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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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
Livestream with classrooms across the U.S.
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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.