The Benefit of Living in Costa Rica
The Benefit of a Gap Year Abroad
Admissions departments at universities are now emphasizing the value of a gap program before attending college. The Bridge gives our students the growth experiences of an international gap program while still in high school! We believe that our students' college applications are stronger and more unique than their peers' because of the maturity and growth that is achieved from the self-sufficient, goal-achieving independence that is nurtured and supported in each and every experience at The Bridge--from community living to cooking classes to learning Spanish to Aventuras.
Being "out of your comfort zone": There is a healthy disorientation that occurs with a change in surroundings. Therapists, educators, and mental health researchers have increasingly capitalized on the therapeutic value of milieu change and healthy risk-taking, as evidenced by the proliferation of study abroad programs, adventure learning programs, and adventure therapy programs.
Young adult brains crave novelty and risk-taking, and being in a foreign culture provides just that. Although being out of one's comfort zone is anxiety-producing, a safe and supportive environment like The Bridge provides the optimal amount of anxiety that sparks a heightened level of awareness, reflection, and curiosity to process and learn from the world around you.
This therapeutic disorientation provides rich opportunities for students to see the world with new eyes, and to reflect on old patterns and behaviors that they have grown accustomed to at home.
In this increasingly complex and global world, the hazards of ethnocentrism and cultural isolation are undeniable. Whether participating in Community Service or the Homestay program, students engage their unfamiliar environment with the goal of contributing to its health and prosperity. In today’s world there is a growing need for cultural understanding and sensitive, astute world citizens. The Bridge is committed to developing self-reliant, engaged, empathic and contributing world citizens.
Our location in Costa Rica is no accident - Costa Rica is an experiential learner’s paradise. Because of Costa Rica’s strong environmental and educational values as well as her unparalleled natural resources, opportunities for experiential learning abound in subject areas such as marine biology, tropical botany, tropical biology, geology, and agricultural sciences. The Bridge has built strong relationships with local bilingual universities to provide various learning opportunities--both experientially and in a traditional classroom setting.
"Being immersed in a culture where people don’t speak English challenges you in a way that really prepares you for life."
"Hanging out with the staff and the locals, they are very accepting and take everything lightly; this helps you be who you are.
You don’t have to perform."
"The concept of a home stay family is another brilliant concept
of The Bridge program, as it helped our son appreciate
the value of family and that relationships and that
caring for others matters more than material things."
What Costa Rica Offers
Costa Rica Overview
Though comparable in size to West Virginia, Costa Rica hosts an incredible 5% of the world’s total biodiversity. From primary rainforests and active volcanoes to more than 800 miles of Atlantic and Pacific coastline, the country offers a rich canvas for learning adventures. Situated 11 degrees north of the equator in Central America, Costa Rica is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. Tourism and micro-chip exports are the country’s leading sources of income, followed by agricultural products such as coffee, pineapple and sugarcane. Home to approximately 4.5 million people, Costa Rica is a country of vibrant culture, where gracious locals welcome you to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and pura vida lifestyle that make it so unique.
Costa Rica is one of the safest foreign travel and living destinations in the world for Americans. Often referred to as the “Switzerland of Central America”, Costa Rica is politically neutral, and has enjoyed more than a half-century of domestic and international peace.
Flora & Fauna
Nearly 9,000 different kinds of flowering plants grow in Costa Rica, including more than 1,300 species of orchids. To date, nearly 850 species of birds have been identified, which is more than are found in all of the United States, Canada and the northern half of Mexico combined. The country is also home to 209 species of mammals, 383 kinds of reptiles and amphibians, about 2,000 species of butterflies and at least 4,500 different types of moths.