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Costa Rica Exchange Program

Created by Spanish teacher Sandra Rodriguez in 2004, and co-led by Sandra and Nicole Novack (our 7/8 Spanish teacher), this two-year program is designed to integrate curriculum, language, science, service learning and social studies. Early in the eighth grade year, Costa Rican students visit Philadelphia and Greene Street Friends. In March of their 8th grade year, students travel to Costa Rica to experience Spanish language immersion, gain knowledge of Costa Rican history and experience Costa Rican culture first-hand, visiting pen pals with whom they begin communicating with at the beginning of the academic year. 

In March of 2023, the 8th grade class traveled for the first time in three years since the pandemic. We are still working on the component of the program in bringing the Costa Rican students to Philadelphia. 

The program builds interest of Lower School students in the study of foreign language and provides opportunities for Middle School students to serve as role models to younger students. With students beginning Spanish language lessons in Pre-Kindergarten, it is an exciting opportunity to travel and use these skills abroad. In addition, Costa Rica is a country rich in biodiversity with a strong Quaker presence and a commitment to peace.

Highlights of the trip include staying in the town of Sarchí, a tour of an organic coffee farm, zip-lining and a sky-trek canopy tour in Monteverde, classes at the Liceo Bilingue de Naranjo, a visit to natural hot springs in La Fortuna,, a visit to Monteverde Friends School, white water rafting in the Sarapiquí River, a trip to Curu Biological Reserve and snorkeling around Turtle Island, an afternoon of community service, home visits with Costa Rican pen pals, and hands-on workshops in Spanish cooking empanadas, and painting oxcart wheels.

On behalf of the Class of 2024, we hope that you will support our trip this year! If you would like to make a gift to the Costa Rica Exchange Program, please click HERE.
You can also participate in the following events throughout the 2023-24 school year:

  • Pizza Wednesdays: Weekly pizza served in the cafeteria for students in all grades. See your Friday Flyer to sign up!
  • Fall Fair: A GSFS tradition! Join the community for a day of fun, silent auction, games, live music, and a spooky Haunted House. Join us Saturday, October 21st from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (Rain Date: October 28th)
  • Costa Rica Fiesta: Enjoy a night of festive music, dancing, delicious food, and traditional games for the whole family! Save the date for the 2020 Fiesta on Saturday, February 3rd, with a snow date of Saturday February 10th!