We are all a part of a global community, whether we think of it that way or not. I am a Spanish teacher, whose love for the language began in high school when I first took Spanish class. I took Spanish every year while in high school. When I graduated I was able to travel to Costa Rica with an AFS study abroad opportunity.
More than 20 years ago, outside of San Jose, Costa Rica, I left a crowd of American, Dutch, and Flemish students and walked up to a family. A family that welcomed me with open arms- even though there was a language barrier as big as the sea. This amazing group of people took me to their city. They provided me with an amazing home, and (literally) gave up one of their bedrooms for 6 months. And more than 20 years later I am still connected to them. I am excited about traveling back to Costa Rica to continue our friendship and expand this global connection to my children and their children.
We are fortunate enough to live in a community that offers things like the DLI program in our public schools. My daughter is in her second year learning Spanish daily in the classroom. We don’t want to take this experience for granted, and want to provide as much as we can for her to thrive in this language learning opportunity. This trip abroad will only help her build those language skills that she works on during the school year.
This summer I am taking my three girls to Costa Rica for a month- to immerse them in another culture, language, and family. I am beyond excited about this opportunity, and without having made that initial study abroad after high school, I wouldn’t have been able to make this happen. It will be exciting to see them get to know my host sister’s two girls. I am excited to see them play together and learn languages from each other. I can’t wait to have them experience things like the plaza, or the craziness of the open markets, eating a pipa, or fresh mango from the fruit tree in the yard.
If you get the opportunity- see the world. Meet new people. Make connections. Learn a new language. Broaden your horizons. Teach your children that the world is a diverse place- and that is something to celebrate.