SELAL Reflections: Puerto Jimenez and Bahia Ballena / Uvita

Reflections from a SELAL student in Puerto Jimenez
By Dayana Sanchez

The SELAL program was an incredible experience throughout the 15 days of its duration. This is an ideal program for people interested in sharing languages and culture, and especially for those looking to socialize and interact with others.

During those 15 days, I learned a great deal of vocabulary and had the opportunity to practice my English on a constant basis. The educational tours provided by the program were all incredible and provided a great opportunity to learn, not only about nature but about leadership within different social spheres.

For me, out of all the amazing and unique educational tours we had the opportunity to participate in, the one that stands out as a favorite is the one to Luna Lodge. Not only is this place spectacularly surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Corcovado National Park, but it is filled with its owner and her staff's good vibes and an overall sense of peace. Ms. Lana, the owner, has good vibes to spare! I enjoyed hearing her speak about leadership and the importance of having a positive attitude and perseverance. I also really enjoyed being able to practice yoga at the lodge.

Thank you, Stanford, for this incredible experience.

Local Businesses Support SELAL in Bahia Ballena / Uvita

In July 2017, Bodhi Surf + Yoga had the opportunity to collaborate with the first ever Stanford Environmental Leadership and Language (SELAL) Program hosted in Bahia Ballena-Uvita, in the Osa Peninsula. The program's mission was twofold: 1) to enable youth in Osa and Golfito to have better access to employment within the local "green" economy through increased environmental leadership and improved English language skills, and 2) to enact place-based environmental awareness and leadership through principles of biodiversity and conservation, rural eco-tourism and community sustainable development, in addition to providing connections and possibilities for interaction with local environmental leaders.

As a B Corp-certified business (B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency), Bodhi Surf + Yoga uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, and collaborating with SELAL was a fitting opportunity. The program was able to unite the public and private sectors, introduce youth to local community and business leaders, and increase their English language capacity, all while improving the students' self-confidence. As an employer, connecting with local talent is crucial for our success, and meeting potential employees face-to-face via the SELAL program is priceless. It was an honor to host the group at Bodhi Surf + Yoga, to discuss responsible business practices, introduce them to surfing and yoga the "Bodhi way", answer their questions and concerns, and to feel their connection to the community grow by way of association with us and the other SELAL collaborators.

We look forward to deepening our relationships with SELAL students and collaborators, the Uvita High School, and the greater Bahia Ballena community, in order to solve some of the largest challenges affecting local youth with respect to education and employment.

Thoughts on SELAL by Stephany, from artisan gift shop Artifice in Uvita, Costa Rica:

"I am personally grateful to the SELAL initiative. I consider it a very powerful tool for youth in the stages of finalizing their high-school education. It shows them a reality that is normally excluded from the academic offer of the public schools in our country. It represents an innovative proposal that responds to a very real supply and demand. With this program, I can envision very satisfactory results for the community and the local economy in the short, medium, and long term."