Post #1: Pre-Departure

Saludos! My name is Gabriella Doe and I am a rising sophomore studying Architecture and Latino Studies. This summer, I will be venturing to Costa Rica and interning with the Praxis Center as an art teacher as well as an administrative assistant for the performing and fine arts program. I am beyond ecstatic (a little nervous too) and grateful for this opportunity to gain professional experience, serve my Latino community, immerse myself into Costa Rican culture, and improve my Spanish! 

Growing up as an Afro-Panamanian American and traveling to Panama on various occasions, I have been greatly exposed to the common culture and lifestyle in Central America. Moreover, with Panama and Costa Rica sharing many similarities, from climate to food to the speed of daily speech, I don’t think I will have an extreme level of culture shock. Nonetheless, as seen with the IDI results, because there are still differences between Panamanian and Costa Rican culture, I will definitely encounter moments where I am left unaware, confused, or shocked. Moreover, I am most nervous about my speaking skills. Although I can speak Spanish proficiently now, I still think back to the time in my life where I could not speak Spanish at all.

Reflecting upon my Intercultural Goals, I hope that throughout my time in Costa Rica I am able to build my confidence with speaking in Spanish in front of multiple people, as well as gain a new perspective on Latin America and my “Latinidad.” Though my Panamanian background has provided a basic understanding of certain customs, environmental practices, and accents throughout Latin America, each country is so unique and I hope that being in Costa Rica will expose me to some of the significant differences. Furthermore, while interning, I aim to discover how I can serve my Latino community through architecture. I have a passion for architecture, especially residential/community architecture in the U.S. and Latin America, so during my time in Costa Rica I hope that I gain insight to different types of effective architectural practices utilized in Costa Rica or Central America in general. 

Following my six weeks in Costa Rica, I hope to return to my home in Fort Worth, Texas with greater independence and increased confidence in my Spanish abilities. With this new and exciting journey I am about to embark on, I am interested to see all I will encounter, looking back at my special memories, professional development, and personal growth!