University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

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UConn Two-Way Immersion Education in Costa Rica (Summer) (Faculty-led)

The Program

This program will take place during the summer term in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.  The program invites 5th year students in the Integrated Bachelors/Masters (IB/M) program within the Neag School of Education to develop your teaching skills at La Paz Community School, a preK-12, two-way immersion IB school on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Very concretely, this education abroad experience will give you the opportunity to gain considerable contact hours in the classroom with students and teachers. More importantly, however, because these contact hours will take place at La Paz, you will learn directly about approaches that are the cornerstone of instruction at the school: two-way immersion education, place-based learning, cross-cultural competence, thematic instruction, and cross-grade learning. You will come back to UCONN with an expanded worldview of what is possible in education for teachers, students, and the broader community, as well as hands-on instructional skills that you can put to use in your future work as a teacher. You will also have the opportunity to develop greater Spanish proficiency and cross-cultural competence as a result of your time there, and this may serve you well as an educator in Connecticut, given the large and increasing population of Spanish-speakers in the state.

The Academics

You will be enrolled in one 3-credit class during the program:
EDCI 5830: Two-Way Immersion Education in Costa Rica

In order to receive course credit, and in keeping with the pedagogical practices of La Paz and the Neag School of Education, you will be expected to compile a portfolio of your learning while at La Paz. The portfolio will include both required and elective elements. The required elements include a self-evaluation and teacher-evaluation of your volunteer experience; a 5-page paper that synthesizes 3-5 related readings and integrates them with your experiences at La Paz; and weekly, 1-2 page reflections of your experiences, observations, questions, or concerns during your time at La Paz. The elective component may include a brief video documenting a specific aspect of instruction or activity at La Paz, a slide show presenting an instructional activity that you have helped with, or a song or poem that you have written to convey your learning while at La Paz. In addition, you will be asked to present your elective component publicly both at La Paz (through a morning meeting or coffee house) and at the Neag School of Education (through an open colloquium one evening during the fall semester after your return from Costa Rica) so that others may also benefit from your learning and insights.

For more information, contact the Neag School of Education Costa Rica Study Abroad Coordinator, Dr. Elizabeth Howard (elizabeth.howard@uconn.edu).
For more information about La Paz Community School, see the school website (www.lapazschool.org), Youtube channel, or Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LaPazCommunitySchool/).

The Experience

Describe the city/region where the program takes place, the housing placements, field trips/excursions, etc.

The program takes place at La Paz Community School (www.lapazschool.org), a preK-12, Spanish-English two-way immersion school on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The experience will start with a 2-day introductory session at the school through its “Discover La Paz” professional development program. This custom-tailored approach will enable you to work one-on-one with a La Paz teacher to learn more about the instructional cornerstones of La Paz, including two-way immersion education, place-based learning, and cross-cultural competence. You will then be placed in classrooms as volunteers for seven weeks. Volunteers are typically placed in one or two classrooms, and have responsibilities that include providing instruction to small groups or individual students, leading whole class activities with supervision, preparing classroom materials, and participating in school-wide events, such as morning meeting. Finally, you will have the opportunity to visit local Costa Rican public schools to broaden your perspectives on education in the region and to provide a point of comparison to both public education in the United States and education at La Paz.

As is the case for all volunteers at La Paz Community School, you will live with a La Paz family. This home-stay arrangement will helps you integrate more fully into the La Paz community, and will also increase the linguistic and cultural immersion that is at the heart of the experience.

Finances

Please note that financial aid, other than certain scholarships, cannot be applied to the cost of this 3-credit program. Students must be enrolled for at least six credits during the summer to be eligible for summer financial aid. Click the link below for this program’s budget sheet.

Budget Sheets: Summer
The Details

  • Location: Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • Terms: Summer
  • Homepage:

Dates / Deadlines:

Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2018 02/20/2018 02/27/2018 TBD TBD

Fact Sheet:

Class status: 5th Year Academic area: Education
Language of instruction: Prior language study required:
Open to non-UConn students: No Required GPA: 3