This semester, OCCC will partner with Oklahoma Study Abroad to give students the opportunity to study Spanish in the native environment of Costa Rica, in Central America, while also learning to travel on a budget, said Abra Figueroa, modern languages professor.
The trip will cost an estimated $1,450, and will be from May 23 through June 3, said Christian Alyea, trip coordinator
“This will be a travel-enhanced course,” Figueroa said.
“Students can enroll in a three-credit hour class called Spanish for Travelers, but it’s not necessary to enroll to go on the trip.”
In addition to studying Spanish, students will participate in a wide variety of activities designed to showcase the native culture and beauty of Costa Rica, she said.
“We have all kinds of fun things planned for the students. We’ve got excursions to a wildlife preserve, beaches, and waterfalls. We’re going sea kayaking. And we’ll have tours of San José nightlife.”
The trip is open to anyone and students can bring guests, Figueroa said.
The other focus of the trip will be to teach students how to travel abroad inexpensively, said Alyea.
“The big problem with most study abroad programs is that they cost a lot of money and the students don’t really learn anything about how to travel,” Alyea said.
“For instance, on a typical study trip to Rome, students get off the plane and take a taxi to their hotel. But the subway is just a block away, and can be used for half the cost.”
Little things like these are what make it difficult for students to travel on their own, Alyea said.
“Students go on these expensive trips, stay in travelers hotels, and get whisked around from museum to museum on tour buses.”
But. Alyea said, if they try to come back on their own, they don’t know how to use public transportation or find a good hotel.
“So instead of taking the standard approach to college travel, we’ll be showing students how to use native public transportation, and staying in youth hostels.”
Kevin Randall, psychology major, said students should study abroad and not just for the opportunities it brings later in life.
“A lot of the problems with American culture today stem from how narrowly we view the world. Students need this opportunity to get another perspective,” Randall said.
“They need to learn about the bigger world around them. Study abroad gives them that opportunity.”
The deadline to apply for the Costa Rica trip is Feb. 15.
For more information, contact Figueroa at firstname.lastname@example.org or Alyea at email@example.com.