Friday, September 24, 2010

Do you have what it takes for a Costa Rica Outward Bound Semester Course?!

Costa Rica Outward Bound offers three intense semester courses each Fall and Spring: Tri-Country, Water and Wave, and Leadership. Ranging from 65-85 days, these courses offer students ages 17+ the opportunity to have an in-depth Outward Bound experience. 

Tri-Country Semester  This course is most well-known for its coast-to-coast hike across the entire country of Costa Rica.  Through Costa Rica Outward Bound’s unique approach to outdoor, experiential education and personal development, this is your opportunity to experience the best of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the Panamanian islands of Bocas del Toro, both on land and by sea, as well as earn academic credits. 
Water and Wave Semester Why sit in a classroom when you could be earning college credit while surfing, kayaking, white-water rafting, and SCUBA diving in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama?!  If water sports – especially surfing – and travel appeal to you, then the Water & Wave Semester is for you!
Leadership Semester  By far our most popular semester course (this Fall’s course is already full!), the Leadership course is for people interested in careers in the outdoor education and/or adventure sports industries. Students train to be multi-skilled outdoor adventure professionals in a variety of settings; procure internationally-recognized certifications; learn and practice leadership skills; and have an opportunity to earn a 3-month internship with us.
Before you are fully enrolled into a Costa Rica Outward Bound semester course, all students must speak one-on-one with our Enrollment Coordinator for a brief “interview.”  This process helps us ensure your chosen course is the best fit for your skills and expectations, as well as share a number of important course policies with you and help prepare you for the unique challenges of a Costa Rica Outward Bound semester course.  This conversation is also an opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about going on a semester course.
The physical challenges of our semester courses are obvious; however, the emotional and mental challenges of a semester course are greatly underestimated.   The interview process is designed – above all else -- to help students think about and prepare for these challenges.

You will be asked to look at any fears or concerns you may have—for example, some people are nervous about SCUBA diving or scared of heights (a big obstacle when waterfall rappelling, for example.)  Also, on every semester course, there will be “solo” time—which is more of a meditative exercise than a “survival” exercise, but most of the time you are a critical and constant part of a group.
The group dynamic is crucial to the success of the course for all—cooperation, clear communication, fellow emotional (and sometimes physical) support, sense of humor, patience, and harmony are all key and need to be worked on every day on a course.  You will also look at what events or situations stress you out, and which bring you happiness and fulfillment.
There is also a strict “code of conduct” to be considered and how you can cope without your laptop, cell phone, or MP3 player.  You will have limited access to your family and friends at home and the support network you’ve come to rely on through these relationships.  All of this tends to be a shock to students at first, but once you get “into” the course, you will discover invaluable insights into yourself, others, and the world around you.
All of our courses teach you practical, valuable and even marketable skills; introduce you to another culture; and most importantly, teach you more about yourself.  Know that all of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges that you may face on a Costa Rica Outward Bound course are thoughtfully designed to serve you in all areas of your life.  

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