Spanish Major Studies Abroad in Costa Rica

Published: January 30, 2015 | Author: Olyvia Meyer | Read Time: 2 minutes

Jesse Hyatt with peers in Costa RicaAt Southern Utah University there are classrooms in the Science Building, Braithwaite Center, and now Costa Rica. With SUU students now settling into desks while studying the Atlantic Slave Trade in the Cape Coast of West Africa and while learning about the nutritional value of sea life in Japan.

One such student is Jesse Hyatt, a Spanish major from Salt Lake City, who recently returned to Cedar City after a semester in the heart of Costa Rica. Hyatt ventured abroad as part of his EDGE project in hopes of becoming fluent in the native language.

“I want more than anything to become a Spanish professor,” says Hyatt.

One day in class last year, Professor Portaro of the Spanish department is remembered by Hyatt saying  “how important it was to study abroad for those of us who wished to make a career in Spanish, so after class I talked to her a little more about it. It was then that I knew I wanted to go.”

Before coming to SUU, Hyatt never expected his college experience to take him to the heart of Central America nor did he expect his undergraduate experience to include discussing politics with the natives of Costa Rica or befriending classmates from the Netherlands, but he says he has enjoyed the surprises he’s encountered.

During his time in Costa Rica, Hyatt lived with a host family and attended the Latin American University of Science and Technology in San José, all the while honing his Spanish and forming relationships he will continue to cherish.  

“I learned so much from my host family,” says Hyatt. “They were so nice and helpful to me while I was there.” Hyatt recently said goodbye to the family and Costa Rica and has started classes in Cedar City once again.

Like many students who return from their classrooms abroad, Hyatt says his experience was transformative and eye-opening.

“I had never left the country before, but while in Costa Rica I traveled a lot, met so many new people, tried different foods, and learned about the culture,” he says. “My Spanish has gotten a whole lot better and I’m excited because I will be able to share what I have learned abroad with my own students in the future.”

Photo: Jesse Hyatt (far right) with fellow classmates during his time abroad in Costa Rica studying at the Latin American University of Science and Technology. 

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