"...Online Newsletter from the Pittsburg State University College of Arts and Sciences"

Opening Doors: Learning Language in real life


On December 26th 2010 eleven students from various backgrounds walked through a door of opportunity as they left on a three week trip to study abroad in Costa Rica.  The trip, organized by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, gave the students the opportunity to study outside the world they experience here at the University. 

Led by Modern Languages Spanish Instructor Brett Smith, the students attended a private Spanish language school and lived with host families to learn the Spanish language and culture. 

"Students at Pittsburg State University have seen many doors opening which is offering new opportunities to learn and study culture," says Smith.  "As Pittsburg State continues to provide more opportunities for its students to study abroad they are giving students a chance to open their minds, and in turn, learn in a way they may have never thought possible." 

During their stay-in addition to making trips to the rain forest, cloud forest, volcanoes, museums, and the beach-the students took classes from El Instituto Para Estudiantes Extranjeros, where classes were held Monday through Friday during the morning hours.  The students learned from native Spanish-speakers and, in the process, opened their minds the experience of learning a language in full immersion. 

"For some of the students," says Smith, "this was their first time to leave the United States. They faced not only the challenges of language and culture, but also the challenge of overcoming their own fear."

"We should remember," he added, "that even though Pittsburg State opens the door, it takes brave students to decide to pass through it."

Having braved through all the obstacles that were in front of them, students had time to explore the culture and spend time with their host families. 

"Students experienced birthday parties with their families, learned about cultural differences, and enjoyed celebrating the New Year through the eyes of a different culture." 

Pittsburg State University is opening up doors of opportunities for its students to learn in real life settings. 

Costa Rica
(Picture: Back row, left to right:
Aaron Stewart, Jared Baier, Cory Strong, Brett Smith, Kyle Tallmadge, & Chris Fite 
Front row, left to right:
Samantha Ellison, Stevie Long, Karley Schmidt, Sarah Coover, Kimber Lane, & Rebekah Dallman)


Do YOU have a story?

If so, contact us!