Costa Rica Day 9

Yesterday the group had to say goodbye to their individual host families. They came back together for a long yet exciting day. The kids got a break from the more serious talks about the pillars of GYLI and had some fun white water rafting!

After the day of rafting, you would think the kids were ready to sleep after dinner. But the day was not over for them. EARTH University put on a Cultural Celebration dinner for the GYLI group. They were served a typical sustainable dinner from the University, which was followed by the celebration filled with dancing. The students at EARTH University are not all from Costa Rica, and rather come from all over Latin America and Africa. The different students involved performed different dances from their respective countries while also wearing their traditional dress for the performances. After, the GYLI group joined in the dancing and learned some of the different dances. We hear there was even some rapping from some of the chaperones.



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Days 5-8 Homestay

Since 2005 GYLI has partnered with EARTH University and the La Argentina Community near EARTH to provide a 4 day homestay experience.  This is always one of the students’ and adults’ highlight of the Costa Rica experience. To be welcomed into someone’s home and to learn from them over a few days is a very humbling and human experience.  Our students get to see first hand how the students at EARTH apply their classroom learning in the field.  Those that speak Spanish get to practice speaking, listening and translating skills.  Everyone else gets the chance to slow down, connect with nature and their GYLI friends, and learn about sustainable living on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.  You can see from these photos below, how much the families look forward to the GYLI groups coming in the summer. 

Here are shots of our 2017 groups arriving at their homestay locations.

Costa Rica Day 2-4

Our Costa Rica group is enjoying their stay thus far while also learning a lot about environmental sustainability and the Costa Rican culture.

Day 3, their first day at EARTH University began with a tour of their large campus and some intro to the community. They also began to work on their knowledge of multicultural identity with some discussion at the University.

They love the beauty of EARTH University and all the students and campus has to offer them. Yesterday they have learned about the banana plantation on the campus and took a hike through the rainforest where they saw the various wildlife species in action. The University students sustain their campus with the food produced from their own urban farms, so they taught our group about their practices yesterday as well.

They will be working with Waste Management soon so we will continue to update the blog on their progress!  Today the students also go into the La Argentina Community for the homestay part of the program.  This is a great opportunity to learn first-hand about how all the ideas at EARTH are implemented on small-scale farms.

Below is the URL to our GYLI picture sharing page Smugmug  with the videos and pictures from some of our chaperones. The first two photos are actually videos that you can click on to hear students reflect on the experience so far.

GYLI Smugmug page

Paz y pura vida!

Day 1 in Costa Rica!

Hola a todos!

The group is together at United World College in San Jose and they are leading off the trip not just with some ice breakers and games to get to know the group, but also some stretching.

They are very excited to begin an amazing journey in such a beautiful place. Here are some pictures of the UWC campus, where the group is staying for the remainder of today until they leave for EARTH University tomorrow.

Thanks for reading and Pura Vida!

Year 3 2017 Blog: Welcome Post

We are very excited to start our year 3 program in Costa Rica this month, July 10-20! Keep watching this page for daily blog updates from the students and teachers.

Below is a sneak peek of what the group will enjoy on their journey!

Day 1 – Arrive at San Jose, Costa Rica, bus to United World College, welcome and intros

Day 2 – Team building, intro to collaborative leadership, student-led workshops

Day 3 – Travel to EARTH University, tour of campus, intro to multicultural identity

Day 4 – Rainforest hike, Urban Farm and Integrated Farm visits

Day 5 – Waste Management workshop: “turning waste in to profit”

Day 6-8 Homestays with families

Day 9 – Return to EARTH, Cultural Celebration Dinner

Day 10 – Bus to UWC campus, market visit, student let activities, LLP presentations, closing

Day 11 – Depart from San Jose Airport

From EARTH University to UWC

Buenos dias!

Today, we travel from EARTH University back to United World College for our final full day. We have had an amazing time! Students returned from homestays with so many exciting stories and new Spanish skills. We went white water rafting and enjoyed a multicultural celebration last night. It was a busy but exciting day. Please check out the pictures below. Thank you for following the blog this year and hasta luego!

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Homestays Continue!

Students are enjoying their homestay experiences and have almost completed their short time in the nearby community. They will be returning to the EARTH University campus tomorrow after white water rafting in the morning. We are looking forward to hearing their great stories and enjoying our last few days here!

EARTH UniversityManantiales

Argentina y Laureles

Homestays have begun!

Students were placed in their homestays yesterday and will be staying until Wednesday. They were all smiles as they greeted their host families and received a tour of the local farms. Some projects that the students are engaged in include gardening, milking cows, painting garden signs, playing soccer with friends and family, and generally participating in any daily farm activities. They are having a great time and we put a few pictures below. We will be posting a few more pictures of their adventures over the course of the next few days! Hasta luego!

Bella Vista Laureles


Day 4 Costa Rica!

Bugs and Bananas! Walking through the rain-forest getting bitten, seeing wildlife, and meeting new people.  Today we visited a banana facility that supplies organic bananas to Whole Foods grocery stores in the US. Seeing the banana packing facility and learning the process was interesting but it is obviously hard work!  This experience made us feel very lucky for the situations we are in at home but also left us wanting to know more about agriculture. Next we went into the Rain Forest and saw the most amazing bugs, snakes, and best of all a monkey!

We also went to a dairy farm. We saw pigs and cows and got to learn the process of creating sustainable fuel. We also learned the process of milking cows. I got a bug in my hair!


Written by…North Watch!

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Day 3 in Costa Rica

Hey guys! West Watch here.

This morning, some of us woke up very early to go play futbol. At around 8 in the morning, we all met in the cafeteria to have some breakfast which included pancakes, rice, salsa, fruit, and eggs. After breakfast, we packed our bags, and prepared to leave for EARTH University. We drove to EARTH University by bus. While driving, we crossed the Continental Divide, we went from the Pacific Coast to the Caribbean Coast, and even went under the only tunnel in Costa Rica. After arriving, our first activity was viewing a ten minute video about EARTH and its students. After that, we ate lunch on campus. For lunch, we had rice and beans, choice of chicken or fish, yucca, and a salad grown right here on campus! Following lunch, we took a tour around campus. We saw many different plants, bugs, and coconuts. After our tour, we met with our school groups to discuss our Leader Learning Plans (LLP’s). This activity was followed by an in-depth discussion about the 5 C’s with our watch groups. After this, we ate dinner and had a little bit of down time. Our last activity for the night was talking with four students who attend EARTH University. To close out the night, we made a circle and discussed our individual ‘glums and glows’ for the day. After a long day, we’re all looking forward to a good night’s rest. Hasta manana!



~West Watch (Maya, Eli, Ashley, Walter, Quashiana, Carlos)