Costa Ricans Making a Splash in Anchorage

Over the course of the year Dimond takes in many foreign exchange students, including about sixteen Costa Ricans who came this past week. The exchange students got here on March 19 and will stay for about two weeks. Over the course of the two weeks they will be shadowing their hosts. Students who are currently taking a Spanish class at Dimond were given the chance to host a student of the same gender from Costa Rica. Holly Morris, Spanish teacher at Dimond, is in charge of the exchange and is currently hosting the teacher from Costa Rica. Daniel Oses, one of the exchange students, said that being in Alaska with all of the snow and animals was like “living the dream.” None of students from Costa Rica had experienced the snow and cold weather before. For this reason, some of the hosts took their Costa Ricans to Alyeska to enjoy a day of snow and skiing. Floritza Villalba said that “skiing was very hard but also fun,” and added that “it just takes practice.” The Costa Ricans spent time presenting to different classes at Dimond about their culture and their society. Dimond students said that they found the experience enriching and quite informative. The ‘Ticos,’ as the Costa Ricans are called, had a lot of difficulty adjusting to the atmosphere at Dimond. Min Jung Kang said that at their school back in Costa Rica, “We stay in the classroom s and the teachers come to us.” She mentioned that their lockers are actually inside of the classrooms, and they have to wear a uniform. “The uniforms are not as comfortable as the clothes you can wear here,” said Villalba. She also said that you are not “allowed to have piercings, paint your nails, have bracelets, or color your hair.” Kang, Villalba and Villalba’s host all said that the memories that they made would last a lifetime. Villalba’s host, Sydney Laudon, said that she decided to host an exchange student to “return the favor.” Laudon went to Costa Rica last summer and “had such a great experience” that she decided to “show them the Alaskan experience.” To get the real Alaskan experience the hosts took their exchange students, skiing, to visit Portage Glacier, looking for moose and went to the Alaskan Heritage Center and the Alaska Wild Berry Factory. Kang admitted being afraid of the moose that they saw at first, but she said that eventually she warmed up to it and even touched it. “You’re not supposed to touch them I’ve heard, but I did! I did it.” said Kang. Although they are in a whole new environment the exchange students are able to understand a lot since they have been learning English for quite some time now. The school that they are from is an English Immersion, school which means that almost all of them have been learning English since Kindergarten. Oses said that they “started with the colors, and the days of the weeks, and moved up since there, till now.” To wrap up their stay in Alaska, sophomore host Janessa Fosi is holding a get-together at her house on Saturday, before all of the Costa Ricans start their long journey back home on Sunday, April 1.