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The three weeks I spent in Costa Rica have truly been the most invaluable experience of my life. Reflecting on this period of learning and immersion fills me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Immersing myself in the vibrant culture of Costa Rica opened my eyes to the power of stepping out of my comfort zone and embracing new experiences. Through my encounters with the Costa Rican community members, I discovered my own potential for growth and the impact I can make in the world.

On the second day in Gandoca, I met and talked to a local who was a part of COASTS, a community-led sea turtle conservation project. This encounter proved to be a transformative experience that I will always cherish. From our first conversation to the ongoing exchanges throughout the three weeks, I gained an understanding of the dedication and passion that he and the locals possess for preserving their environment. This connection was truly special, not only giving me a new friend, but served as a platform for practicing and improving my Spanish skills. Despite not being the direct cause of the environmental challenges they faced, the community in Gandoca puts tremendous efforts into conservation and preservation through their sustainable lifestyles. Their selflessness serves as a powerful reminder of the impact individual actions can have on creating a better world and has motivated me to nurture a more sustainable future.

ACE was the optimal environment for a deeper understanding of the community-driven efforts.

– Ivy Davis, Stanford Artistic Swimming

Without the distractions and pressures of a fast-paced setting, I could dedicate myself wholeheartedly to the tasks at hand. It was the optimal environment for a deeper understanding of the community-driven efforts. Being able to actively engage in tasks like beach cleans, gardening, and promoting sustainable practices allowed me to see the tangible results of my efforts. Knowing that I was making a difference and positively impacting the lives of others filled me with a sense of purpose and productivity. While in Gandoca, I recognized that productivity extends beyond just task completion. I found that, for me, the true measure of productivity lies in the personal fulfillment and satisfaction gained from the work undertaken. In Costa Rica, the sense of productivity I felt reflected the meaningful impact I made, the personal growth I experienced, and the joy I got from engaging in activities that served a greater purpose.

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