Our Travel Study Program embraces the idea that young people learn best when they are fully involved in an experience. We work to cultivate:
- a joyous existence in which one feels a zest for life
- a way of living that maximizes potential
- a purposeful direction that gives meaning to life
- an ability to adapt to the challenges of a changing environment.
Since the first Northwoods group traveled to Costa Rica in 1989, this experience has come to define our travel studies curriculum. In some ways, little has changed. La Tigra still serves as our base, and our relationship with that community still provides the greatest value to the visiting students and then, so much has changed.
We have our beautiful tropical hardwood lodge and cozy cabins, flanked by the Children’s Eternal Rainforest Reserve. The fleet of vehicles put either the Pacific or Caribbean coasts within a half day drive, compared to the two day, four bus and a ferry, expedition it once was.
Our groups typically travel down for a three month stay, as opposed to the original six week trips. We now own 100 acres, 30 of which is primary rainforest, including 10 acres on the Tenorio River in Guanacaste, and 90 acres bordering the La Tigra River in San Carlos. Both of these properties are multi-use, with sizeable portions set aside for conservation, arable sections suitable for food production and reforestation, and a couple of building sites for future development. We have always been a hands on kind of place, and these properties open up unlimited opportunities to continue that direction.
There is quite a geographical and cultural contrast between rural Costa Rica, where we operate in Idaho, and where our students are from. Our purpose in Costa Rica is to get the kids out and involved in this new community, gain at least a basic knowledge of the language, and develop relationships with our neighbors there. Those that live with Host Families often form bonds that last for years. When I talk to a former student years down the road, they invariably ask about their friends in Costa Rica. I also have families there telling me about a recent call they received from a former student.
We encourage our client families to visit Costa Rica during their sons stay. Our students have the opportunity to plan and guide their families adventure, and the families have an opportunity to experience a part of Costa Rica rarely experienced by a typical tourist. Often times, this is the first overwhelmingly positive experience our families have had together in several years.
I often reflect back on how much my world view expanded when I first traveled abroad almost 30 years ago. I believe that Northwoods Travel Studies is providing that same opportunity to our students, allowing them to develop a more accurate view of where they stand in the world.
– David Yeats, Founder