University of Pittsburgh | JohnstownHeinz Programming Area:
Heather Little attended classes at Veritas University in San, Jose, Costa Rica for five weeks through the organization American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS). While there, she studied Basic Spanish 1 and completed the environmental studies course Environmental Impact and Social Development. Her classes allowed to her to learn about the Costa Rican culture by exposing her to the language and current environmental issues the country faces. With her Spanish class she traveled to Cartago to celebrate “The Day of the Saint” (“La Senora De Las Angeles” or “La Negrita”) where millions of people make a pilgrimage, many by foot, to the Basilica. Heather was a part of three class fieldtrips through her Environmental Impact and Social Development course. She toured CAPRI, a family-owned recycling plant in downtown San Jose, visited and learned about an indigenous tribe in the rural area around San Jose and lastly visited Biolley where she met and conversed with the women of ASOMOBI who produce coffee, a considerable accomplishment for a group of women in Costa Rica, a well known machismo country. In her spare time on the weekends Heather was able to further explore the country through excursions set up by AIFS on the weekends. She traveled to Manuel Antonio National Park on the Atlantic Coast where she hiked through the rain forest and was fortunate enough to see sloths, snakes, white-faced monkeys, caimans and lizards. Heather also traveled to Arenal National park where she was able to see her first volcano, swim in a natural hot spring and climb down a mountainside to view a breathtaking waterfall. At Monteverde National Park, she went on a canopy tour, better known as “zip-lining” and explored the Cloud Forest. What contributed to her learning about the country most was living in a home stay with a Senora and two other American students. Her Senora provided all meals and spent time with her and her peers in the evening, encouraging them to practice their Spanish. Thanks to her Senora, her Spanish improved significantly and she is prepared to take the language to the next level this fall at her University.
CEE Title: Global Initiative for Sustainability