In January 2019, our Residential Energy Program Manager, Larissa Johnson spent 15 days in Costa Rica, a country that (while she was there) was running on 100% Renewable Energy! Find out more about her adventures in our second ever DEP Travel Diaries.
So one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2019 is to be able to communicate more effectively in Spanish, especially when I’m talking to residents in the County. I took Spanish in high school and college but I still struggle with conjugating, and I don’t have a vast vocabulary so I figured that 15 days in a Spanish speaking country would help me. And it did!
Many people ask me why I picked Costa Rica for my Spanish immersion and it was for three reasons.
While I was in Costa Rica, I spent every week day in a classroom setting learning the basics of the Spanish language and then in the afternoons, I explored the city, took aerobics classes in Spanish, and did a ton of tarrea (homework). On the weekends, I was able to visit a few National Parks; Palo Verde, Rincon de la Vieja, and Rio Celeste and while the hikes were challenging, the views were amazing! I even had a very close encounter with some White Faced Monkeys!
Even with all of these amazing vistas and views, the most rewarding experience I had by far was with the students at Club A. I had the opportunity to attend two sessions with the Club A students, one time as an observer and the next time as a leader! I didn’t have a set plan when I traveled to Costa Rica about presenting on energy usage to the students but it everything worked out that way.
The session I ended up leading was focused on energy usage in Costa Rica. I had a few additional English adult volunteers to help me — which was super helpful because we did the same presentation for four different groups of students, teaching over 50 students throughout the two-hour session.
Here is a glimpse into the program I created, see a quick video here IMG_3620:
I was able to take the information I have been studying and teaching about for years in the United States and apply it to a different country and in a different language. It was such an amazing experience!
Another amazing thing is that by the year 2021, Costa Rica plans to be completely carbon neutral, and yet in Maryland we are still hovering at about 10% renewable energy use in the state. We have a long way to go but I think teaching in an active way really helps people learn about new topics and information. I will continue to ENERGIZE our students and residents in the same way I did in Costa Rica!
To learn more about DEP’s Energy Programs and upcoming events, visit MyGreenMontgomery.