By: Emily Robertson
The late night phone calls, urgent and confused Facebook chats, crammed study sessions right before tests- welcome to Grade 11 biology. As appealing as another year of this in Grade 12 probably sounds, you may want to consider an easier, quicker, and more desirable alternative: a summer Blyth trip. Not only is the entire course taught by hand-picked faculty members in the span of 3 and a half weeks, but it is taught in a picturesque country of your choice. From studying French in a Parisian location to learning Classical Civilization alongside ancient Egyptian tombs, Blythe abroad is a sure-fire way to have an incredible summer.
This past July, I was lucky enough to attend Session 1 of the Costa Rica trip with nearly 100 other students. When we arrived, we were presented with amazing room accommodations: 2 floor villas with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and our own kitchen and living room. Each block of villas was equipped with a pool, an internet router, a set of supervisors, and a short walk to the ocean. However, upon a short walk into town, we were acquainted with the poverty-stricken side of Costa Rica. Traffic filled roads with no stop lights, stray dogs at every corner, and toddlers working at fruit stands made us all realize how fortunate we were to live in a first-world country.
On a lighter note, whether we were lying by the pool or zip lining through the rain forest, the free time we got in between and after classes were always well spent. And when we weren’t cramming for a test, we took a cab, for only $2, into town to visit local lounges and clubs, where we made many good friends and memories.
Think it’s all fun and no work? Think again. There were many quizzes and tests and the way by which we were taught proved to be extremely effective. With an average of 11 students per class and a traveling-tutor for each subject, it should be no surprise that students improved their marks by at least ten percent. Courses were taught very hands-on, especially during our week-long field trip to the Monteverde cloud forest and Arenal volcano. Additionally, the faculty was excellent and it played a major role in our success. Jessica Adamson, a Grade 11 student who also attended the Costa Rica session, described the teachers as “being very helpful and were always there for extra help when you needed it.”
However, for some others, relaxing in a hot spring at the foot of an active volcano probably isn’t your cup of tea. Whatever it is, I’m sure Blythe runs a trip for you. So, the next time you’re sitting in bio, dreading those dichotomous keys, consider doing them under a row of palm trees next summer with Blythe.