Last year we received our first group of students from Greenfield School. It was a wonderful experience for both the students and for the SCSRN staff to host this school for the first time here in San Ramón! But as fun as it is for us on our side of the trip, we know there are always loving parents on the other side who are worried about their children as they travel so far away from home. Sharon Sherrod, a mother of one of the students on this trip, shared with us a little about what is was like for her to entrust her child to us for this 8-day adventure!
My son, Elijah, travelled to Nicaragua during the summer of 2017 with a group from Greenfield School of Wilson, NC led by Sr. Girón. This was his first international trip and his first time traveling without one of his parents. Our family strongly believes that travel is an essential part of becoming an educated citizen and that travel creates an understanding of the world’s needs in a way that simply reading about an area cannot do.
As much as I wanted my son to take this trip, I was also afraid for him to do so. Elijah has a rare type of asthma that is hard to treat and allowing him to be so far from home meant that I had to trust his teacher and the people of SCSRN to take care of him in my absence. In addition to my fears about his asthma, I was also concerned about the vaccines he would need to travel to Central America and how to protect him from mosquito borne illnesses. I shared these concerns with Elijah’s teacher and asked questions from the people at SCSRN. I was given every reassurance that my son’s needs would be met and that he would be kept safe.
I cannot put into words how happy I am that I allowed him to take this trip! He had an amazing time and was truly happy during his visit to Nicaragua. He constantly updated me with text messages and photos about his trip and how much fun he was having. He was excited about the food he got to try and he truly enjoyed learning about the culture of Nicaragua. My fears were gone when I could see and hear how happy he was on this trip.
On his first night in Nicaragua, he did have asthma symptoms. Larry, the Tourism Coordinator, took extremely good care of Elijah and stayed in constant communication with me until Elijah was stable. Larry adjusted the group activities and itinerary to accommodate Elijah’s needs without taking away important activities from the rest of the group. I can say with full confidence that you will be well taken care of by the staff of SCSRN if a medical need arises while you travel. This experience was valuable for Elijah because he learned to work through a medical difficulty with new people and without his mother.
When Elijah came home, he talked nonstop for days about how amazing this trip was and how much he loved the people he met in Nicaragua. He truly enjoyed his host families and the people he met at the coffee farm and other activities he attended. He was excited to try new foods and send pictures of his amazing meals. He brought home thoughtful gifts from the places he visited for his family.
Elijah’s self confidence grew exponentially because of this experience. He feels that he learned Spanish in a way that doesn’t happen in the classroom. He met kids and teens from a different culture and learned things he never knew about. He learned about the Nicaraguan economy and rural economies in particular. He learned to shop in a city market and bargain for a good price. He navigated international airports and customs for the first time in his life without his parents by his side.
He wants to travel more and as often as possible. Doing this trip at a young age will have a profound impact on his worldview and future travel. I highly recommend traveling to Nicaragua and especially doing it with SCSRN. If we have the chance to do it again, he will definitely take the trip. I am so thankful for this opportunity for my son and thankful to SCSRN for making it happen.
And we are thankful to Sharon for sharing her perspective with us! We look forward to hosting more Greenfield High students this year. To learn more about the itinerary, click here. If you are a parent from another school and would like to know how your child can have a transformative experience in Nicaragua, please contact us.