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WKCTC Students Studied Abroad in Costa Rica

Seven West Kentucky Community and Technical College students recently got the chance to learn about the culture, climate, and diverse plant and animal species of Costa Rica through the college’s Study Abroad program.

Online courses that focused on culture, conservation biology, and education were developed to prepare students for the Costa Rica trip. Studies began a few weeks before the trip and concluded a few weeks following the nine-day excursion as students shared their experiences in post-trip essays.

“This was a once in a lifetime experience,” said recent WKCTC graduate Morgan Alvey. “We had studied about the culture, climate, plants, and animal life before making the trip. But nothing can accurately describe what it was like to see the country first-hand. It was the perfect learning experience for me and the first step in my independence as I continue my education at the University of Louisville this fall.”

Current WKCTC student Shelby Finley was amazed with the biodiversity of the conservation conscience country. “It is so beautiful there and I learned how Costa Rica reversed the deforestation trend of the last century,” Finley said. “They have all worked so hard over the past two decades to replenish the forests and it just goes to show that dedication and time can make a big difference.”

WKCTC faculty members Pat Blaine, Carolyn Perry, and Bobby Ann Lee developed this year’s online courses and traveled with the students to Costa Rica.

“The educational benefits of this program are far-reaching,” said Perry, WKCTC associate professor of Spanish. “The learning of different cultures provides our students with a greater understanding of themselves and the world,” she said.

Five additional WKCTC faculty and eight community members also joined the group for adventure. 
Ronda Garneau made the trip with her children, Garrett and McKenna, both Lone Oak high school students who were enrolled in the WKCTC Study Abroad program. “Both my kids have a deeper appreciation for biology and are now talking about pursuing a career related to that field,” she said proudly. “I am thrilled they had the opportunity go on this trip and be a part of the WKCTC Study Abroad program.”

WKCTC Education Professor Pat Blaine is excited about the growth in the program. “We’re in our third year and the program continues to thrive.” Blaine said. “But our goal is always to reach more WKCTC students and provide them with life-changing experiences.”

The next study abroad trip will be to the South American country of Peru in Summer 2012. The trip is open to the public. Contact Pat Blaine at 270-534-3207 or pat.blaine@kctcs.edu for more information.