June 6, 2012 Edition

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Continuing education
through immersion

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

I am going to Costa Rica for almost the entire month of June ... four full weeks! It is part of my education at Arkansas State University to become a high school Spanish teacher.

I will be in the classroom for four hours every weekday with only a teacher and three other students. I will be living with two different host families who have been told not to speak English at all. Ninguno! There will be no where for me to hide from Spanish. But that's the point actually. Total and complete immersion. It is a thrilling prospect, in a terrifying sort of way.

Planning for this trip began last summer. I have never been there so I have to go on only what several people have told me about Costa Rica. So here is the good, the bad and the ugly about Costa Rica. I am not sure if any of it is true.

The good: Did you know that the government of Costa Rica disbanded their army over 60 years ago? There are 4.3 million people who live in this Central American country that is the size of West Virginia. In June, the weather is in the 80s during the day and about 15 degrees cooler at night. And I was told that the people are especially nice to tourists.

The Bad: The water pressure is not good in Costa Rica. You can have a very short, but hot shower or a longer, warmish one. Also, it rains every day, just short showers (like it does in Florida). I will eat beans and rice every day - even as part of breakfast. And, I was told that the people will rob me blind if I am not careful.

The ugly: The pests are by far the worst thing I have heard about regarding my adventure. There are huge scorpions that like toothbrushes. Also there are flies that bite you to lay their eggs under your skin. And geckos that like to nestle in your bed. Geckos like to make loud startling noises when you are nearby and grow over seven inches from snout to tail tip. I must not forget the poisonous snakes that follow after the geckos and cockroaches. Giant cockroaches. Okay, enough said.

I must also add the beautiful: Costa Rica is supposedly breathtaking.

I leave in four days. I am already packed, but not sure if I am ready. I invite you to join me in this adventure over the next few weeks as I take pictures and write weekly about what I find to be true in Costa Rica. I cannot wait!

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