MONROE, La. — Nineteen students and two faculty members at the University of Louisiana Monroe recently took a two-week trip to San Jose, Costa Rica to enhance their Spanish language skills and learn about the culture.
Students attended language classes at the Instituto Profesional de Estudiantes Extranjeros (IPEE), for which they gained academic credit from hours invested in the program.
“The experience in the classroom was very rewarding. The teachers at IPEE were so kind and patient with us even though they spoke little English,” said ULM biology major Grant Gallien.
At least one Spanish course was required before students could become eligible to study in Costa Rica. Prior to their trip, all students participated in five orientation sessions designed to introduce the culture of Costa Rica and the impact of culture shock.
Outside of the classroom, students participated in a number of excursions to the rainforest, an active volcano, insectariums, and other natural exhibits. These excursions helped students experience Costa Rica’s support for preserving natural habitats.
“It was a great learning experience to see the diversity and difference between the plant and animal life of the U.S. and Costa Rica. One of the things I was in awe by is the brilliant and vibrant colors of the different flowers the area had to offer,” said ULM biology major, Jasmine Nguyen.
They also experienced the locals' passion for soccer and strengthened their language abilities through conversations over meals with the local families that hosted them.
“My host family was very welcoming, and staying with them was a great way to learn about the local way of life and get some experience of the local culture,” said Nguyen.
For more information visit ulm.edu/studyabroad/spanish or contact Dr. Ruth Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.