GUEST BLOG: Diego Najarro, CPI Spanish staffer traveling throughout the U.S.

On the surface you can associate CPI Spanish with learning or improving a specific skill – your capacity in the Spanish language. There is no doubt that CPI is the best in the field, with our professors successfully assisting students of all ages and all levels to better their Spanish. It is clearly possible to measure linguistic advancement in both concrete and measurable ways.

 But what of the ‘other’ that is learned when participating in an immersion program abroad? What else comes along with linguistic advancement? In other words, what are those intangible, yet equally important and multi-leveled elements that studying a language in another country bring to your life? In my current travels across the U.S., in sharing details about the CPI Spanish programs in Costa Rica, of course, I see expressed an interest in the type of growth that comes from exploring a language. But many, too, mention a desire for individual growth in the area of life skills, along with the opportunity to obtain a greater global perspective that can only be experienced by traveling abroad.

I can assure you that all of the aforementioned goals are achievable. As a bit of a backstory, prior to attending educational conferences and visiting schools in the U.S., I had the amazing opportunity to work as a CPI chaperone accompanying student groups throughout their immersion experience at CPI in Costa Rica. I observed firsthand how being in an immersion program transforms not only the vision of oneself but beyond -- to a stronger sense of being a global citizen, with a responsibility to create a better world for our future generations. 

As humans, we make decisions each and every day. Quite often within the process considerations emerge about how to make wise and well-rounded choices. Being exposed to varied, and even eclectic points of view, facilitates a broader vision of the world that will most certainly improve future decision-making skills on an individual level and quite often can even ripple positively to the surrounding community.  But, perhaps, even more important, these opportunities of being exposed to another way of thinking can help to increase levels of compassion, and the creation of a citizenry that can and will seek to build bridges between communities back home, not walls.

Travel, especially when coupled with immersion, is: educational on a micro & macro level, it is powerful, AND it is life changing both during the experience and thanks to post-experience reflection. So, whether Costa Rica – which I highly recommend – is on your radar, or another country – take the plunge.  You will never be the same – but in a good way.

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