‘No Better Way to Learn and Grow’
Posted on: February 14, 2022
Tigerville, SC (February 14, 2022) North Greenville University (NGU) students Adelaide Dickens (expected ’22) from Boiling Springs, Paola Martz (‘expected’ 22) from Boiling Springs, and Abby Thayer (expected ’22) from Fort Mill didn’t let COVID keep them from studying abroad in the summer of 2021. The Spanish majors spent eight weeks attending classes and teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at a local school in Costa Rica.
Dr. Ben Coates, NGU associate professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, is proud of these students.
“I am particularly proud of these students because they didn’t let COVID stop them from developing their language proficiency,” said Coates. “Abigail, Adelaide, and Paola took advantage of an opportunity to travel.”
Studying abroad is a chance for students to pursue their college studies in a foreign country. Students attend lectures or carry out research at a foreign university or their home university’s study-abroad program. Participants typically live in a residence hall, apartment, or local family through a homestay.
Martz, who plans to teach Spanish or work for the Department of Social Services after graduation, said they learned about the study abroad opportunity from her professor.
“Our professor presented the opportunity after a Spain trip was canceled due to COVID,” she said.
The girls lived with a native; they called their “Tica mom” and studied at The Spanish Language Institute in San José.
Thayer said they were blessed to have such an incredible woman to stay with as she cooked for them and helped them learn more Spanish through daily conversation.
They learned lesson planning, classroom management, and helped students with homework in teaching ESL classes.
“It was a learning experience, and my Spanish improved,” said Martz. “We got to experience a culture that’s so beautiful.”
These students encourage other students to study abroad.
“[There is] no better way to learn and grow,” Martz said. “Studying abroad is so much fun, but you face challenges, especially if you stay for an extended amount of time. We worked a lot, and we were mentally exhausted the first month, but the second month we got to explore Costa Rica.”
Thayer said, “the experience of full immersion is like none other. You get to meet new people, learn more than you’d ever imagine, receive experience, all while having the time of your life.”
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