Jaime Whitaker


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Bio Summary
Cohort Year: 
Home Institution: 
Thiel College
Heinz Programming Area: 
Study Abroad Country: 
Costa Rica
International Experience

Jaime Whitaker traveled to Puntarenas, Costa Rica from May 20 - June 30 2016. While in Costa Rica Jaime took a Spanish class, where she was the only student in the class. Basically she had a personal tutor. She was able to learn basic Spanish speaking skills and developed enough skills to communicate with the locals and her fellow peers in basic conversation. She also took a dance class where she learned some Latin American dances that helped her better understand the culture. Jaime learned Cha Cha Cha, Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, and a native Costa Rican dance called the Coumbia. This was Jaime's favorite class while in Costa Rica because not only was it fun but it helped her feel closer to the culture. During Jaime's stay in Puntarenas, she stayed in a host house with five other people - including, her host parents, a host brother, a host sister, and a host niece. Though Jaime did not spend much time at home, when she did it was a great experience. She ate every meal with her family, and helped with the cleaning of the household. During her time, Jaime also did a lot of traveling. She not only explored Puntarenas but traveled throughout the whole country. Traveling across the country was Jaime's favorite part of her abroad experience. Costa Rica is a beautiful country that Jaime hopes to visit again. She brought home with her not only numerous photos and memories but also a new outlook on life.

Community Engagement Experience
CEE Title: 
Please Excuse My First Language

Please Excuse My First Language was an interactive program where we challenged the language barrier and how to overcome it. We chose four panelists to help with our program, three internationals and one student who traveled abroad to help us with our CEE. Our CEE began with a game of Simon Says lead by our one Spanish professor, Professor Carlson, she led this activity entirely in Spanish. Everyone in the audience seemed very confused and a little aggravated that they didn’t understand what was happening. Next, we had round table discussions, where we placed one of our panelists at each of the four tables to guide the discussion. We had four questions and gave the panelists five minutes to discuss the questions with the small groups. Then we asked people to share their responses to the questions. We did this four times for four different questions. Also, we had our panelists rotate tables each question, so each group had the chance to hear from everyone. During the discussions, Jennifer, Madison, and I also jumped in on the conversations and talked with the groups about our experiences. Once the discussions were over, we had a power point with tips on how to overcome the language barrier. Lastly, Jennifer, Madison, and I discussed our own personal experiences with the language barrier and how we overcame and interesting experiences we had while in our study abroad countries. 

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