While in Costa Rica, we took two classes: Social Work and Ethnic Relations. Our Social Work course consisted of reading two books about child welfare and writing book summaries about each one and how we were impacted by them. We learned the many ways how children are deeply affected by their living situations and surroundings. The novels we were required to read gave us the inside scoop of what life is really like as a social worker. Whether it be at a desk handling phone calls or driving to a clients home to have a check up, the atmosphere is very unpredictable and can be dangerous at times. A social worker is never certain of the type of environment that they will walk into. We read about and analyzed real-life cases of child abuse and neglect. Professor Medill covered everything from identifying symptoms of abuse/neglect to the very laws that have been enacted to prevent such incidents.
Our second class consisted of learning about the Costa Rican culture. This course was more discussion and observation based.Chapter by chapter, we read Los Ticos, a novel discussing the history of Costa Rica and its culture. The best aspect of this course was that we experienced almost everything we read about in the novel. Going to school, shopping, or simply conversing with our neighbors gave us personal insight of what the Costa Rican culture was all about. Although Costa Rica isn't one of the richest countries, los ticos take pride in their country and their culture. They definitely live by their motto: "quedar bien". They treat each other with a certain level of respect and refrain from disappointing others. Taking this course made us feel like we were becoming experts in the culture. We learned why los ticos are the way they are and we were able to understand and appreciate our experiences a lot more while we were there.