Summer trip may build character, change lives
Connor Coughlin, Staff Writer
May 8, 2013
On May 17, 20 NIC students will be in-route to the Central American country of Guatemala. For two weeks the students will take part in a Spanish cultural immersion program in the historic city of Antigua, a place known for its prolific and well-preserved colonial architecture.
Over the course of their stay, the students will reside with a Guatemalan family and immerse themselves completely into the local culture, speaking no English and studying for four hours a day every day. Out of the 20 students that are going to Guatemala, 11 are taking the course for “Contemporary World Cultures” credit through NIC.
As the second trip of this nature to Guatemala, this will be the first time this course will be taken for credit. Students were given $1,500 in financial aid specifically for the program.
“What better a place to go to for a Spanish cultural course than Guatemala?” said NIC Spanish instructor Scott Estes.
“Just getting to experience another culture will be the coolest thing,” said Corrine Ready, one of the students going on the trip. “I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household and, being gone so long, I’ve lost the ability to speak it fluently. I’m hoping doing this course will help me get it back.”
Aside from the educational purposes of the trip, the student are given the choice of taking optional excursions to further delve themselves into Guatemalan culture, such as watching locals keep alive traditional Mayan weaving processes and visiting a “coffee finca” where they cultivate coffee, one of the country’s largest exports.
The opportunity for volunteer work may be given to the students as well, such as tutoring and working with malnourished children.
“I’ve traveled all around the U.S.” said Joel Rade, another student going on the trip. “Being able to experience another culture makes people in another country a little more real. Instead of isolating ourselves like we tend to do, we can really understand each other as human beings.”