While she could have been back home, heading to a mall with friends, Hinsdale South’s McKinsey Hultmark was more than 2,000 miles away in Costa Rica, gathering dinner.
Hultmark studied abroad during the spring of her sophomore year as part of the American Field Service student exchange program.
“It sounds like a cliché but it was an eye-opener,” Hultmark said. “To not just see it, but to actually live it. It was a poor area and it wasn’t just a mission trip where I’m there for a week and go home."
“I learned what’s important [in life]. When I went there I was stressed out. Everything always had to be perfect. Going down there and having to adjust and knowing nothing was going to go how I planned, I just adjusted. It makes you more relaxed and willing to bend.”
Hultmark attended public school in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica. It was a rural area and the school had a farm where the students worked. Cleaning chickens and butchering cows and pigs was just a part of everyday life.