Alicia DiPaolo

International Experience Country:
Costa Rica
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Greensburg

Heinz Programming Area:
Arts and Culture
International Experience Summary:

Alicia DiPaolo studied the language, culture, and arts in San Pedro, Costa Rica during a 5-week summer program. She took two classes: Latin American Literature and Phonetics/Phonology. Outside of classroom she also attended English classes that her professor taught in order to help the Costa Ricans improve their English. In these classes she helped correct the students’ grammar, spoke with them, and helped them understand the language. By speaking with the natives in the classroom she made many new friends that helped her explore the area and experience the culture in a more intimate way. She also experienced the culture by living with a host family. With her friends and host family visited the museums, theaters, and the cultural plaza. Her host family and local friends gave her a window into daily life and customs in the country. She also experienced the religious holiday Feriado de las Vírgenes Ángeles during which she walked 15 miles in 5 hours from San Pedro to Cartago in order to walk into a church on her knees and see the stone of the Virgin Mary. During the weekends she used her time to travel to various locations throughout the country to see the wildlife, how the natives interact with the tourists, and experience the different dialects of language and different customs unique to each area.


Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: One Love: A Conversation on Cultural Tolerance

One Love: A Conversation on Cultural Intolerance was an event that discussed the topic of cultural intolerance through PowerPoint and worksheet, skits performed to show the differences in cultural reactions pertaining to different events, and a panel discussion with questions taken from the audience at the beginning of the event. The worksheet and PowerPoint presentation represented the many different cultures that America is made up of and how we don't realize that. The skits were performed to make people aware of uncomfortable situations by our own culture and other cultures. This showed a "what to do" and "what not to do" in social situations. It also showed that people should be more aware of the cultural differences so as to not be offensive towards them. The last section of our project, the discussion panel, was made up of international students on our campus. At the beginning of the event the audience wrote down questions they wanted to know from the panel and we asked the panel these questions. This had the largest impact on the audience because it brought the issue in front of them and made it relevant to their lives instead of something happening out in the world somewhere. We then provided more information on how not to be biased and how to become more away of cultures in America