Rachel Nard

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

Chatham University

Heinz Programming Area:
International Experience Summary:

During the summer 2008, specifically June 8-July 5, I studied at the Institute for Central American Developments Studies (ICADS) in Costa Rica.  At ICADS I participated in the Spanish Immersion Language Program, which consisted of four weeks of intensive immersion in Spanish developing speaking skills, while learning about the cultural, social, political and environmental aspects of Costa Rica. As such, I had Spanish class from 8:00-12:00 each day, followed by lectures and activities which focused on the aforementioned areas. This program also focused intensely on community involvement by providing students with opportunities to volunteer in social service agencies and community centers. Specifically, students in the immersion program served in places such as Comedor San Lazaro, a community soup kitchen for families living in the mountainous region outside San Jose, Costa Rica.  This program also included living arrangements with a host family, which was a fantastic and equally educational experience. Additionally, students were encouraged to travel to different parts of the country during the weekends. The above picture was taken after ziplining at Arenal Volcano.  During the fifty-minute Ecoglide, or ziplining experience, I was able to see several species of monkeys and birds.  This entire experience was wonderfully enriching, as I had the opportunity to constantly speak and practice Spanish, and to learn about the social, political and environmental intricacies of Costa Rica.