Want to See the World? Come to Babson!
Not only does 24% of Babson’s student population consist of international students from more than 65 different countries, but Babson students can also partake in 65 different study abroad programs in 30 different countries. When you combine these statistics with the fact that Babson students can also choose from 8 different international short courses it’s easy to see why Babson provides its students with global perspectives on culture, economies, and food. I was lucky enough to participate in Babson’s Ecotourism, Biodiversity, and Conservation Policy in Costa Rica course over winter break. Here are some of the highlights from our trip!
Day 1: Parque Del Lago
Our group flew out from Logan Airport on January 2nd and after a layover in Miami arrived in San Jose at around 10 PM. We spent the night and the following day in San Jose where we were able to learn about Costa Rica’s Certification for Sustainable Tourism. It was really interesting to see the grading methods that were used to differentiate the different levels of certification. We were also able to go to a local artisan’s market where artists sold their wares, after the trip to the market we spent some time at the Museo Del Oro where we learned about the indigenous people of Costa Rica, the Ticos.
Day 3: UGA San Luis Ecolodge
We took a 4 hour bus ride from San Jose to the University of Georgia’s San Luis Ecolodge which was absolutely gorgeous. During our tour of the campus it was shocking to find out that the lodge only got a 2 leaf rating on the CST’s 5 point scale as opposed to the Parque Del Lago Hotel’s 3 leaf rating. This led us to wonder just how strictly the grading criteria was followed because the Ecolodge sourced all of its food and nearly all of it’s labor locally as well as raising it’s own pigs, growing many of it’s own vegetables and having a great recycling system. The hotel on the other hand seemed to have more greenwashing than it did actual sustainable practices. It was great to see that we had learned enough in our first few days on the trip to start understanding what the differences between ecotourism and tourism really were.
Day 5: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve/Waterfall Hike
Our fifth day in Costa Rica was packed with activities, we left early in the morning to travel to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve where our guide Adrian showed us everything from Resplendent Quetzals to Walking Sticks and gave us a great lesson on the different types of hummingbirds found in Costa Rica.
After spending our morning in the Cloud Forest we traveled back to the Ecolodge, where we were greeted by Jen, one of the resident naturalists, who took us on a hike to see a nearby waterfall. After about an hour of hiking we made it up to the waterfall. It was absolutely amazing, and because I figured I probably wouldn’t get another chance at swimming in the pool of a waterfall again I took a dip! It was cold, but it was really refreshing.
Day 8: Dance Lessons
After giving our final presentations we spent the day exploring the campus and the nearby town. After dinner we were lucky enough to get a chance to take part in a fiesta with members of the staff. There was a live band, and we were able to learn some local dances. It was an amazing night!