by: Chrissy Brown
This past week instead of going to Panama City Beach or Destin, I boarded a plane to San Jose, Costa Rica with three athletic training students and four social work majors to study abroad. Our team was led by Troy department chairs Dr. Denise Green, Dr. Amanda Benson and Dr. Anthony Dixon. We were also joined by a sports management major from Virginia who studies with eTroy and a social work major from Troy’s Dothan campus.
By far, this has been the greatest experience of my Troy University tenure. I am so honored to have participated in this program.
The focus of this trip varied by major. The athletic training majors and sports management major worked at the Central American Games, while the social work majors and I visited local group homes.
I cannot speak for anyone else who went on this trip with me, but this trip truly did change me and made me realize that it does take a special kind of person to take on the responsibility that comes with my major and other “helping professions.”
We visited two different group homes. One was for children who were 12 and under and the other was for boys 12 and over.
While seeing these children was heartbreaking, it was also eye-opening. Even though there was a language barrier between the children and us, we managed to form a bond with these children very quickly. It was hard not to fall in love with each of them.
This may sound like it would be a sad trip, but it was actually very good for me. When I got out of the classroom, I saw what exactly I am being taught to deal with here at Troy. All of the things that I have been taught in those seemingly-endless classes was put to use.
I know now that I am well-prepared for my future. Without this hands-on experience of working with kids and other people in helping professions, my confidence in my abilities as a rehabilitation professional would not be as high.
This trip also benefited immensely by throwing me into a culture that I was completely unfamiliar with and forcing me to adjust.
Instead of staying in hotel rooms, Dr. Green arranged for us to stay with host families. At first, this made me very nervous, but I am so thankful now.
I picked up a little Spanish from my host mom and got to live as a Costa Rican native for a week.
All in all, this trip was spectacular. I would highly suggest for every Troy student who is able to study abroad through our university to go for it. You will not regret it.
To view photos and see relive some of our experiences in and out of the classroom, go to storify.com/TroyUniversity/troy-university-study-abroad-trip-to-costa-rica.