PERU — The St. Bede Academy Spanish class recently returned from their week long trip to Costa Rica.
During their spring break, the students experienced an Immersion Tour specifically designed to help students with their listening and communication skills through a combination of cultural experiences and interactive lessons.
Upon returning from their excursion, the students were full of stories about the new adventures they experienced while there. They talked about the authentic foods, the views of volcanoes and the politeness of people they met along the way.
One thing about the country that impressed students the most was the level of sustainability practiced in the small country. The students were surprised by things such as the little amount of electricity used at night, the organic gardens growing in the backyards of resorts, and the willingness to reuse every bit of the fruits and vegetables to help the local crops.
The students also talked about being nervous upon arrival and having to put their Spanish speaking skills to the test. They said being in an uncomfortable situation forced them to communicate quicker, and they believe it improved their Spanish along the way.
Katherine Gonzalez, SBA Spanish teacher, said her goal for the students was to show them that Spanish can be a fun language to learn, but it also comes with infinite amount of benefits. Gonzalez, a southern California native, is a first generation American.
"My parents immigrated from El Salvador more than 40 years ago and gave my sisters and me a great life that included a mixture of Central American spice and American pizzazz," she said. "I never fully felt American since I grew up learning about Latin myths and traditions in a Spanish-speaking home, but also never genuinely felt Salvadorian since I was raised in the States and away from the rest of my family."
Gonzalez said her job as the Spanish educator at SBA bridges the gap between the American and Hispanic cultures in her life.
"It is an honor for me to teach Bruins about my childhood, traditions and funny facts that have made me who I am. This trip to Costa Rica was exciting for our students, but it was a way for me to proudly present my roots while mixing in adventure and excitement," she said.