By Amber Hart
Staff reporter

What are you doing for Christmas break? Sitting around your parent’s house? Going on vacation? Sleeping it all away? Why do that when you could go to Costa Rica for nine days? If you are a student and are interested here is some information that you might need.

George Gangwere, professor of physics, is in charge of this project. He has been on student trips before and enjoyed them. The trip is open to all Southwestern students, staff, relatives and community members. Students are able to get help from the Financial Aid Office. Students may have the trip paid off by March 2012 or the office will work with you on payments.

“My wife and I enjoy traveling,” said Gangwere.

Gangwere had originally chose Australia as his trip in the spring of 2011 but that was cancelled due to not enough students and community members singed up. Also, the international airfare there was too expensive. His traveling agency suggested Costa Rica. It was closer, cheaper, and Gangwere has never been to Costa Rica.

“I am afraid that the trip might not happen,” said Gangwere. “To get the price package that I was offered, $1775 per person excluding airfare, I would need 17 people to sign up or else the trip price would go up and more people would no longer be interested.”

Depending on the best airfare rate that Gangwere will get will also determine the day the he will leave for the trip. The dates that he has chosen when he would like to leave are either Dec. 26, 27, or 28. Other than the airfare and the entire trip, the goers will have to pay for lunch, supper, and any souvenirs. Lodging, breakfast, and travel are all included in the trip price.

Before the trip is booked there will be a one hour class once a week to learn about Costa Rica.

“I’ve learned that by learning about a place that you are about to travel to is a good way to get familiar with everything that’s going on,” said Gangwere. “Knowing about the area when you get there will make the experience a whole bunch more fun and exciting than just going not knowing anything.”

As well as learning all new stuff about a country and then visiting, students also get one credit hour for the class and going on the trip.

While on the trip there will be activities that get you up and moving and that you will learn from as well. All activities are optional. The types of activities that Gangwere knows of currently are going to an active volcano and learning about it, visiting a banana and coffee plantation, swim in the hot springs, hike through the rain forest, walk the rope bridge in the canopy of the rain forest to see the animals, visit a small village, go to the pacific coast to visit the national park, go on a crocodile safari, go to the said to be best and most beautiful beach in Costa Rica on the pacific coast, go snorkeling at the beach, and zip lining.

“When I get the trip booked I will get an official itinerary with all of the activities and stops that we are to take,” said Gangwere.

At the banana and coffee plantation the students will learn everything about the plantation and even may take part in the plantation activities.

Gangwere still needs about 10 to11 more people. If you are interested in this trip please contact Gangwere at

Amber Hart is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at