Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

"Developing Understanding Through Studying Abroad" by Porter Reim

By Annie Gibson

I am handing over my blog on the CIAPA Experience to the students participating in the program. This way you all can have a better idea of what life is like for a student at CIAPA. This blog entry is written by Porter Reim. He is a freshman student who has begun his first semester of Tulane at CIAPA in Costa Rica 2012. Pura Vida, Professor Gibson

By Porter Reim

One of the primary reasons students choose to study abroad is to experience and learn about a different culture. While this is of course a wonderful reason, something Iâ’‘¬’“¢ve learned that is equally important is studying abroad teaches you how to experience a different culture. Even though the other students and I have only been in Costa Rica for six weeks, we have learned a great deal about Costa Rica, but more importantly, have learned a great deal about how to learn. Since our arrival, we have been working in two local schools with Fundación Acción Joven, an organization that encourages performance in school and emphasizes the importance of education. We first approached the students with some apprehension and unfamiliarity, but have since connected and learned how similar our two groups are. As we teach them English, they teach us all you need to connect is a positive attitude and something to talk about. Little is off limits in the connected world we live in, and many of the students have the same interests as us. Although we may fall out of contact with some of these students, we will continue to use the skills we learned, just as they will use the English they learned.

Recently, we traveled to Rara Avis, a lodge and research center stationed deep in the jungle for a weekend of experiencing nature. A group of German biology students who were conducting research came the same weekend, and we shared all of our meals with them. Although we could have stayed within ourselves, we used our opportunities to become friends with the Germans and learn more about them. Because we kept open minds and developed relationships with them, they shared with us the interesting animals and insects they found. On two different nights, they allowed us to examine up close rare bats that had been caught. Because we were open-minded, we received an opportunity few people will have. However, those werenâ’‘¬’“¢t the only new opportunities that I had. While swimming in a pool at the base of a waterfall, I decided to leap off a very high rock. Initially I did not want to and was very scared, but finally jumped anyways. I knew it was safe and I knew that people had done it before me, and would do it after me. All it took was that willingness on my part. I enjoyed the experience immensely, and climbed back up and jumped off two more times. I will never forget how much I didnâ’‘¬’“¢t want to jump, but I will also never forget how glad I am I did. It is often making that first metaphorical, or literal, jump that is the hardest, and studying abroad takes students out of their comfort zones to find how enjoyable the unfamiliar can be. Finally, besides teaching how to act when experiencing a culture, studying abroad also teaches how to act when others are experiencing your culture. Being a minority in a foreign country, I became aware of how foreigners must feel in my country. My idea of what is a custom or tradition widen greatly, and it became clear how much of day to day life is affected by one custom or another. Although I have only been in Costa Rica for six out of fourteen weeks, I have already learned innumerable lessons for engaging other cultures, and helping others engage my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Annie Gibson

    Administrative Assistant Professor - Department of Global Education

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Virtual Summer Teacher Institute: Central America People & Environment

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The 2020 summer teacher institute is the second in a four-year series that will explore Central America with a focus on people and environment. Hosted online by the University of Georgia (UGA), the 2020 Virtual Summer Institute will highlight diverse topics related to Central America and provide teacher participants with training in Instructional Conversations (IC) pedagogy, pioneered by faculty in UGA‘€™s College of Education. Teachers will work together in virtual breakout groups to develop shared, subject-specific IC lessons based on institute content and corresponding to grade appropriate educational standards. Teachers and organizers will also explore ways of integrating digital tools and technologies to facilitate and improve education via online formats.

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The institute is ideal for educators of high school and community college, and pre-service students teaching History, World Geography, Science, and Environmental Science. This four-year series of institutes is sponsored by the Centers for Latin American Studies at The University of Georgia, Vanderbilt University, and Tulane University. Register Now.

Questions? Contact Derek Bentley [dbent@uga.edu].

Coronavirus and Latin America: Education in Mexico and Argentina

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Public Webinar – Requires Advanced Registration

Join us for an informal online conversation with Vanderbilt Humphrey Fellowship Program scholars about the impact of Coronavirus on education in Mexico and Argentina. Patricia Garcia, former Executive Director of Misiones Rurales Argentina, and Maika Maria Dorantes Moguel, supervisor of primary education for the Secretary of Public Education in Yucatan, Mexico, will explore how the education systems of their countries have responded to the COVID-19 crisis. This one-hour program will focus on the challenges and opportunities for both government and non-government educational organizations, particularly in rural areas of Mexico and Argentina. The conversation will be held in English and moderated by Dr. Nancy Dickson, Humphrey Fellowship Program Director, and followed by an open Q&A with webinar participants.

Advanced Registration Required. All registered participants will receive the Zoom link on June 15.
This webinar is the second of the series “Coronavirus and Latin America” sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University.

Global Read Webinar Series 2020

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Diverse Books for the K-12 Classroom
February – June 2020 – All webinars are 6 PM CST
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Once a month, the World Area Book Awards (Américas Award, Africana Book Award, Freeman Book Award, Middle East Book Award, and the South Asia Book Award) will sponsor a 60-minute webinar on a book recognized by one of the awards. Each webinar features a presentation by an award-winning author with discussion on how to incorporate multicultural literature into the classroom. Please read along with us this spring as we explore the world through these award-winning books. We encourage all readers to join in on the conversations each month and ask the author your own questions live.

Be sure to join the conversation with our webinar hashtag #2020ReadingAcrossCultures. Visit www.internationalizingsocialstudies.blog for more information and to register for free.

  • AFRICAFEBRUARY 26, 2020 Africana Book Award
    Grandpa Cacao, A Tale of Chocolate from Farm to Family by Elizabeth Zunon
  • MIDDLE EASTMARCH 18, 2020 Middle East Book Award
    Darius the Great is Not OKAY by Adib Khorram
  • SOUTH ASIAAPRIL 14, 2020 – South Asia Book Award
    The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock
  • LATIN AMERICAMAY 11, 2020 – Américas Award
    Auntie Luce‘€™s Talking Paintings by Francie Latour
  • ASIAJUNE 23, 2020 – Freeman Book Award
    Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

All sessions are free and open to the public. Register by visiting internationalizingsocialstudies.org. Sponsored by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, the South Asia National Outreach Consortium, the Middle East Outreach Council, the African Studies Outreach Council, and The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia.

Online Summer Book Group for K-12 Educators

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For pre-service, early career and veteran teachers who love reading and learning through literature who want to explore award-winning books for the middle and early high school classrooms. Join us as we read four books that explore stories of coming-of-age from multiple perspectives. Participants will receive a copy of each book and participate in an open discussion with other K-12 educators. We will launch the book group with The Other Half of Happy. The group will meet online and explore the real story behind this award-winning book with the author Rebecca Balrcárcel. Join us this summer as we discover new stories and books for your classroom.

Register here for $15 (includes all 4 books).

All online Zoom meetings are at 7:00 PM CST.

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Sponsored by the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and AfterCLASS at Tulane University. For more information, please email crcrts@tulane.edu.