TYLER, TX (KLTV) - As final exams commence, a special group of Tyler Junior College students is preparing to continue their studies on a milestone trip abroad.
Monday, May 14th, students and staff from the college will leave for a 10-day trip to Costa Rica.
This will be the program's 10th journey to the Central American nation.
"A lot of people think that if you've done it once, I've got the t-shirt, no need to go back," said TJC's Foreign Languages department chair John Hays. "I'm of the opposite opinion. For me, it's nice to go and have a cup of coffee and a piece of pan dulce and converse."
The group will fly from Dallas to the Costa Rican town of Liberia, where they will begin their trip.
"Costa Rica has its own aura that everyone kind of wants to participate in," said Hays.
"We got to see beautiful sites and attractions, really immerse ourselves in the culture, so it was amazing," said student Ebony Griffin.
Griffin graduates from TJC this year. She attended the trip in 2017 and described it as life-changing.
"It was a lot of my firsts, so it was my first time on an airplane, it was my first time traveling outside of the country, my first time doing service work abroad," said Griffin. "We worked in a park area so our job was to kind of clear out that site, plant trees, get all the debris and stuff away. They named the park after Tyler, el parque Tyler, so that was a really heartwarming experience, very rewarding."
Service projects will serve as the foundation of the students' time in Costa Rica. They will also visit the national rainforests for ziplining and hiking, explore waterfalls in the mountains, and take a dip in the natural mudbaths.
"We hope for three to four days to be working with a small community," said Hays. "We will be educating our students, but also opening the world just a little bit for them."
KLTV will join TJC for their study abroad program in Costa Rica. Stay with us for updates on the students' projects and adventures.