During any given day on our beautiful tropical campus, dozens of languages can be heard on a walk through the hallways—Creole, Guarani, Luganda, Swahili, Rwandese, and French, to name a few. However, the official language of EARTH has always been Spanish, the language of its host country, Costa Rica.
With the increased number of non-Spanish speaking countries in Africa and the Caribbean in recent years, it became vital to develop a robust and relevant Spanish immersion program to prepare our students for life at EARTH. Gifts from donors like you allow us to give each and every one of our students the personalized, quality instruction that they deserve—read on to find out how your gift has made EARTH’s Spanish Language Program into a big success.
The Spanish Language Program began in 2011 with the first cohort of 27 students from 10 non-Spanish speaking countries. In those four years it has provided crucial language instruction for over 70 students.
Students live individually with host families, many of whom are EARTH staff or relatives of EARTH workers, in the rural communities that surround our campus. Every day they travel to and from the campus with their host family members for an intense day of learning.
In the morning, students take Spanish classes in small groups of no more than seven students per teacher. Afternoons are dedicated to workshops on such topics as intercultural learning, emotional intelligence, health, art and recreation, review of specific concepts in Spanish, learning and study skills, and computing. They also go on field trips, both on and off campus related to intercultural learning, Costa Rican culture and history, agriculture and natural resources, and institutional values.
More than just a language immersion program, EARTH’s Spanish Program has opened the possibility of an EARTH education to deserving young men and women the world over. It has resulted in an even more multicultural campus community and strengthened our intercultural competence. It has empowered our non-native Spanish-speaking students to be active participants in their education and thrive both academically and socially. Indeed, the program goes well beyond “hola.”
Without generous gifts like yours, our students wouldn’t have this incredible and necessary opportunity to learn another language in a holistic and support environment, giving them the tools they need to become leaders of change. Students like Fatumah Birungi from Uganda, who shares her experience with the program below:
“My Tica family contributed a lot to my Spanish. Nothing would make me happier than seeing that my mum was so worried about helping me learn Spanish. That is when I realized that, if I learn Spanish everyone will be happy for that. The Spanish Program for me was a time of happiness, relaxation, joy and education. My favorite part was the evening workshops with Jorge, because they opened my mind to what was going to happen when the school year started, so I was able to prepare. I am happy now and have a positive attitude because I had a good Spanish foundation.”—Fatumah Birungi (’17, Uganda)
EARTH Spanish Class