JSU students got the chance to experience Costa Rica this past summer. They were able to explore and view the local customs for a number of weeks.
Organized by Spanish instructor Dr. Pacheco, the tour to third-world Costa Rica was designated as an out-of-the-country opportunity to learn Spanish; and yes, credit hours were granted to participating students.
The trip began in early May, and included students like Alabama resident Michael Megill.
Megill noted that during his weekly stay within the deemed “impoverished” zone, water was not in the “best form;” it was priced much higher than average commodities like alcohol, which sold for one dollar in American currency.
It was not only the aquatic essentials that caught the avid sightseer off-guard. Megill noticed the large presence of construction being done close to where he was staying..
“I believe the [Costa Rican] government is doing a reform on things,” Megill recollected on his sighting of the reconstruction. “I can’t say for certain [if the] construction [is pertaining to any recent government regulation].”
Once students nestled into their respective units, they visited several local spots. Several attendees visited bars; while the drinks garnered excellent reception from students, Megill awakened to a horrendous stomach ache the next morning.
He blamed food from street vendors for his illness, and had trouble finding both a health diagnosis and a credible hospital. It did not take very long for him to speak with a local health official, who informed him that he’d have to “drink” to make his ache go away.
This statement was not surprising to him. Megill said that since alcohol is readily accessible and more affordable than water, strong beverages are often the “go-to” tactics when someone is experiencing minor health problems.
Megill also said that when he and another girl were heading back to their rooms, they spotted a man urinating in an open street; local bystanders continued about their route as if the man’s behavior was normal.
Overall, the students that attended the summer expedition enjoyed and embraced their weekly stay in Costa Rica. After gaining further insight into Hispanic culture, students were very pleased by the experience.
Recently, fellow Spanish instructor Dr. Martinez hinted at a returning summer expedition. This one would either take students to Colombia, or back to Costa Rica. Martinez said that those interested in visiting these Spanish-speaking countries must speak directly to Dr. Pacheco; his office is located in Stone Center.
Jefferson Varner IV