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

BLOG AUTHORS & RECENT POSTS

LATEST SITE UPDATES

All Events

Upcoming Events

Kaqchikel Language Table

View Full Event Description

Join Kaqchikel learners and speakers at all levels to practice your language skills at this bi-monthly conversation table. Hosted by expert instructor Mtro. Byron Socorec (aka Oxlajuj B’atz’), the Sept. 23 session will focus on where we come from. Bring a picture of a special place and come ready to describe your hometown.

Link to join: https://tulane.zoom.us/j/93988469399?pwd=bkk3eDIzOEhQVjVEV1ZxTHFDTnJvQT09

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kansas.

Qué Vola, Nola? - Live Book Reading!

View Full Event Description

Join us for a live bilingual reading of their book Qué Vola, Nola?. From the vibrant jazz scenes and Spanish-colonial architecture to the food and weather, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Havana, Cuba, have much in common. And they are both home to anole lizards who love jazz! After a jazz song lures Ramito through a hotel window in Havana, he crawls into in a convenient, comfy suitcase for a nap. When he awakens, Ramito can’t quite find the way back to his tree. His new friend Bernard, an American anole lizard, unsuccessfully tries to convince Ramito that he’s in New Orleans. Is he? Readers of all ages will find the lush, tropical illustrations and the frustrated refrain of “but that is something we have in Havana” endlessly entertaining. In fact, they just might agree that the cities, and their inhabitants, share a lot! We are honored to welcome local author, Abigail Isaacoff and illustrator originally from Cuba, Ramiro Díaz for a bilingual story time at both Pebbles Center locations. Check below and make sure to join us at one of these events. Families will explore this unique story and learn to create their own craft based on the book.

Saturday September 18 at 2 pm
Algiers Regional Library
3014 Holiday Drive

Saturday, September 25 at 1 pm
Children’s Resource Center
913 Napoleon Avenue

This event is a program of the Pebbles Center which is a collaborative project of the New Orleans Public Library and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University. Please follow us on Facebook for up-to-date information on these programs. For more information, email crcrts@tulane.edu.

Teach Central America: Exploring Garifuna Culture

View Full Event Description

REGISTER HERE
Sign up by Friday, September 24 to get a copy of the up and coming book Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed which explores the Latinx diaspora.

In honor of Teach Central America Week (October 4 – 10, 2021), Tulane University presents in collaboration with Vanderbilt University and the University of Georgia an educator workshop exploring the diversity of Central America. Over the course of three years, we have produced annual summer teacher institutes to enhance the teaching of Central America at the K-16 level. We are excited to continue the professional development series by providing this online panel open to K-16 educators of any subject area.

There are currently over 600,000 Garifuna around the world. Central America has the highest population; 100,000 in Honduras and 8,000 in Nicaragua, which was one of the last settlements in 1912. Guatemala has a small, isolated population which has retained much of the original culture. The United States has the second highest population, with about 100,000 residing in New York City. There are also populations in Chicago, Louisiana, and California. The number in the US increases every year as more people leave Central America. The Carib populations in Central America have almost entirely vanished, so the Garifuna are now considered the last descendants of the Amer-Indian tribes in South America.

Join us Thursday, October 7th for a discussion with three Garifuna writers/artists leading a discussion on Garifuna culture and identity through performance, writing, food and more. Join the conversation to explore new resources and perspectives to incorporate into your teaching on Central America. Participants in this program will explore Garifuna identity through the work of the three writers and cultural scholars. Janel Martinez, Saraciea Fennell and Isha Sumner. Participants will receive a copy of the up and coming WILD TONGUES CAN’T BE TAMED on a first come, first serve basis. Sign up by Friday, September 24 to guarantee your copy. REGISTER HERE

Janel Martinez is a writer and the founder of the award-winning blog, Ain’t I Latina? an online destination celebrating Afro-Latinx womanhood. The Bronx, NY native is a frequent public speaker discussing media, culture and identity, as well as diversity at conferences and events for Bloomberg, NBCU, SXSW, Harvard University and more. She’s appeared as a featured guest on national shows and outlets, such as BuzzFeed, ESSENCE, NPR and Sirius XM, and her work has appeared in Adweek, Univision Communications, Oprah Magazine, Remezcla and The New York Times. The Honduran-American has been nominated for the 20th Annual Rosoff Award in the 20-Something Category and won the Afro-Latino Festival of New York’s Digital Empowerment Award and, in 2018, was recognized at City Hall by the New York City Council, the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus and the Bronx Delegation to the NYC Council for her contributions as a woman of Garifuna descent. Her work will be included in the forthcoming YA anthology, WILD TONGUES CAN’T BE TAMED, which will be published in November 2021 by Flatiron Books.

Isha Sumner immigrated to the US at the age of 15, the foundation of her Garifuna ethnicity and culture remains central to her identity and sharing that has been a major part of her life for the past 25 years. As a professional Garifuna dancer, Isha was a member of the International Folkloric Garifuna Ballet of Honduras, which toured throughout Honduras & Europe in the early 1990s. From 1995-2000, she was a member of Wanichagu, a Garifuna dance company based in NYC, and performed at the likes of Lincoln Center and Harvard University. Isha’s passion to perform onstage transitioned to more formal acting and included a featured appearance speaking Garifuna in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in 2007. In 2016 she completed her Associate‘€™s Degree in acting at William Esper School in Manhattan. With a continued passion to share and preserve her own Garifuna culture, Isha has dedicated much of the past 5 years to documenting Garifuna cuisine in Weiga, Let’s Eat.

Saraceia Fennell is a Brooklyn born Black, Honduran writer from the Bronx and the founder of The Bronx is Reading, and Honduran Garifuna Writers and Friends. She is also a publicist who has worked with many award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors. Fennell is board chair of Latinx in Publishing, and on the Advisory Board for People of Color in Publishing. Her forthcoming anthology WILD TONGUES CAN’T BE TAMED will be published by Flatiron Books in November 2021. For more information visit SaracieaFennell.com and follow her on social @sj_fennell.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latinx Studies at Vanderbilt University.

Sign up by Friday, September 24 to get a copy of their latest book Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed.

REGISTER HERE

Kaqchikel Language Table

View Full Event Description

Join Kaqchikel learners and speakers at all levels to practice your language skills at this bi-monthly conversation table. Hosted by expert instructor Mtro. Gonzalo Ticun (aka Sotz Aq’ab’al), the Oct. 8 session will focus on the creatures that share our homes and lives. Bring your favorite animal friend to join the discussion.

Link to join: https://tulane.zoom.us/j/93988469399?pwd=bkk3eDIzOEhQVjVEV1ZxTHFDTnJvQT09

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kansas.

Kaqchikel Language Table

View Full Event Description

Join Kaqchikel learners and speakers at all levels to practice your language skills at this bi-monthly conversation table. Participants in the Oct. 28 session will get the chance to read the short story “Ri töp chuqa’ ri kär”/“The Crab and the Fish” alongside its author, Mtra. Magda Sotz (aka Ixkamey).

Link to join: https://tulane.zoom.us/j/93988469399?pwd=bkk3eDIzOEhQVjVEV1ZxTHFDTnJvQT09

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kansas.

Kaqchikel Language Table

View Full Event Description

Join Kaqchikel learners and speakers at all levels to practice your language skills at this bi-monthly conversation table. Nov. 12 is game day with Mtro. Edy Rene Guaján (aka Lajuj B’atz’)! Come prepared to play along and laugh.

Link to join: https://tulane.zoom.us/j/93988469399?pwd=bkk3eDIzOEhQVjVEV1ZxTHFDTnJvQT09

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kansas.