Studying and Teaching in Costa Rica

by Hannah Spoonhower

Hannah Spoonhower of New London recently traveled to Costa Rica as part of a study abroad program. The following is her account of that experience.

I traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, and started an internship on June 1. I had heard about the program Student Athletes Abroad (SAA) through the honors program at Missouri Valley College. As I looked more into studying abroad, I realized this was one of the few that would include an education internship. This program is also one of the most affordable. I was very fortunate to have received scholarships, and donations from amazing people around me.
Being part of the Honors Program at my school, there is a requirement for a foreign language or a study abroad. My internship was at a private foundation about 20 minutes away from San Jose called Casa de Los Ninos, which means house of the children. This is a facility for students from kindergarten to 6th grade. The area the school was in consisted of many low-income families. These kids would come when they weren’t in public school, either mornings or afternoons. They were selected by psychological assessments of their home lives, economic status, or academics. Some of these kids would come to school with black eyes. Some would eat only once that day when they were with us. No one spoke fluent English in the neighborhood I lived in, including the family that took me in, or any of the kids I taught. It was difficult to communicate, but I managed to build some relationships with my students and with my host family. While at the foundation, I taught various subjects, organized, and created lessons.
Looking back on my trip I am so grateful for the support, and the amazing people I met while in San Jose. I highly recommend studying abroad, especially in a country with such a different culture. I learned so much about myself and about my future career in Elementary Education.