Costa Ricans On Campus

Here at Western Reserve Academy, we celebrate our differences and diversity among the student body and faculty, and opportunities to learn more about cultures that are not our own flood our halls in service projects and exchange programs. This year, we proudly showcased several girls from Costa Rica, and one small boy named Fernando who joyously flicked pokemon cards at me once while in the Hobart common room. Sharing our experiences and battling the language barrier earned us all a fulfilling two weeks full of the clashing of two worlds.

Ellsworth second floor, the dorm I’m lucky enough to reside in, hosted the girls in dorm rooms either uninhabited or inhabited by a single organism who volunteered to share. During their two week stay, Isabel, the math wiz, and Priscilla, who knew more about Shakespearean literature than I did (which is simply not fair), shadowed me throughout my classes. Isabel may have been a sophomore, but she easily could have taken Math 42 of higher, if her hand permanently waving in the the air had any link to her incredible intellect. Yet in my Chemistry class, neither Gabriella nor Isabel had begun to learn about covalent bonds or isotopes. Their curriculum was vastly different from ours, particularly in the sports department.

Yes, Reserve might be chronically insane in regards to how competitive we are with our sports teams, but I was shocked to learn how little interest Costa Rican schools had in rugby or track. The girls and Fernando woke up at six in the morning, every morning, for school, which they thought was perfectly normal. But the idea that we had practice at four in the afternoon, every afternoon, was practically unthinkable. With my horrendous Spanish II vocabulary, and their refined English, I learned all about the strangeness of our school through their eyes. The food was obviously differed, but surprisingly mealtimes differed as well. The familiarity we held between our teachers was bemusing, and quite confusing to Pricilla, when I refered to my English teacher as Jevs. Kahoot practically gave Gabriella a heart attack, when Nathan Clysta screamed, “Lo tengo” and chucked a pencil at the wall.

Overall, the fondness with which we regarded our guests lives on in the Snapchat stories and Instagram follow requests that many students here at our beloved school made sure to cash in on. We will forever remember Fernando’s pokemon cards and Priscilla’s perfect recitation of  Viola’s monologue from Twelfth Night.

-Harley Fisher ’19

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