There are many ways to honor the game of lacrosse.....Serving others is just another great way! Recently Brad (Bishop Eustace '13) and Alec (St. Augustine Prep '16) Iula completed a lacrosse Service Mission in Costa Rica bringing their love of the sport to the children in Samara, Costa Rica. We are very proud of them!
Spotlight on Brad Iula
Brad Iula is from Medford, New Jersey and attends Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There, he studies International Business and plays on the club lacrosse team. An avid participant, Brad expanded his involvement in lacrosse as he traveled to Costa Rica with Student Cultural Exchange. His journey there gave him memories and experiences which he shared with us. His recollections of Costa Rica and his experience there are one of a kind, keep reading to learn more!
￼What is your hometown and country? Is there anything special about its history or geography?
I live in Medford, New Jersey and my town is situated in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. There is nothing too spectacular about my town. It became an official township on March 1, 1847 and is situated in the middle of the woods where the "New Jersey Devil" roams but I personally have never seen the "New Jersey Devil."
What is your favorite local restaurant and favorite dish at that restaurant? What about your favorites dishes that your Mom or Dad cooks at home?
My favorite restaurant in Medford is called Femmina Italian Grill and my favorite dish from there is chicken Marsala. My dad is also a great cook. He cooks pretty much everything and I've never had anything from him that disappointed. Moreover, he is known around Medford as having the best meatball and pork sandwiches. He is an unbelievable cook and I'm very lucky to have such great home cooked meals from him.
Do you have a Favorite place to spend time “off the beaten path” in your hometown. Why?
In my hometown, I don't really have a particular favorite place that I like to spend my free time. There are not many places to go since the town is basically all woods.
What do you do with your friends for fun when you go home? What are some cool activities?
When I'm with my friends we kind of just hang out and relax. We will watch some football and eat some of my dad's awesome meatball or pork sandwiches. Sometimes we will go down to my beach house in Ocean City, New Jersey. A big thing in the area that we do is go to wing night. My friends and I try and go to PJ Whelihans every Tuesday for their half priced wings.
What did you learn most from Costa Rica? What surprised you the most about the trip?
What I learned most from my trips to Costa Rica would probably be the Costa Rican culture. I've been to other countries before, but solely just for vacation. I didn't really take the time to learn about the culture of the country that I was visiting. In Costa Rica, when working with the kids and community, I was really able to understand their lifestyle and what they love and enjoy. It was honestly a great learning experience. What surprised me the most about the trip was that a simple game of lacrosse could bring two totally different cultures together. I never thought a game could connect people the way that it did. There was a special connection, and I will carry that with me for the rest of my life.
What is the best thing about the Costa Rica? What was the most special thing on the trip?
Quite simply, the country. The country is magnificent and it was like nothing I've ever seen before. The rainforest and ocean were amazing and the storms at night were incredible. I never experienced anything like that before in my life. The most special part was being able teach and spread the game of lacrosse to a country that has never seen or heard of the sport before.
What is the most memorable part about the trip?
The most memorable part of the trip was being able to play lacrosse in the middle of the jungle under the lights on a tiny turf field. It was a really cool experience and a lot of fun.
What was the coolest new thing you tried while in Costa Rica?
The coolest new thing I tried in Costa Rica was zip lining. I never experienced anything like that before, and it was awesome zip lining through a rainforest while hearing the screams of howler monkeys.
What do you miss most about Costa Rica?
I miss waking up to a rainforest every day, and I also miss teaching lacrosse to the Kids in Samara. There is no better feeling than making kids laugh and smile. Teaching those kids was very rewarding and I hope I will be able to go back soon to help out.
What did you enjoy the most in Costa Rica?
Besides teaching the kids and playing lacrosse, I also enjoyed surfing. I'm not the most talented surfer, but surfing in the warm Costa Rican water and attempting to ride the big waves was really awesome. It was nothing like surfing in Ocean City, New Jersey.
What was the best part of Costa Rica? As in, what would you love to see again?
The best part of Costa Rica was when our group jumped off of a waterfall that was in the middle of nowhere. I wish I could go back and do that again because it was the coolest thing I've ever done.
What was most different in Costa Rica relative to your hometown? Was it cultural, political, or different in another way?
Costa Rica is very different from my hometown. The culture is completely different and I'm not waking up to a rainforest and ocean every day. Costa Rica is an amazing place and I am very lucky that I was able to go there, spread the game of lacrosse, do service for the community, and learn of a culture I was unfamiliar with.
How can you sum up your experiences with Student Cultural Exchange?
Being able to work with student cultural exchange was an awesome experience. Jesse and Peter are both great guys and they absolutely love what they are doing. They have a great company and it was an experience that will last a lifetime.
Who’s cooler, Jesse or Peter?
Jesse and Peter are both great guys so it's hard to pick the cooler one. Jesse is a real laid back chill surfer dude while Peter loves lacrosse like me so I would have to say they are both equal. I don't want to pick any favorites. Both great dudes.
For More Info on the SCE Please visit their website HERE.