I never thought that just 12 days would have such a great impact on my life. Those were the days I spent at the GREEN (Global Renewable Energy Education Network) Program in Costa Rica. I learned about this program because of an email my advisor at the University of Miami sent me. I forgot about it for a while until I realized summer was closer and I had to do something productive in these four months or so. What I didn’t know is that the short experience I was about to have was going to be more productive and enriching than the rest of my summer and even than my first year studying Ecosystem Science and Policy.

Already in Costa Rica, the group of about 20 students and I would wake up everyday at about 7 AM. At first I thought this was too early but then I saw how many enriching activities we could do during the day that I wished I had woken up at this time during all my life. After breakfast, we usually had a one-hour class, visited the plant who used the renewable energy we discussed in class, ate in delicious restaurants and did plenty of green and fun activities such as zip lining, water rafting, hiking, bathing in waterfalls, surfing and much more. All these activities gave the group the potential to bond with each other and become like a family.

I think this is what I loved the most about the program; feeling that there were other amazing and intelligent students who shared the same passion and interest to learn and to work for a better global environment as me. It was motivating to see the results of one of the activities, which was creating a capstone project. With this, I realized even more everyone’s capability to do incredibly great things. I also felt motivated by Costa Rica, because it works 90% with renewable energy, and with its people, who are very well educated and conscious that they need to take care of their surroundings. I love how they always keep in mind their country’s slogan: “Pura Vida” which means “pure life”. Everyone is happy to work for him or herself, for others and for their homeland because they enjoy everything they do. There were several opportunities, such as when doing social work, to bond with the locals and feel all this good energy and positivity.

I believe I cannot entirely explain all what I learned and how this program made me feel. I want to recommend it to anyone who feels a little interest about living in a healthier world because you will find passion from acquiring amazing knowledge not only about the environment but also about life. You will learn that you can accomplish great things if you propose them. The GREEN Program was a life changing experience. You will need to go to understand completely.

Paulina Araujo
IDEAS for UM member