A.M. Costa Rica/Audrey Anne
The author, fifth from the
left, and fellow students at the Festival de las Artes
has an edge in attracting language students
By Abigail Reese*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica
Students across the United States are flocking to Costa Rica to study
Spanish. International students enrolled in Costa Rica’s universities
and schools said they chose to study here not only because of the
impressive biodiversity and countless volunteer opportunities but
because they were also interested in shoring up their language skills
and possibly their resumes.
Bethany Fredrick from Marian University in Wisconsin chose to study
Spanish because of Costa Rica’s clean form of the language and
excellent programs. When Ms. Fredrick was searching for a language
program, she found that Costa Rica has more than 60 different
universities and schools that offer them, and, three are in the top 10
of all Latin American institutions. As a Spanish major, she said she
felt that the experience of studying abroad would be useful in
obtaining a job after graduation.
The likelihood of this happening is well within her reach. According to
a recent report by University of California at Merced, 97 percent of
study abroad students found employment within 12 months of graduation,
when only 49 percent of college graduates found employment in the same
period. Moreover, 25 percent of students obtained higher starting
salaries, which on average equated to $7,000 more annually than other
students who had not studied abroad, the report said.
Halle Mar from Bethel University in Minnesota also said that the
ability to speak Spanish will prove useful for her job search in the
future. “Spanish is a very valuable language because it’s growing in
the United States,” she said. “It’s possible that within the next five
to 10 years, Spanish will be the second official language of America.”
With well over 35 million Spanish speakers in the United States and 40
percent of the population growth being among Hispanics, more Americans
seem interested in improving their language skills. Besides her
interest in learning Spanish, Ms. Mar also chose to study abroad in
Costa Rica because she heard it was a country where she could easily
get plugged into Christian ministry work. Outside of academic course
work, Ms. Halle volunteers at Youth With a Mission to help distribute
Bible school programs in San José communities.
A huge concern for parents of students studying abroad is finding a
country where safety is assured. This past year, Mexico experienced a
42 percent drop of study abroad students due to drug violence. On the
other hand, Costa Rica ranks as the lowest Latin American country for
homicides, said the Central Data Report, citing the U. N. Office on
Drugs and Crime.
Costa Rica also sell its environmental awareness to international
students, as it ranks as the number one Latin American nation in terms
of ecotourism. Stephanie Woo said she came to Costa Rica to
experience the country’s natural beauty.
The environmental studies major from the University of Denver was
enthusiastic about exploring the outdoor biodiversity and learning more
about ecotourism. Ms. Woo said she chose Veritas University because she
was “interested in environmental issues and the program had some
relevant and interesting classes offered.” Through her ecology courses,
she has had the opportunity to visit the mountains, rain forest, and
volcanoes of Costa Rica.
Even those who are not concerned with environmental issues can
appreciate Costa Rica’s scenery. Senior Mohammad Hadi, studying
international relations in Colorado, also expressed his enjoyment of
Costa Rica’s scenery. “The natural beauty is amazing here,” he said. “I
love nature and you can have it in its purest form out here.” In
addition to Costa Rica’s pure nature, Hadi also commented on the Pura
Vida lifestyle innate to Costa Rica’s identity. He said he appreciates
how people in Costa Rica are laid back and easy going.
Another reason students cited for studying in Costa Rica was for easy
and accessible travel through Central America.
The capital city of San José is wonderful, but there are so many
other beautiful sights to see outside of the metro area, said student
Diamond Davis, who traveled to Panamá last weekend. Ms. Diamond
said her favorite part was experiencing the amazing food of patacones
* Miss Reese, a senior at
Wheaton College in Illinois, also is a Spanish language student at
Veritas University in Zapote.
of Judas will feed the flames this weekend
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Judas Iscariot is remembered as the apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ
with a kiss. He also is a controversial and enigmatic figure who is
varingly considered possessed by the Devil, doing God's will or even,
as one Medieval manuscript has it, a person who replaced Christ on the
Judas is the person who has injected 30
pieces of silver into nearly every language in the world as the
price of betrayal.
All these theological complexities will be lost on the Costa Rican
youngsters who take to the streets Friday to hang effigies of the
damned apostle and then burn him Saturday night.
Fuerza Pública officers try to stop these excesses.
They reported Wednesday that last year officers
persons participating in the traditional quema de judas and that they
confiscated 38 effigies.
The tradition is widespread. Police said there were
446 known incidents last year with 300 taking place in the central
canton of Heredia alone.
There were 20 arrests in Heredia, 15 in Alajuela and eight in San
Part of the problem is that gangs in the street are likely to burn
other things beside the effigy, including vehicles.
No paper tomorrow
A.M. Costa Rica will not be published tomororw, Good Friday, a legal
holiday. This is one of the three weekdays that the newspaper is
not published in the year.
|Costa Rica Real Estate Experts
Re/Max Ocean Surf: The experts in buying
property in Costa Rica, with more than 17 years experience and the
largest networked team of agents in the country. We can help you
learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key,
educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you
more about Costa Rica properties including condos, homes, lots
and commercial real estate. Call now at
011 (506) 2653-0073.