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Academics: What’s Different?

Academics: What’s Different?

Hola todos!

I have now finished my 6th week of classes here in Costa Rica, and I have made some interesting discoveries. I am taking 3 classes, one of which is Imperialism to Globalization in Central America: The Ethnology and History of Costa Rica with Heidi and Alfonso, and I am the only student. This has created an interesting class dynamic since I don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of, or to rely on in class if I don’t quite understand a reading. Despite the downsides of being the only student, there are benefits, such as rearranging class to fit my schedule and allow me more time to do homework for my other classes. One thing that is different about this class is that I have to conduct interviews for my field books (short papers). I am not a fan of this since I am shy and find interviews to be awkward, but I am also improving my speaking and social skills by conducting these interviews, so there is an up for every down to a situation. This class overall has been pretty similar to what I am used to since we meet for 2 hours 3 days a week.


San Jose, Caylyn Moglia

On Tuesday evenings, I have a church history class at the Universidad Biblica Latinoamericana (UBL). In my last post I explained how I get to class biweekly, and I have now discovered that I can take time to eat or shop in San Jose before taking the bus to Cedros by taking the 4:15 bus instead of the 3:55 bus. Any who, my church history class has a total of 4 students, and we are all women, so my professor changed up the syllabus to focus more on women in the church as well as other themes that we are interested in. This is incredibly different from any other class I’ve had, and I really enjoy it. For this class, we receive a homework sheet each week that outlines the homework due for next week, which ensures that we actually talk about what the homework is. I am thoroughly enjoying this class because it is small, flexible, and the content is incredibly interesting. It’s been a challenge to speak in Spanish about theology and church history since I don’t have the vocabulary, but things are getting easier as time goes on.

Wednesday evenings I’m back at the UBL for my hermeneutics class. This class has eight students, and feels very similar to my Christ College Freshman Program classes since it is very discussion based. The class itself is much harder because I have no background knowledge. There is also a whole new vocabulary to be used that I’m not even familiar with in my native tongue, much less in my second. Homework in this class is handled differently from my church history class, we have a syllabus and are expected to read it and follow it without talking about assignments in class. This class is really interesting even though it is my hardest class, and I am looking forward to the rest of the semester.


San Jose, Caylyn Moglia

One big cultural difference between my classes here and my classes at Valpo is that during my evening classes, we have a coffee break. This is a great time to let my brain absorb what was just discussed and ready it for the rest of the class. Usually though, I don’t drink the coffee since there isn’t any milk (powder or liquid), and I don’t like sugar in my coffee. The first few weeks of classes were awkward because all of my classmates asked me why I didn’t drink coffee during the break, but now they have accepted my strangeness and leave me alone. My favorite nights are Tuesdays because my professor brings food. Profe (short for professor in Spanish, we don’t really use names) brings us different cakes/breads such as coffee cake, ginger bread, a banana bread, etc, and they are always delicious. Sometime I’d like to make my favorite food, Yorkshire pudding, to share with my class on Wednesdays since there usually isn’t any food.

Overall, the academics have been pretty different from what I am used to, but I love everything about it. Having only three classes has allowed me a fair amount of freedom, which I am now starting to feel comfortable with taking advantage of. It will be interesting to see how my schedule changes in two weeks when my class with Heidi and Alfonso ends, and I start my 3 week long Spanish lit class on the 24th of October, and in five weeks when my only classes are my UBL classes.


Hasta luego!

Caylyn Anne


27 October 2016


Caylyn Moglia