In the summer of 2012, Dominique Hughes had the privilege to study abroad in Santa Ana, Costa Rica. For four weeks, she took highly intensive Spanish courses which were held for eight hours a day, five days a week. Noticing how heavy the workload was for the kitchen workers, Dominique volunteered in the kitchen and assisted in the preparation of meals which were served three times a day to the American students. Aside from school, she spent some of her most memorable moments with her loving host family where she gained firsthand experience in Costa Rican culture, values, traditions and language. Dominique and her family often shopped for groceries together, prepared traditional dishes, washed clothes, met neighbors and even visited a coffee farm. Since learning is a collaborative process, Dominique helped them as they struggled to learn English. She knew that in life some of the most valuable lessons are learned outside of the classroom. If Dominique had not embarked on this journey, she would have never discovered her new found appreciation and respect for second language learners in her country. Never in Dominique’s wildest dreams did she think of receiving the opportunity to learn a language, gaining acceptance into another family and seeing many of the world’s most beautiful attractions in just one unforgettable country, Costa Rica!
CEE Title: Recycle, Reduce, Rethink
Dominique assisted in the creation of Recycle, Reduce, Rethink - an event that focused on the importance of recycling everyday materials, reducing excessive water consumption, and rethinking bottled water usage. She and her team led an informational session on these three topics as well as the history of Earth Day. From personal anecdotes to keynote speakers, the audience walked away with a number of important takeaways related to environmental friendliness.