students and instructors pose by rainforest waterfallInstructors Chantal Vallée and Sarah Woodruff led 12 human kinetics students on a study abroad course in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica trip provides international experience for human kinetics students

After a two-week study abroad course in Costa Rica, first-year kinesiology and health studies major Mackenzie Delisle finds herself embracing the “pura vida” (pure life) approach.

“Be present, live life to the fullest, and show gratitude in all circumstances,” Delisle says. “I want to bring this back with me to Canada and in my work as a future kinesiologist.”

She was one of 12 human kinetics students to take part in the course, led by instructor Chantal Vallée and accompanied by professor Sarah Woodruff.

To start off the course, students were immersed in the culture of Costa Rica, through dance, food, and meeting with students from the Universidad Latinoamericana de Cienciay Tecnologia. They also met student athletes from the university’s futsal and basketball teams and had the opportunity to tour its biomed and anatomy facilities.

The formal training engaged students in two projects: one in which they measured physiological responses to hiking on different terrains, and the second working with local university students to offer leadership and community sport projects.

Amy Pletsas, a first-year student of sport management and leadership, says the class planned and delivered activities for different age groups in the capital of San Jose and neighbouring town of La Fortuna.

“We introduced skills, sports, and fun games to them while trying to learn Spanish to enhance positive feedback to young students,” she says.

Aside from all the hard work, the class also enjoyed leisure activities. They spent the tail end of their trip at the Texas A&M Soltis Centre, where they had the opportunity to trek through the rainforest and learn more about the health benefits it can offer athletes.

Students received scholarships from the University of Windsor’s Go Global STEPs program to participate. Go Global STEPs is a Global Skills Opportunity project funded by Employment and Social Development Canada and administered by Universities Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada.

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