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

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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
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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.