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:

I’m a sophomore, so I’ve already spent a year at Tulane. I knew this semester at CIAPA would be different; I’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 we’ve gotten to know each very well; we’re like a make-shift family. This makes my job as RA pretty easy. Every once in awhile we’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; it’s much easier to find a place to study here, and I’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 Tulane’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 Reginelli’s, volunteer at the Children’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, I’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, we’ve experienced the night life several times visiting roller rinks and bars. During the day, we’ve gone on guided tours through the city. I’ve also explored San José on my own. As directionally challenged as I am, I’ve even been able to find museums, parks, and cafes on my own. Any day I’m not able to leave CIAPA to explore and experience San José, I’m very disappointed. I can’t believe how many experiences I missed out on staying in Tulane’s bubble, and I plan to drag my friends into New Orleans next semester.

I’ve also gained more independence and discipline. I can take taxis and buses by myself in a different language. I’ve also planned weekend trips without the help of my parents or coaches for the first time. Also, I don’t have a roommate this semester to help me wake-up, and I need to manage my finances more carefully since I’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 we’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, I’ll have a much different perspective. I’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.


  • Annie Gibson

    Administrative Assistant Professor - Department of Global Education





All Events

Upcoming Events

Dennis A. Georges Lecture in Hellenic Culture

View Full Event Description

Join Dr. Emily Greenwood as she will be speaking about Greek language/literature, slavery, and the “politics of the human” when she delivers the Dennis A. Georges Lecture in Hellenic Culture.

Emily Greenwood is Professor and Chair of the Classics Department at Yale University where she also holds a joint appointment in African American Studies. She is one of the pre-eminent thinkers on Greek historiography of her generation as well as the leading figure in re-evaluating the legacy of Graeco-Roman culture in colonial and post-colonial contexts. In addition to her book Afro-Greeks: Dialogues Between Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Classics in the Twentieth Century (Oxford 2010) [Joint winner of the Runciman Prize], she has published over a dozen articles and book chapters that investigate the rich and nuanced reception of ancient Greek literature in the African Diaspora, especially in Caribbean literature.

Newcomb Art Museum to host María José de la Macorra and Eric Peréz for Gallery Talk

View Full Event Description

Join us at the Newcomb Art Museum in welcoming Mexican artists María José de la Macorra and Eric Peréz for a noontime gallery talk as they discuss the current exhibition Clay in Transit: Contemporary Mexican Ceramics (which features works by María José de la Macorra) and the focus and process of their work. The talk is free and open to the public.

The Newcomb Art Museum is featuring two ceramic exhibitions entitled Clay in Transit featuring contemporary Mexican ceramics and Clay in Place featuring Newcomb pottery and guild plus other never-before-exhibited pieces from the permanent collection.The exhibit presents the work of seven Mexican-born sculptors who bridge the past and present by creating contemporary pieces using an ancient medium. The exhibit will feature works by Ana Gómez, Saúl Kaminer, Perla Krauze, María José Lavín, María José de la Macorra, Gustavo Pérez, Paloma Torres.

Exhibition curator and artist Paloma Torres explains, “In this contemporary moment, clay is a borderline. It is a material that has played a critical role in the development of civilization: early man used clay not only to represent spiritual concerns but also to hold food and construct homes.” While made of a primeval material, the exhibited works nonetheless reflect the artists’ twenty-first-century aesthetics and concerns as well as their fluency in diverse media—from painting and drawing to video, graphic design, and architecture.

The exhibit will run from January 18, 2018, through March 24, 2018. For more information on the exhibit and the artists, please visit the Newcomb Art Museum’s website.

Clay in Transit is presented in collaboration with the Consulate of Mexico.

The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Jennifer Wooster (NC ’91), Lora & Don Peters (A&S ’81), Newcomb College Institute of Tulane University, Andrew and Eva Martinez, and the Newcomb Art Museum advisory board

Why Marronage Still Matters: Lecture with Dr. Neil Roberts

View Full Event Description

What is the opposite of freedom? Dr. Neil Roberts answers this question with definitive force: slavery, and from there he unveils powerful new insights on the human condition as it has been understood between these poles. Crucial to his investigation is the concept ofmarronage—a form of slave escape that was an important aspect of Caribbean and Latin American slave systems. Roberts examines the liminal and transitional space of slave escape to develop a theory of freedom as marronage, which contends that freedom is fundamentally located within this space.In this lecture, Roberts will explore how what he calls the “post-Western” concept and practice of marronage—of flight—bears on our world today.

This event is sponsored by the Kathryn B. Gore Chair in French Studies, Department of French and Italian.
For more information contact Ryan Joyce at or Fayçal Falaky at

Bate Papo! Practice your Portuguese and enjoy some Brazilian treats: kibe

View Full Event Description

Bate Papo! Try a bit of Brazil’s Middle Eastern flavor with these kibe treats. This event is sponsored by TULASO and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. Admission is free. All levels welcome. For more information, please contact Megwen at

Bate Papo! Practice your Portuguese and enjoy some Brazilian treats: bolo de aipim

View Full Event Description

Bate Papo! Drop by the LBC mezzanine floor for a slice of manioc sponge cake. We will be spread out across the green couches so come by to take a load off and chat for a bit. This event is sponsored by TULASO and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. Admission is free. All levels welcome. For more information, please contact Megwen at

Bate Papo! Practice your Portuguese and enjoy some Brazilian treats: Romeo & Julieta

View Full Event Description

Bate Papo! Join us once again in the LBC mezzanine area to sample the most romantic treat in all of Brazil: Romeo & Julieta. Never heard of it? Come give it a try! It is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before… This event is sponsored by TULASO and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. Admission is free. All levels welcome. For more information, please contact Megwen at