Zywicz, Rossi Enjoy Spanish Immersion Programs

Cat Kolm & Matt Klein, Staff Writers

Over the summer, Spanish students participated in foreign immersion programs in Latin countries as a means to gain experience with Latin American culture. Senior Merinda Zywicz and Junior Katie Rossi spent eight  weeks in Costa Rica and six weeks in Ecuador, respectively.

Zywicz, who traveled to Ecuador through the Amigos Program, referred to the trip as “a really good experience overall.” She enjoyed working with the little kids and beautifying the community in which she spent her time. The goal of the trip was to work on community projects, which, in Zywicz’s case, included planting flowers, painting buildings, and improving the overall condition of the community.

“You got to put in preferences as to where you wanted to go,” explained Zywicz. Although Ecuador was not her first choice, she was pleased with her experience. “Everyone said to go without any expectations, so I wouldn’t be let down,” Zywicz said. “The kids give you so much more than you could ever give them.”

Rossi, however, couldn’t say the same of her trip to Costa Rica through the American Field Service Program (AFS).  “It was really foggy,” Rossi said, “so it didn’t really seem like summer.” Rossi, who lived with a foster family for six weeks, went to Costa Rica expecting Hawaii-type weather.

Her regular day consisted of school from eight to eleven, coming home for lunch, and drum lessons at three.  Then, it was just hanging out.  “The people there don’t take stuff seriously,” said Rossi. “I’d ask to go to my friend’s house and they’d say, ‘tranquilo!’ meaning ‘go for it!’” leaving Rossi with large amounts of free time throughout her day.

Overall, however, both trip-goers were pleased with their experiences.  Although no plans are in the works to return next year for Zywicz, she expressed interest in going again.  Rossi, on the other hand, has stated that she will not be making the trip next year, saying that, “I want to stay home next summer.”