Thursday, August 27, 2009

bon voyage

For the past three-plus years, the UAC-CP has been fortunate to be able to select students from the College's Education Department to participate in a 10-month-long teaching internship program at Adams Immersion School in St. Paul, Minn.

This year, two young women from the Education Department were chosen to participate (selection was based on grades, interviews, community service work performance, and faculty recommendation). Maria Elena Alejo, of Miraflores (a small community on the other side of Coroico), and Fabiana Ariñez, of the community of Carmen Pampa, will be working as teaching assistants in the K-8 Spanish immersion school for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Maria Elena, an only child, with her mother outside their home.

Fabiana Ariñez is one of Carmen Pampa's native daughters.

They have a lot of new, exciting experiences ahead of them--some of which, they admit, seem a bit intimidating at the moment (e.g. traveling on a plane for the first time and navigating their way through customs in Los Angeles). But they know that this is an opportunity of a lifetime.

"I almost didn't apply to go when they announced it last year," Fabiana admitted. The idea of leaving behind the home she has known all her life was a scary thought. But her boyfriend/classmate, Uber Mamani, encouraged her to try--to see how far she would get in the process and make her final decision later. Fabiana opted to go when offered and now she's filled with what she calls an appropriate mix of excitement and nervousness. She's most excited to share her culture with her host family and students at the school, she said.

Safe travels to both Maria Elena and Fabiana as they make the long journey today. And special thanks to all the people at Adams School in St. Paul (especially host families and the internship coordinators, Beth and Merri) who make this experience possible!

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