Study in Costa Rica immerses students in Spanish, Culture

This past summer I participated in Xavier’s first faculty-led study abroad program and took nine students to San Jose, Costa Rica. Over the course of a year, I and the Center for Intercultural and International Programs planned the trip and recruited students. Nine Xavier students participated in the program: Kamrin Johnson, biology; Saleema Glover, public health; Breona Cole, biology; Kennedi Crosby, bio/chemistry; Faith Joseph, bio/pre-med; Destinee Robinson, biology; Jordan Cowards, bio/pre-med; Tyria Combs, bio/pre-med; and Amber Dominique, psychology/pre-med. The students successfully completed my Spanish 1090 course for three credits and some took Spanish for health professionals at Veritas University for five credits. The students stayed with Costa Rican host families, which gave them the opportunity to be completely immersed in Spanish, learn about Costa Rican culture first hand, and make life- long friends.I made a particular effort to incorporate the ample cultural opportunities available in San Jose into the course and incorporated various types of field trips, guest lectures, and tours of cultural sites after class and on weekends. “Initially, I was fearful of a new environment especially in another country,” Faith Joseph reflected, “but once I landed in San Jose, my fears were alleviated. Each day in Costa Rica was a new chance to truly immerse myself in a new atmosphere. I met people less fortunate than me who had more happiness than I could ever have. “The journey allowed me to strengthen my communicative skills in Spanish. I can definitely see the change in the way I speak now in comparison to my former knowledge of the language.” Students returned to Xavier with enhanced communication skills, more open and flexible mindsets, cultural sensitivity and memories

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