Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

"CIAPA Early Experience" written by Courtney Smith

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

Courtney’s Blog:

When I was finishing high school, I had no idea what to expect. I wondered what college would be like constantly. After I was accepted into the CIAPA program, I found myself daydreaming about dense, foggy jungles Iâ’‘¬’“¢d never before seen, a knot of anxiety and excitement winding tighter in my stomach each moment that drew me closer to that fabled day, August 25th, when I would be venturing out of the quiet small-town atmosphere of Harrisburg, Illinois, and into the strange new culture that is San José, Costa Rica.

Like so many of the best things in life, it caught me completely by surprise. I suppose that my first mistake was assuming that I could properly prepare myself for such a transition. The large, bustling city of San José was definitely a far cry from Harrisburg; the sheer number of people surrounding me at any one time was enough to put me on edge. The flurry of conversation around me was unintelligible to my untrained ear, and I felt very much like a lost puppy padding along these foreign streets behind my professor and some of the other students. Despite this, however, it was a very enjoyable experience. Once I became somewhat accustomed to these new conditions, I found I could not stop myself from grinning like a fool, taking all of the activity in stride. Of course, this does not even take into account my perception of the CIAPA campus. Although I was given plenty of information about it and even shown some pictures, I still had it in my head that it was much larger than what it actually was. What really surprised me, however, was the aura of tranquility that seemed to envelop me the moment I stepped foot in the dorm building. It was quiet and the sunlight streamed into the building prettily from the glass doors. This completely contradicted my characterization of a â’‘¬Å“typicalâ’‘¬Â college campus, and I loved it from the start. Frankly, I could not rave enough about how much Iâ’‘¬’“¢ve already enjoyed being here with Tulane at CIAPA. The vast majority of the people I have come into contact with here are helpful, friendly, warm, kind, and, perhaps most importantly, patient with me and my limited Spanish. Had I not joined this program, I doubt I ever would have developed any sort of interest in or appreciation for Latin American culture. Learning within that context is insightful in ways I never could have predicted. I was also surprised to find such a strong United States influence here in Costa Rica â’‘¬‘€œ the first time I flipped through La Nación, which is Costa Ricaâ’‘¬’“¢s leading newspaper, I recall turning to a random page only to find a picture of U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney to the left and an advertisement for KFC on the right. The best thing about the CIAPA program, I think, is its hands-on approach to learning. There is a big difference between reading about the diversity of the cloud forest in a textbook and actually walking a trail at Monteverde, breathing in the humid air and scanning the rich foliage around you for that snake or that frog you wanted to see. Itâ’‘¬’“¢s about connecting yourself with the culture and the people around you. Thatâ’‘¬’“¢s the way you learn, and CIAPA does that.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Annie Gibson

    Administrative Assistant Professor - Department of Global Education

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2019 CLASP Américas Award Ceremony & Workshop

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Friday, September 27, 2019
11am-12pm
Author reading with Francie Latour
Location: Hispanic Reading Room

1-1:45pm
Workshop with Duncan Tonatiuh — Maya Codices
Location: Library of Congress, LJ-119
Livestream with classrooms across the U.S.
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5-7:30pm
Américas Award Ceremony
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Click here to register for in-person attendance at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

Bate papo!: Portuguese Conversation Hour

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A weekly hour of Portuguese conversation and tasty treats hosted by Prof. Megwen Loveless. All levels are welcome!

The theme for this semester will be Passion Fruit. So bring your sweet tooth to try this week’s homemade delicacy: Suco de maracujá.

A talk by Mestre João Grande and Mestre Jelon on capoeira across time and space

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The Spanish and Portuguese Department is hosting this talk with two masters of the art of capoeria. Mestre Joao Grande is one of the last remaining Mestres from the Velha Guarda. He moved to New York in 1990 and, at 86 years old, he continues to hold capoeira classes at his academy in Harlem. He is a student of Mestre Pastinha, the father of capoeira Angola. Mestre Jelon is also from Bahia, and he was the first capoeirista to open up a school in the US back in the 70’s. He was also the choreographer and director of Viva Bahia, a dance group that toured the world showcasing folkloric dances of Northeastern Brazil.

Artful Teaching and Learning: Integrating the Arts into the Curriculum

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The full-day workshop, facilitated by Patricia Sobral, Senior Lecturer of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at Brown University, will lead participants through a series of activities combining the performing, visual, and literary arts. Particular attention will be paid to the performing arts as a means of teaching languages. Participants will be given materials and models that can be applied to a number of fields within the college curriculum for students of all levels and ages. Free and open to the public. For more information, contact Christopher Dunn.

Latin American Writers Series: Luis Negron

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Ecuadorian writer and Tulane Visiting Scholar Gabriela Aleman interviews Puerto Rican writer Luis Negron about his life, interests, and influences. Their discussion will be followed by an open Q&A and an informal reception. Note: This event will be held in Spanish.

About the Latin American Writers Series

This series brings together Latin America’s most representative creative voices and the editorial entrepreneurs that publish them. By way of interviews conducted by renowned Ecuadorian writer Gabriela Alemán and presentations of various editorial missions, the guests will shed light on a literary world shaped by the contemporary issues of the continent. Moving forward, their conversations will comprise the centerpiece of a digital archive that introduces their ideas to a global audience.

Este serie reúne a los autores más representativos de la escritura continental y los editores que los publican. A través de entrevistas con la reconocida escritora ecuatoriana Gabriela Alemán y presentaciones de proyectos editoriales, los invitados explorarán los vínculos entre el mundo literario y la realidad continental. Sus conversaciones se convertirán después en el eje de un archivo digital que busca llevar estas ideas a un público global.

About the author

Luis Negron was born in Puerto Rico and is a writer, film critic, and bookseller. The English translation of his short-story collection Mundo Cruel, a work originally published in Spanish in 2010, won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award. Negron has also written a brief collection of chronicles, Los tres golpes (2016), and served as the editor of Los otros cuerpos: Antología de temática gay, lésbica, y queer desde Puerto Rico y su diáspora (2007). His film reviews have appeared in periodicals like Boston’s La semana (Boston) and Puerto Rico’s Claridad and El poeta.

Bate papo!: Portuguese Conversation Hour

View Full Event Description

A weekly hour of Portuguese conversation and tasty treats hosted by Prof. Megwen Loveless. All levels are welcome!

The theme for this semester will be Passion Fruit. So bring your sweet tooth to try this week’s homemade delicacy: Bolo de maracujá.