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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

SOURCES:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cs.html

http://www.tc.columbia.edu/articles/2015/january/the-benefits-of-cultural-immersion/

https://global.upenn.edu/pennabroad/about-penn-abroad/academic-and-cultural-immersion

https://www.ustravel.org/system/files/media_root/document/Research_Fact-Sheet_Travel-Jobs.pdf

 

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west

Summer is a great time to travel with friends and family. Whether traveling domestically or internationally, here are a few tips to keep in mind for safe summer travels. The Center for Disease Control advises the 3 P’s for travelers. Be Proactive, Prepared and Protected.

BE PROACTIVE

Take steps to anticipate any issues that could arise during your trip.

BE PREPARED! (especially when travelling internationally)

No one wants to think about getting sick or hurt during a trip, but sometimes these things happen. You may not be able to prevent every illness or injury, but you can plan ahead to be able to deal with them.

Here are some ideas for a travel health kit:

Special note about prescription medicines

  • Pack your prescription medications in your carry-on luggage.
  • Pack copies of all prescriptions, including the generic names for medications.
  • Pack a note on letterhead stationery from the prescribing physician for controlled substances and injectable medications.
  • Leave a copy of your prescriptions at home with a friend or relative.
  • Check with the American Embassy or Consulate to make sure that your medicines will be allowed into the country you are visiting. Some countries do not let visitors bring certain medicines into the country.
  • Special prescriptions for the trip
    • Medicines to prevent malaria, if needed
    • Antibiotic prescribed by your doctor for self-treatment of moderate to severe diarrhea
  • Over the counter medicines
    • Antidiarrheal medication (for example, bismuth subsalicylate, loperamide)
    • Antihistamine
    • Decongestant, alone or in combination with antihistamine                                                                           moutains
    • Anti-motion sickness medication
    • Medicine for pain or fever (such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen)
    • Mild laxative
    • Cough suppressant/expectorant
    • Cough drops
    • Antacid
    • Antifungal and antibacterial ointments or creams
    • 1% hydrocortisone cream
  • Supplies to prevent illness or injury
    • Insect repellent containing DEET (30%-50%) or picaridin (up to 15%)
    • Sunscreen (preferably SPF 15 or greater) that has both UVA and UVB protection
    • Antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
    • Lubricating eye drops
  • First-aid supplies
    • First aid quick reference card
    • Basic first-aid items (bandages, gauze, ace bandage, antiseptic, tweezers, scissors, cotton-tipped applicators)
    • Moleskin for blisters
    • Aloe gel for sunburns
    • Digital thermometer
    • Oral rehydration solution packets
  • Health insurance card (either your regular plan or supplemental travel health insurance plan) and copies of claim forms
Other important items

Plan ahead for illnesses or injuries during your trip and know what to do if you become sick or injured

BE PROTECTED!

It is important to practice healthy behaviors during your trip

  • Use sunscreen and insect repellent as directed.
  • Be careful about food and water. Be mindful of foods that are rinsed with water
  • Try not to take risks with your health and safety.
  • Limit alcohol intake, and do not drink alcohol and drive.
  • Wear a seatbelt.
  • Wear protective gear when doing adventure activities.

For more information on safe travel information, check out the Center for Disease Control website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/common-travel-health-topics

Source: Center for Disease Control

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/survival-guide

Prepared by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, FCS, Wood County

Reviewed by: Daniel T. Remley, MSPH, PhD, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist.Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

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Beautiful Winter Snow Scene

Wintertime…….. Snow, Skiing, Sledding, Ice and Survival
It is a new year and now is a good time to plan for an emergency. It is better to be ready for the winter or an emergency BEFORE it happens.  What should you include in your emergency kit?
According to www.ready.gov, a basic emergency supply kit should include the following items:
Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days, for drinking and sanitation
Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
Battery-powered or and crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Dust masks to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Manual can opener for food
Local maps
Cell phone with chargers, inverters or solar energy
Additional items may be needed if you have an infant or family member who is on a medication. Think about your family when planning your kit. Go to http://www.ready.gov/winter for more information. You will find additional ideas for your emergency kit.

Prepare for Winter    What about your car? 

If you live in an area where winter visits you, there are basic supplies that you need to put in your car.  In an emergency, it may just save your life.  Take a few minutes to gather these items and put them in a tote in your car.

  Winter Storm Survival Kit for Cars

Keep the following items in your car during the winter. Make sure you do not leave without them:

  • blankets/sleeping bags
  • high-calorie, non-perishable food (granola, nuts, candy bar)
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • knife
  • extra clothing to keep dry
  • a large empty can and plastic cover with tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes
  • a smaller can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water;
  • sack of sand (or cat litter)
  • shovel
  • windshield scraper and brush
  • tool kit
  • tow rope
  • booster cables
  • water container
  • compass
  • road maps

Take these simple steps to Resolve to be Ready.  In an emergency, you will be glad you did!

Writer:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources: http://www.ready.gov/winter

http://www.fema.gov/

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/disaster/winter/ws_surv.html

Emergency Kit

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