Costa Rica is the Pure Life for McNeely

New SHS teacher returns to Costa Rica with students next June


Andrea Vidaurre

Mr. McNeely teaches his Spanish class. This year marks his first year as an actual teacher.

Hairo Rivas, Melissa Bushong, John Aguillar-Rebollar, Foreign Language Writers

Henry Miller once said, “One’s destination is never a place, but a way of seeing things.” SHS Spanish teacher Connor Mcneely agrees with this quote. In June of 2017, Mcneely will be taking a group of Southport students to Costa Rica to study abroad for nine days, along with Christine Powell, who is also an SHS spanish teacher.

During this trip, students will have the opportunity to tour the tropics of Costa Rica, the protected natural reserves and witness the diverse wildlife, including sloths, toucans and howler monkeys. Students will have the opportunity  to take a tour of Crocodile River and Manuel Antonio National Park as well as  participate in a white water rafting excursion.

According to the Education First handout provided by EF Educational Tours, “Immersing yourself in new cultures- surrounded by the people, the language, the food, the way of life- creates inspirational moments that can’t be listed in an itinerary.

Studying abroad is said to be one of the most beneficial ways for a student to not only learn a new language,  but also to learn about the cultures and practices of the people who live in that region. Specifically for Costa Rica, it is Pura Vida–an expression of eternal optimism.

Many Costa Ricans live by the saying “Pura vida mae.”

While studying abroad, students are immersed in the spanish language and see and live the culture.  Mcneely believes that having the opportunity to meet new people from other parts of the world and being put out of the normal comfort zone is most beneficial when it comes to studying abroad.

“It (traveling) gives you a new appreciation for cultures around the world,” Mcneely said.

Due to his past experience in Costa Rica, Mcneely is almost certain that students will “be able to return to Indiana with a newfound confidence in their ability to speak spanish.”

Mcneely took his first trip to Costa Rica during his sophomore year of college.

It gave me more confidence is speaking the language and  exposed me to the dialect used in Costa Rica,” Braun said.

He had never traveled abroad before then, but this trip will be his third time there. The second time,  Mcneely chose to go to Costa Rica because he fell in love with the people and the pura vida culture.
Given the fact that Mcneely has been to Costa Rica before, he has a few areas that he would like to revisit including the Basilica de la Señora de los angeles located in Cartago. “ It is very important to the Tico culture,” Mcneely said, “and every year on August second, ticos from around the country walk to the basilica for a yearly pilgrimage.” McNeely suggests that SHS students attend the trip with him and Miss. Powell to experience what he did.