Pirates Abroad: James Frierson

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    Playa del Coco, Costa Rica -Photo by J. Frierson

The Office of Intercultural Learning will be highlighting a study abroad alumnus on a regular basis through a series titled Pirates Abroad.  The first, and inaugural, student to be highlighted in this series is James Frierson.

James Frierson, a Junior English major here at Southwestern University, recently studied abroad in San Joaquín de Flores, Costa Rica during the summer 2012 term through the SU Costa Rica Program.  During this eight-week program, James studied Spanish III and IV, as well as focused on cultural immersion through homestay living and excursions to such locations as Cahuita National Park and Manuel Antonio.  James sat down to complete an online questionnaire, reflecting on his study abroad experience:

Motivation for studying abroad:  Earning Spanish III and IV credit in a short time and experiencing another culture in a part of the world to which I have never before been.

Did your experience meet your expectations?  Yes.

Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your academic program:  Our professor was one of my favorites I have ever had.  His enthusiasm about student learning and willingness to tolerate our somewhat rambunctious behavior made the Instituto environment a joy to attend every morning.

Comment on the quality and attitude of students in the program:  I couldn’t have asked for a better group of students with which to work.  We all had a great experience learning in and outside the classroom together.

Would you recommend participation in this program to other Southwestern students?  Yes.

Are there any special suggestions that you wish to pass on to other Southwestern students?  Bring lots of socks.  Because of the daily rainfall, I would go through socks really fast so I had to buy more at the nearby Walmart.  For those who enjoy working out, there is a local gym pretty close to the town square which will cost $25-30 a month.  At the same gym, there are very small futsal (indoor soccer) fields which cost $24 an hour.  If you can get a team together, and like to play soccer, this is a fun and cheap opportunity to exercise, interact with locals, and have fun.

What did you learn (one sentence)?  How to operate in another culture with respect and desire to experience new things.

What were your favorite local foods and beverages?  Local fruit was always delicious, as well as the water (in the valley).  Gallo pinto, eggs, tortilla and avocado was my breakfast every morning and I never got tired of it.  Local bakeries are good for snacking and are always cheap.