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Department of Languages offers study tour of Spanish language, Costa Rican culture

March 20, 2009 -- A group of Arkansas State University students as well as members of the community will have the opportunity to spend four weeks studying Spanish and experiencing culture in Costa Rica this summer at two different campuses of El Centro Panamericano de Idiomas (CPI) in the Central American country.

Dr. Ruth Owens, associate professor of Spanish in the College of Human
ities and Social Sciences, will accompany the group. Several sightseeing excursions areDr. Ruth Owens included in the program cost, which is $3,299 plus tuition. The price includes roundtrip airfare, the cost of classes and class materials in Costa Rica, ground transportation to all included activities, all of the sightseeing excursions, lodging and two meals a day with host families, and an authentic Costa Rican mid-morning snack on school days. 

While the priority deadline for the program has passed, students and community members are still invited to join the group. No prior kno
wledge of Spanish is required, and placement in Spanish classes will bSan Joaquín campus in San Joaquín de Flores, Costa Rica.e based on each participant’s current level of enrollment or previous experience in Spanish.

first three weeks of the program will take place in the Central Valley of Costa Rica in San Joaquín de Flores, a town approximately half-an-hour from the capital city of San José. Students will use public buses and taxis to visit San José and the smaller city of Heredia. Classes at the San Joaquín campus of El Centro Panamericano de Idiomas are limited to no more than four students each. The students will focus on developing oral proficiency in Spanish as well as acquiring knowledge about Costa Rican culture.

Sightseeing excursions in the Central Valley inc
lude visits to San José, La Paz Waterfall GardenASU students gather near a Costa Rican waterfall. Photo courtesy of Dr. Ruth Owens.s, and Café Britt. These half-day trips will give students the opportunity to learn about Costa Rica’s urban development, natural beauty, and most important export products. The highlight of the sightseeing program is a weekend trip to Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.

For the fourth week of the program, the group will move to the rustic cloud forest area of Monteverde, where students will continue in the academic program of CPI at its Monteverde campus. Each participant will have a new host family and experience the slower pace of a rural area. The students will visit El Trapiche, a working farm, where they will learn about sugar cane and a variety of other crops. Participants may also
choose to try some more adventurous optional activities, such as horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and aerial rope-sliding,or zip-lining, through the cloud forest.

Also included in the program are various cultural activities, such as Costa Rican cooking classes, Latin American dance classes, Spanish film nights, and soccer games with local children.

Anyone interested in joining the group can pick up a brochure in the Department of Languages, or call (870) 972-3887. Dr. Ruth Owens can also be reached at (870) 972-3481 or via e-mail at


Photos: Above left, San Joaquín de Flores campus. Above right, ASU students gather near a Costa Rican waterfall. Photos courtesy of Dr. Ruth Owens.

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