went white water rafting and ziplining.

What made the trip particularly special, though, was the cultural immersion. “My favorite part was visiting the school!” Jordyn Needle ‘19 said, referring to a visit to a local elementary school. “It really made me appreciate everything I have and see how fortunate we are… They have such a small budget and some of them have to walk miles and miles just to get an education, but they still all have smiles on their faces.”

We fully lived Hispanic culture for a week and learned by doing.

— Fraser Toomey '19

Fraser Toomey ‘19 also loved the immersion because it gave him the opportunity to practice speaking Spanish. “Being able to impress the natives and having them reply to me in Spanish as opposed to switching right to English made me feel very proud of myself and like I was a part of something more important in the world,” Toomey said.

Students also visited an organic farm and a coffee plantation and even learned how to cook some Costa Rican dishes. In their few free moments, they busted out their best dance moves in flash mobs!

Then in April Mr. Holzman, Ms. Louko, Ms. McHugh and Mr. Donohue led 23 students on the Greece trip. On the first full day, they boarded a cruise to three islands: Hydra, Aegina and Poros. Other highlights throughout the week included ancient temples, a competition in the original Olympic stadium and a pottery class where they learned to sculpt ancient Greek clay dolls.

Students fell in love with Greece’s deep history. “My favorite part was visiting the Theatre of Epidaurus,” Abby Maynard ‘19 said. “I loved seeing how theaters looked and worked.”

For Jessica Barry ‘18, the best part was “seeing the Temple of Apollo because it was such a breathtaking view and also informational with the tour guide telling us Greek myths while we climbed.” The temple is the main building in the Delphi World Heritage site, which was formerly a religious sanctuary.

Next year, students will embark on three different trips, the most in the history of the Abington Global Education program: a service trip to the Dominican Republic in February, then a tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland in April, and finally a trip to Japan in June after the school year ends.

The expansion of the program represents the educational impact that these trips have had on students. Toomey praised the Costa Rica trip for being hands-on. “As opposed to reading history after history and seeing museum after museum, we fully lived Hispanic culture for a week and learned by doing,” he said. “Though it was only a week, those of us that went now have such a different understanding and an appreciation for the world around us.”