Posts Tagged ‘sharing’

I recently spent 8 days in Costa Rica with a group of extension professionals from 10 other states learning about the culture and the history of the country. I have to say it was one of the most wonderful experiencosta-rica-country-side.jpgces of my life. You might think, OF COURSE, how could being in a tropical paradise not be wonderful?! Especially since Ohio and much of the Midwest has been experiencing unpredictable weather, to say the least. But, the weather aside, the whole journey was full of wonderful experiences.

This trip was not about sitting on the beach or in the mountains at some all-inclusive resort basking in the sun or the mountain air. It was about immersing ourselves in the culture of the country and getting outside of our comfort zone to learn about people, who at first glance may appear to be different from us and what we know. As we traveled around the country to the various locations (we stayed in 4 different accommodations), we were able to gain a better understanding of how the Ticos (native Costa Ricans) live and work.

Our group of 33 were divided into smaller subgroups for different activities throughout the week. We went on a variety of outings designed to increase our cultural awareness and to challenge us in our leadership philosophies and ideas. Our first task was to go to the Central Market in San Jose to check prices of various items and purchase them (we donated all the items to different organizations we later visited). We then had to compare the cost of these items as they relate to the average minimumgreen-house-e1524004828723.jpg wage in the United States versus in Costa Rica. While the cost of the items was somewhat comparable to prices in the U.S., when you look at the minimum wages, the discrepancy was very large. This required us to think about the proportion of the wages in Costa Rica that go toward necessities versus the proportion in the U.S.

The Central Market outing was just the first of many that would challenge us to achieve a common goal while trying to overcome the language barrier in this foreign country. As we traveled around Costa Rica and participated in different activities, the most overarching theme that our entire group observed was how patient and gracious all of the Ticos we encountered were with our groups. Few of us were able to speak and/or understand Spanish, so at times, there was a lot of patience required. Every group related that the Ticos were incredibly helpful, patient and gracious.

A large part of this leadership program involves reflecting on the experiences and lessons we have learned. As we reflected in our large group and in smaller groups, we all wondered what someone traveling to the United States would experience. How would any of us handle trying to communicate with someone who does not speak English or at least not well? Would we have the same patience and understanding that the Ticos had with us? I can honestly say that before this trip, the answer for me would be no. I would not have had the patience and understanding that was shown to me and the others. One of the things I have taken away from this experience is to have more patience. Patience with others, but also patience with myself.

While this trip was for business, when I travel for personal reasons, I try to make it a point to find local places to eat and shop. My Costa Rica experience has taught me that I can do more to enrich my travel experiences. I have not usually lodged in places that allow me to experience the local culture as much as some others might. I will make a more concerted effort to choose places that allow me to have a more immersive experience, since one of the main reasons I like to travel is to be expcosta-rica-food.jpgosed to local culture and to learn about the people and the area.

So, whether you are traveling across the state, across the country, or across the globe, challenge yourself to experience at least a little bit of the local culture. You may just learn some things about yourself by experiencing things that are unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable to you.


WRITTEN BY: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.417@osu.edu

REVIEWED BY: Amanda, Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

PHOTO CREDIT: Misty Harmon





Click to access Research_Fact-Sheet_Travel-Jobs.pdf


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familyweekNational Family Week is an annual celebration observed during the week of Thanksgiving and is designed to encourage families to spend quality time together. It’s an opportunity to plan a variety of activities that encourage family outings and togetherness.

Research suggests it is critical to spend quality time together as a family, especially at the dinner table. Annually, statistics show children who eat dinner with their family are less likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs than their counterparts. (Cook and Dunifon) However, what happened to the family dinner hour, when people sat down together and talked?

It seems that fast food, busy lifestyles and the necessity of having two income earners have made the family mealtime a thing of the past. Some people argue that the idea of a sit-down family meal just doesn’t work in today’s fast-paced society. Others point to the vanishing mealtime as just another symptom of our deteriorating family structure. And still others apathetically shrug their shoulders and say, “it’s a sign of the times and there’s nothing we can do about it”. Regardless of your position on the importance of family mealtime, clearly something needs to be done to revive it.

During National Family Week, I challenge you to make mealtime with your family priority one. Here are some “family-friendly” suggestions to engage family members in mealtime conversations designed to strengthen the family unit.

Sunday: Share your family history; learn about your family’s heritage.

Monday: Make new memories.

Tuesday: Tell a funny story about a special family member.

Wednesday: Write a hand-written letter to a family member who is unable to be with you during the holiday season.

Thursday: Thanksgiving Day – share things for which you are thankful.

Friday: Focus on your favorite family traditions.

Saturday – Share a TV-free and technology-free family activity.

Making mealtime a priority can be difficult, but not impossible. It’s more than just a meal – it’s an opportunity for families to come together regularly in support of family unity. Start now and begin reaping the benefits of family mealtime togetherness.

Written by: Cindy Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by: Carmen Irving, Carmen Irving, M.A., Healthy Relationships Program Specialist, OSU Extension FCS Administration

Reviewed by: Jenny Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Cook, E. and Dunifon, R. Do Family Meals Really Make a Difference? Retrieved November 19, 2013 http://www.human.cornell.edu/pam/outreach/upload/Family- Mealtimes-2.pdf

Davis, J.L., Family Dinners are Important, WebMD retrieved November 19, 2013 http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/family-dinners-are-important

Fiese, B. & Hammons, A. (2011). Is frequency of shared family meals related to the nutritional health of children and adolescents? Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 127, 1565-1574.

Musick, K. & Meier, A. (Forthcoming). Assessing Causality and persistence in associations between family dinners and adolescent well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family.

Bennett, S. & Bennett R. (1994). Table Talk 365 ways to reclaim the family dinner hour. Bob Adams, Inc., Holbrook, MA.

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