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COC students pack bags for Central American trip

Posted: June 17, 2009 4:10 p.m.
Updated: June 17, 2009 4:10 p.m.
 
Study Spanish, biology and tourism. Hand out school supplies to local schoolchildren. Meet with two former presidents. Take a boat ride on the Panama Canal.

That is what the itinerary reads like for the 25 College of the Canyons students who will leave later this month for a four-week trip to study abroad in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.

Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of State to promote studying abroad in non-traditional destinations, 22 students received travel scholarships for the trip.

"This interdisciplinary program is unique in that it ties academic work with citizenship efforts," said Claudia Acosta, chair of foreign languages at the college who will teach Spanish during the trip. "It provides students with a natural fusion of local and global perspectives."

The group of students will also have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet President Enrique Bolaños Geyer of Nicaragua (from 2002 to 2007) and President Rodrigo Carazo Odio of Costa Rica (from 1978 to 1982).

Known for his commitment to transparency and ethics in Latin America, Bolaños Geyer is an active member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, which operates with the mission to develop educational programs and public awareness campaigns based on the values of solidarity and civic courage.

Carazo Odio is the founder of The University for Peace, a United Nations-mandated institution established in 1980 that is focused and dedicated to the study and promotion of world peace.

Also traveling with the students are COC instructors Miriam Golbert and Kevin Anthony, who will teach biology and tourism, respectively.

The group of students will also provide school supplies that were collected by Associated Student Government and High Intensity Transfer Enrichment students at COC to children at a Granada school in Nicaragua.

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