Languages department launches new program in Costa Rica

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Steven McDowell
Contributing Writer

The University of Dallas’ modern languages department will offer two study abroad programs for the upcoming summer of 2012. The programs, located in Cártago, Costa Rica, and Ávila, Spain, will focus on the study of the Spanish language and the cultures of Spain and Costa Rica.

The program in Costa Rica will last four weeks, from May 13 to June 11. Students will take classes at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology, or TEC, and will live with local families.

According to Dr. Maria Perez-Bernardo, director of the Spanish program, the Costa Rica program aims to provide an experience of total immersion in Costa Rican culture and language, with Costa Rican professors teaching the classes and Costa Rican families providing the accommodations.

The program will offer classes in intermediate and advanced level Spanish, as well as classes in Latin American literature, business Spanish and advanced communications. Participants must have already taken elementary Spanish I and II and may earn up to six credit hours towards graduation during the program, according to Perez-Bernardo.

While the modern languages department has offered study abroad programs in the past, this is the first time that such a program will be held in Costa Rica.

Previously, a similar program was held in Puebla, Mexico, but the Spanish department decided to move the program to Costa Rica due to criminal violence in Mexico.

Cártago itself is a historic Spanish colonial city that served as the capital of Costa Rica until 1823. Costa Rica’s principal church, the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, is located in downtown Cártago, as are the ruins of another church dedicated to St. James the apostle. Outside of Cártago, students will be taken on weekend excursions to San José, Alajuela and Heredia.

The study abroad program in Ávila will offer students the opportunity to study at the University of Ávila in central Spain. Students will stay in the dormitories at the university from July 2 to 27, and will take classes in elementary, intermediate and advanced Spanish, as well as in Spanish mysticism and Spanish literature.  The students will take excursions to Segovia, Madrid, Salamanca and Toledo. Participants in the Ávila program will also earn six credits towards graduation.

The Costa Rica program will cost around $1,900, while the Ávila program will cost around €1900, or $2600. For more information, contact Dr. Perez-Bernardo at mperez@udallas.edu or 972-721-5263.

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