MPA seventh- and eighth-graders got a chance to practice their Spanish and French language skills and explore language and culture, community service, and environmental sustainability on trips to Costa Rica and Quebec last month.
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Highlights of seven days in San Jose, Costa Rica, included:
- visiting the Maleku, an indigenous people of Costa Rica;
- volunteering to help clean and paint a local public school;
- seeing artifacts from pre-Colombian civilizations at the San Jose national museum;
- visiting a nature reserve to see waterfalls and flora and fauna including native butterflies, hummingbirds, and snakes;
- learning about sustainable farming, grassroots forestry, and the impact humans have on conservation and the environment;
- having lunch with Costa Rican families;
- touring the small village of La Guacima;
- practicing Spanish with native speakers; and
- dancing and cooking classes.
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Highlights of five days in Quebec City and Montreal included:
- sightseeing in and around Quebec City, including landmarks such as Hotel de Glace and Montmorency Falls;
- breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and lots of croissants at Parisian-inspired cafes and bistros;
- learning about Quebecois history, including French Canadians and the First Nations, and exploring local traditions in maple syrup production, woodcarving, and the copper trade;
- touring an authentic reconstruction of a Huron village;
- watching and participating in interactive performances by history-themed musical and theater troupes;
- dog sledding and inner-tube sledding;
- practicing French with native speakers;
- touring local historic and artistic neighborhoods; and
- taking in the sights and sounds of Montreal’s busiest outdoor market.