The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

A Heart for Service Abroad

Get out of your comfort zone and make connections
Megan Munford holding a goat in Costa Rica, courtesy of Megan Munford

The student body is encouraged to create their own experiences, and find their own adventures. Many utilize the study abroad experience to broaden their world view and create a unique semester abroad.

Megan Munford is a current third year Environmental studies major. This semester she took her studies to Universidad LCI Veritas in San José, Costa Rica. As a first time traveler, Munford experienced culture shock and a lifestyle that did not align with how study abroad was marketed to her as a student. She expected to have more down time to travel, but found that studying abroad often requires the same amount of time management as a normal semester. 

“My free time is [often] taken up by weekend excursions through my program, mornings volunteering for 2 hours Monday-Thursday, class field trips and homework,” Munford said.

She has committed many hours of her semester in Costa Rica to volunteering at Parque la Libertad, working for an service organization called CEGEA, which stands for Centro de Gestión y Educación Ambiental, or the Center for Environmental Management and Education. Not only is Munford receiving a unique experience, but these hours count toward her PLP program service hour requirements. She spends most of her time there working in the gardening and nursery center with plants.

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Through this service learning experience, Munford’s observations of the Costa Rican values of conservation and nature has helped her cultivate an appreciation of the natural beauty and integrity of the environment.

“I have made connections with people in my service learning community [and] become quite close and fond of my supervisor Priscilla and the other volunteers there,” she said. 

Studying abroad has made Munford more open-minded and flexible due to all the changes she’s had to adjust to. Her goal was to get out of her comfort zone, which she says has been successful so far.

 “I feel myself gaining new knowledge, perspectives and humility as I go through my program,” she said.

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