Spanish Immersion and Volunteering in San Jose Costa Rica by Megan Durham

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Spanish Immersion and Volunteering in San Jose Costa Rica by Megan Durham

  1. 1. Background Intensive Month Spanish Language Program Project Outcomes (May 5th-June 2nd) In the summer of 2012, I went on the orientation trip to Turkey with the 2016 Brown Fellows. This was my first international trip. In the fall of 2012, I began my undergraduate career at the University of Louisville as a biology and psychology double major. In the spring semester of 2013, I began studying Spanish at the university level with the hopes of obtaining a Spanish minor. I used this semester to plan my study abroad trip. My first four weeks in Costa Rica were spent at Veritas University in Zapote, San Jose, Costa Rica. I participated in the Intensive Month Spanish Language Program through International Studies Abroad (ISA) My class, Basic Grammar and Conversation II, met for a total of 80 contact hours in which we did classwork, oral presentations, quizzes, exams, and field trips. This program was intended to elevate my Spanish skills to an intermediate level. Through the curriculum and the Spanish immersion at my homestay, my Spanish language skills were improved immensely. • Improved Spanish language skills in the classroom and earned credit towards a Spanish minor at the University of Louisville • Immersion in the Costa Rican culture and the Spanish language through homestays with two different families • Applied Spanish skills in a practical setting at Hogar Infantil de Maria • Gained an understanding of international volunteer organizations and enjoyed time volunteering with the children • Gained a new cultural understanding from living and working with people from all over the world. Childcare Volunteer Program (June 2nd-June 15th) Abstract This project was primarily intended to improve my Spanish language skills. I was considering a Spanish minor at the university, and several of the medicallybased programs I wanted to do for my future enrichment projects required intermediate Spanish skills. So to prepare myself for future projects and to advance my studies, I studied abroad for Spanish in Costa Rica through an Intensive Month Program at Veritas University in Zapote, San Jose, Costa Rica. I also went to Costa Rica with the intent to do volunteer work. For two weeks after my Intensive Month Program finished, I worked in an orphanage called Hogar Infantil de Maria in San Pedro, San Jose, Costa Rica through International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) My last two weeks in Costa Rica were spent putting my newlyimproved language skills to the test. I worked at an orphanage called Hogar Infantil de Maria in San Pedro, San Jose, Costa Rica. The orphanage housed ten children, ages one to five. I was in charge of planning and organizing activities for the children, both indoors and outdoors. In my time spent at the orphanage, no English was spoken, nor in my homestay. This time spent practicing my Spanish in a practical setting was very beneficial to my language learning, and I was grateful to have the Spanish skills to be able to interact with the children. Future Goals By improving my Spanish skills while abroad, more potential enrichment project opportunities have become available to me. I plan on continuing my work in Spanish speaking countries, but would like to focus more on my pre-medical focus in future projects. Some ideas I am considering are: • Medical internships in either Argentina, Peru, or Spain • Interning at the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center • Biological research in Panama Special Thanks This project would not have been possible without the help of Andrew Grubb and Dr. Adel Elmaghraby (University of Louisville), Virginia Hosono (University of Louisville International Center), Maria Belen Jimenez (ISA On-Site, Costa Rica), and Mario Solis (Maximo Nivel On-Site, Costa Rica).

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