A group of 18 Catawba students are currently embarking on an adventure of a lifetime in Costa Rica as they study Spanish and travel the country for 4 weeks in exchange for 6 Spanish credits. During the week the students go to class and learn in groups of 3-4 from professional Spanish teachers who are from Costa Rica. After class students stay with host families to experience a complete immersion in the language and culture.
On the weekends students travel to various landmarks throughout the country to experience both the animals and physical beauties of Costa Rica.To name a few during the trip, students will zip line over a mile in a rain forest, visit both the Caribbean and Pacific sides of the country, experience an active volcano first hand while swimming in the hot springs it provides, visit the capital city museum and theatre, take a boat to snorkel Quepos islands, beach with the monkeys at a national park on the pacific side, swim in one of the tallest waterfalls in Central America and dance the night away at a salsa Costa Rican event. Funds given by a donor at the college enabled the group to experience many of these that normally would not have been possible otherwise.
Catawba College has been taking students to Costa Rica for these experiences for exactly 20 years (Program started in 1995!) with now over 300 student participants. With a recently renewed partnership between the Spanish school in Costa Rica and Catawba's International Center, the hope is that this program will continue to thrive in the future for many more years. This makes the 4th time Ben Smith, Dean of Students, has been the on-site logistics director. This trip is accompanied by a female supervisor also from Student Affairs, Kara Ostlund, who serves as the College's Housing Director.
Chase Loudin, a current student participant, expresses one of his experiences so far as he states, "Talk about immersing with the culture! Tonight we had the privilege to experience an amazing tradition that takes place every time our town's soccer team wins the national championship. All the players and coaches gather in the church in Heredia and praise God for their win, then everyone parades through the streets and follows the team into the stadium. Overall I got two signatures for my jersey and one great cultural experience! Pure Vida!
Follow the students as they post their pictures daily at www.facebook.com/CatawbaCollegeCostaRica.