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A Different Way of Teaching Abroad

A Different Way of Teaching Abroad

Receiving the call and responding

I was about to leave for my month long stay in North Carolina, just had to get through a day’s seminar on conflict management, when I got the call. To be honest, I was mildly surprised to hear the voice of a former co-worker on the other end of the line. Past formalities and the usual how-are-you-doings, he dropped the line we all long to hear: Are you available to join me late november as a teacher in Costa Rica?

These are the kind of situations, where I truly must contain myself. Try to exercise some form of excitement control, in order not to raise my hands to the sky and yell out to the assembly: I’m going to Costa Rica – and not check my fairly booked agenda before agreeing to an endeavor with unknown content.

My containment lasted a day before I finally returned the call with affirmation. Having now agreed to instruct and interact with a group of young folks, who all study sustainability and ecology at a liberal arts school i Denmark, I started to consider possibilities for the journey. Fixed program, though curiosity is never fixed. We are to spend the first part of our trip at the Caribbean seaside at Earth University, move on to climb Arenal, to end up at the Pacific Ocean.

Traveling teacher

While I continue to insist, that the teacher’s job is different from that of the guide, despite the obvious overlap of sharing location specific knowledge with a group of people. A group of students have spent time on collectively coordinated information, read the same books and hence that group speak the same language, have reached a same-level understanding of the organization of the subject at hand. They share a foundation. Traveling as a teacher, is sitting people down to feed them information,  challenge their point of view, make them debate, question and reflect. It’s pushing their curiosity beyond the custom horizon – and then take them into the real world to see through their own eyes, touch with their own hands and make proper assumptions. It is standing collectively in situ, to talk to Mona Lisa and have her in audience. It’s a deeper knowing that is translated into an experience. It is not just the passing of information. It’s the formation of personal opinion and  inspiration.

Sustainability

The group of students are all involved with a facet of sustainability – anything from the technicality of permaculture to social agents of change. As a group we will spend time at EARTH University, a marvelous and innovative learning space, that serves as an alternative to traditional learning environments, and specializes in identifying new leaders of social change.

As a contrast to the tropical weather at the Caribbean Coast, we drive up to the highlands in the North, to engage in the biorhythms of Arenal. The pacific will provide a space to engage at a deeper level in marine life, versus our dedication to the earth at the east coast.

The coming days I’ll keep you posted on a day-to-day basis as we evolve in our project and engage with sustainability in one of the most biodiverse nations in the world.