Spanish professor Maria Rodriguez leads the Spanish department’s off-campus program in Honduras. She answered some important questions about the semester-long program.
How is Calvin’s study abroad program different than programs at other schools?
We immerse our students in the culture and make sure they practice their language skills from day one. Our students live with host parents who do not speak English. And students enroll directly at the host university, which means they have to communicate with their professors and classmates in Spanish.
Where will I live?
In Honduras, students live in Tegucigalpa and Santa Lucía. Most of the semester is spent in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, with a population of about 1,157,509. Students stay in homes in Santa Lucía, a small and beautiful town thirty minutes away from Tegucigalpa.
What is it like in Tegucigalpa?
Since Tegucigalpa is a city built on hills, its streets are narrow with many twists and turns. Maneuvering in Tegucigalpa can be an adventure, but students quickly learn their way.
Honduran families are a good source of information about Tegucigalpa, Santa Lucia, and Honduras in general. They are eager to show students around, and students get a different perspective of the town when seeing it through their eyes.
The rich and poor are not separated in the same way they are in North America. One-room shacks are often built next to $100,000 homes. Living in Tegucigalpa makes it impossible not to feel the tension of living as a rich Christian in a world filled with poverty.
Where will I take classes?
Students attend La Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (UPN). The Honduran students at UPN are friendly and enjoy developing friendships with students from North America.
In Honduras, all courses are taught in Spanish and can be applied to the Spanish major or minor at Calvin. Students take courses on poverty, development, and Honduran culture. Classes may include longer excursions in Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.
Who will I stay with?
Each student lives individually with a Honduran family. Some of the families consist of a single mother with children. Their families speak only Spanish with the students. For some students, the host family becomes family and their house becomes home. For others, the relationship stays distant but friendly.
What will I do in my free time?
Students get involved in activities in Santa Lucía with their Honduran families and friends. Some play soccer; others do Zumba at the park with their host mothers. If they have a free weekend, some students travel with their families to nearby towns.
Will I be able to continue my studies in other subjects?
We have partnerships with different organizations in Tegucigalpa where students can learn more about their field of study. Hospital General San Felipe is our partner for health-related majors. We also partner with a special education school and a women’s rights organization called Visitación Padilla. And students can learn about different ethnic Honduran groups through our partnerships in small towns in Honduras.