At Two-Way Street: English on the Road in Costa Rica
“When I went to Costa Rica, my main aim was to present some of my academic research to the professors and students there and to develop an understanding of the methods and approaches employed by my Costa Rican colleagues,” says Philip Rudd, Assistant Professor of English at Pittsburg State University. “I was also very interested in gathering information for the possibility of our two universities establishing an exchange program so our students and instructors could visit each other's campus and gain international experience.”
Rudd did this at a workshop addressing the issues of conferences, publications, grants, and fieldwork which was held on the Monday, the 23rd of May at Universidad National (UNA), San Isidro, Costa Rica and at a similar but smaller workshop held at UNA, Coto on Thursday, the 26th of May.
“In order to investigate the possibilities of creating a joint program for our two universities,” says Rudd, “I ran an International Affairs talk on the evening of May 23rd. I presented a short film in Spanish and I gave a quick PowerPoint presentation over the basic requirements for international students at Pittsburg State University.”
Afterwards, Rudd held a question-and-answer session to address any questions or curiosities there might be from my hosts, from both the instructors and the students alike. He later also led a large group session on American culture and student issues at Pittsburg State University.
“They were curious about American culture and language,” according to Rudd.
As a part of his visit, Rudd lectured on Second Language Acquisition for both teachers and students.
“We separated the concepts of ‘acquisition’ of a language and ‘learning’ of a language,” says Rudd. “We also viewed a short film clip on the case of the famous ‘wild child’ Genie, which always astounds audiences”
On perhaps a lighter note, Rudd lectured on “Slang in the United States.”
“I gave a history of common slang in the United States during the 20 century and quizzed the audience over the top twenty slang words used by students on university campuses in the United States.”
As a reward, the top four performers were each given a copy of the 50th issue of the Cow Creek Review, Pittsburg State University's literary magazine.
Rudd says he will continue to pursue the possibilities for exchange between PSU and UNA.
“I am extremely thankful to UNA for their encouragement and support without which, I would not have been able to have such an enjoyable and enlightening visit.”
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