NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center


Search News Center Articles


Related Articles




NMSU’s ‘Global Connections’ to highlight experiential learning in Costa Rica

After 10 trips to Costa Rica, a New Mexico State University professor is sharing insights about how best to learn Spanish in the next “Global Connections” lecture.


Students playing games with children
NMSU students played with immigrant children from Nicaragua in La Carpio, a town northwest of San Jose, Costa Rica during a FLiP trip where they are given first-hand experience in another culture.

Students taking a ride and getting in touch with local culture on an excursion through the town of Santa Elena, Costa Rica. More information about the FLiP trips to Costa Rica will be given at professor Jeffrey Longwell's upcoming "Global Connections" talk from 5-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, at the College of Health and Social Services Annex Auditorium, Room 101A.

Jeffrey Longwell, college professor of languages and linguistics in the College of Arts and Sciences, will present “Costa Rica: Experiential Learning in Spanish” from 5-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, at the College of Health and Social Services Annex Auditorium, Room 101A.

Longwell will share what he and his students learned during NMSU’s Faculty-Led International Program (FLiP) trips.

“These trips were and are organized with the idea in mind that we are assisting students in their efforts to learn Spanish,” said Longwell. “So they could gain confidence in the language, have meaningful cultural engagement and experience life in another setting.”

FLiP trips are arranged through the Office of Education Abroad at NMSU. Each year these trips bring faculty and students to new countries where they are able to earn credit hours.

From working with immigrant children to learning about the production of coffee, these students were given the opportunity to learn about Costa Rican culture first-hand. “Students learned more about subjects like immigration or where simple products we use daily come from by becoming a type of immigrant themselves, temporarily,” said Longwell. “By rubbing shoulders with, working with and speaking with immigrant families they were able to take in much more of the culture.”

Longwell says traveling abroad itself is a learning experience. “I hope people see that even challenges of participating in fun activities like zip-lining through and above the cloud forests of Costa Rica offer personal triumph stories,” said Longwell. “Those that are not always attainable in a regular classroom.”

Longwell plans to continue leading these trips as a way for students to gain Spanish credit, but more for them to feel comfortable with traveling abroad and step into a culture they otherwise may never experience.

The “Global Connections” series features College of Arts and Sciences faculty members’ trips around the world. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for members of the campus and surrounding community to listen and ask questions of NMSU professors about the kind of global first-hand experience they might otherwise never encounter.

All “Global Connections” events are free and open to the public.