The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

Travel Abroad Takes Off

Students Spend their Summers Abroad
Amelia Coleman

This summer, multiple LASA students had the chance to travel internationally to participate in various study abroad programs, such as the volunteer abroad program with Amigos de las Americas in Costa Rica and a student exchange program in Berlin, Germany. These programs served as an opportunity for students to connect with other cultures and improve their language skills.

Sophomore Beatriz Lara participated in the volunteer program with Amigos de las Americas, a nonprofit that offers programs in Latin America that combines cultural immersion with changemaking. Lara took AP Spanish IV at LASA her freshman year and said traveling to Costa Rica was a great educational experience for her to build on her cultural knowledge.

“I really enjoyed it,” Lara said. “I feel like the program did a good job of furthering my Spanish skills, helping me connect with people from other cultures, like my host family, and growing close to my fellow students.”

Junior Chelsey Pence also participated in Amigos de las Americas this summer, and like Lara, she stayed in Costa Rica. She lived with her host family for six weeks all while learning more about the culture and language there.

“It was really amazing,” Pence said. “It was eye-opening to see another culture and it didn’t really feel like a vacation…It felt like living in their life and having the privilege of experiencing everything about how they live there.”

A large part of Pence’s time in Los Santos, Costa Rica, was centered around volunteer work and food justice. Pence learned a lot about communication and advocacy through this experience.

“I lived in a family with a coffee farm and I just got to learn a lot about food justice through that,” Pence said. “I got to work in the community and do a project. We ended up painting the police station and setting up a mini fundraiser for the [community] school.”

Pence hopes to continue working with Amigos de las Americas as a training supervisor to make a lasting impact. She said that her experience in Costa Rica taught her the importance of understanding multiple perspectives. 

“I learned how to communicate with people, even difficult people, and how to be patient with people in the community,” Pence said. “I realized I have to make sure that I’m [considering] the community’s needs first instead of what we think would be best for the community.”

Sophomore Sonya Kraizman had a similar experience during her time studying abroad in Germany as part of a student exchange program for college credit. She got to tour the capital city of Berlin and experience German culture first-hand.

“It was exciting because I’ve always wanted to live in Europe, and I got to experience what that would be like,” Kraizman said. “I made a lot of friends and learned a lot more of the language and culture.”

Kraizman hopes the German she learned this summer will carry into the school year for her German class. Kraizman added that it was a unique experience to spend several weeks in a different country and that she would definitely recommend it to others.

“It was a good experience,” Kraizman said. “There was a lot to do because of the train system, and I met German kids my age. My host family was also super nice, and my roommate was from Dallas, so that gave me the chance to visit her, which was pretty cool.”

Pence, Kraizman, and Lara all said that their time abroad helped them strengthen their understanding of different communities. Pence believes in the importance of cultural immersion and is inspired to continue traveling and experiencing different cultures in the future.

“I feel that if I’m living in the same country, more or less everybody has the same routine, and when you learn another culture in another country you learn so much about how other people live and how it’s so different around the world,” Pence said. “I think I’ll carry that understanding into next summer and into the rest of my life: that the world is so beautiful, and culture is so beautiful, and I want to learn more about it.”

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