Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

"RA blog" written by Amanda McLearn-Montz

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 Currin Wallis. She is a freshman student who has begun her first semester of Tulane at CIAPA in Costa Rica 2012. Pura Vida, Professor Gibson

Amanda’s blog:

Iâ’‘¬’“¢m a sophomore, so Iâ’‘¬’“¢ve already spent a year at Tulane. I knew this semester at CIAPA would be different; Iâ’‘¬’“¢d be learning more Spanish and would be taking a break from my pre-med classes. However, I never imagined just how different this semester at CIAPA would be.

This is my first semester as a Residential Adviser, and it is very different than the semesters other first-time RAs are having. I only have five residents, so I know so much more about them than their names, years, and potential majors. We spend so much time together that weâ’‘¬’“¢ve gotten to know each very well; weâ’‘¬’“¢re like a make-shift family. This makes my job as RA pretty easy. Every once in awhile weâ’‘¬’“¢ll have some blips (stomach flu, stolen pizza, minor conflicts), but it always works out.

Residential life is also extremely different. The food is 100% better than Bruff, and the cooks have become our friends. Campus is so peaceful; itâ’‘¬’“¢s much easier to find a place to study here, and Iâ’‘¬’“¢m not woken up by drunks singing at 2:00 a.m. the night before an exam. It is also convenient to be a five-minute walk away from most of my classes. All the workers here are friendly and let me practice my Spanish with them. Best of all, the campus here is just as beautiful as Tulaneâ’‘¬’“¢s; it has sculptures, flowers, great architecture, and a gorgeous wooded area with a brook.

Being here has also taught me to not live in the college bubble. At Tulane, many of us students stay in our Tulane bubble which consists of campus, college bars, and fraternity houses. I did leave this bubble to work at Reginelliâ’‘¬’“¢s, volunteer at the Childrenâ’‘¬’“¢s Hospital, volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club, and row at Bayou St. John and regattas in other states. Despite getting off campus, I never truly explored New Orleans. When I hung out with my friends, we would stay on campus or go to the normal Tulane places, and I would go straight to my destination and back when I left campus for work or volunteering. Here, in San José, Iâ’‘¬’“¢ve been much more immersed in the city. We take the buses to the University of Costa Rica three times a week for Spanish class. Then, weâ’‘¬’“¢ve experienced the night life several times visiting roller rinks and bars. During the day, weâ’‘¬’“¢ve gone on guided tours through the city. Iâ’‘¬’“¢ve also explored San José on my own. As directionally challenged as I am, Iâ’‘¬’“¢ve even been able to find museums, parks, and cafes on my own. Any day Iâ’‘¬’“¢m not able to leave CIAPA to explore and experience San José, Iâ’‘¬’“¢m very disappointed. I canâ’‘¬’“¢t believe how many experiences I missed out on staying in Tulaneâ’‘¬’“¢s bubble, and I plan to drag my friends into New Orleans next semester.

Iâ’‘¬’“¢ve also gained more independence and discipline. I can take taxis and buses by myself in a different language. Iâ’‘¬’“¢ve also planned weekend trips without the help of my parents or coaches for the first time. Also, I donâ’‘¬’“¢t have a roommate this semester to help me wake-up, and I need to manage my finances more carefully since Iâ’‘¬’“¢m not working a job this semester. Most of all, I have to stay in shape for the rowing team without scheduled team practices or a coach to hold me accountable.

My favorite part of this experience has to be all of the traveling. All of our trips have increased my love of traveling, and I feel so blessed to see all the places weâ’‘¬’“¢ve already been. Some of these places, like Monteverde and Rara Avis, are being severely affected by climate change and will probably change significantly during my lifetime, resulting in specie extinctions. The trips let our classes come to life because we are able to see Costa Rican life, culture, art, and environment firsthand. Because of the trips, our classes are more meaningful.

This experience has changed my life, and I expect it to for the next two months. When I go back to Tulane, Iâ’‘¬’“¢ll have a much different perspective. Iâ’‘¬’“¢ll explore more, take advantage of more opportunities, and be a more understanding person. And I will count down the days until I can return to Latin America. I have fallen in love with Latin America, and I hope one day I can serve as a doctor in this amazing place.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Annie Gibson

    Administrative Assistant Professor - Department of Global Education

BLOG AUTHORS & RECENT POSTS

LATEST SITE UPDATES

All Events

Upcoming Events

Online Summer Book Group for K-12 Educators

View Full Event Description

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.

SCHEDULE

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

Central America, People and the Environment Educator Institute 2021

View Full Event Description

This summer educator institute is the third institute in a series being offered by Tulane University, The University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University. This series of institutes is designed to enhance the presence of Central America in the K-12 classroom. Each year, participants engage with presenters, resources and other K-12 colleagues to explore diverse topics in Central America with a focus on people and the environment.

While at Tulane, the institute will explore the historic connections between the United States and Central America focusing on indigenous communities and environment while highlighting topics of social justice and environmental conservation. Join us to explore Central America and teaching strategies to implement into the classroom.

Additional details and registration will be available in the late fall 2020. For more information, please email dwolteri@tulane.edu or call 504.865.5164.