Eight from SECD set for study abroad trip to Costa Rica

Eight from SECD set for study abroad trip to Costa Rica

08 May 2017    By Kelcey Buck

Six students and two faculty members from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders are preparing to travel to Costa Rica for a third annual study abroad trip May 13-27.

Associate professor of practice Sue Kemp and professor John Maag will lead the six students – five undergraduates in the speech-language pathology program and one graduate student in special education – to Monteverde, Costa Rica. The group will work through the Monteverde Institute to spend time in both public and private schools in Monteverde, a mountain town about 100 miles northwest of San José. Prior to traveling to Monteverde, the group will meet with the Ministry of Education, and visit a special education center in San José. 

During the two-week trip, the students will provide reading and literacy assessments for English acquisition. In addition, the group will learn about sustainability and ecotourism while in Monteverde.

Throughout the trip, Kemp hopes the Nebraska students learn to understand the differences between the educational systems in the United States and Costa Rica.

“I want their focus this year to be on the differences in school systems,” Kemp said. “What does it look like here vs. there? And what are the differences in urban vs. rural schools?”

Another point of focus will be on the accessibility of services for students with disabilities, particularly in more rural areas like Monteverde.

“We don’t see a lot of kids with disabilities in Monteverde because it’s three hours away from San José, it’s up in the mountains and it’s a dirt road. If you really need services, you’re not going to get them there. We haven’t seen anybody in a wheelchair or with any kind of orthopedic impairment (in Monteverde). It’s all learning, and probably language, disabilities. I think we hope that some of these assessments help target where kids are struggling so there can be more interventions in place for them.” 

In addition to their work in the schools and learning at the Monteverde Institute, each of the six students will live with a host family for the duration of their time in Monteverde.

Follow along with the Costa Rica trip by visiting their Facebook group


Special Education and Communication Disorders