Students share the impact of serving and studying in Central America

by McKinley Powers

Eight Whitworth students spent Jan Term and Spring Semester of the 2014 school year in Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Costa Rica Center as a part of the Central American Service and Study Program. While participating in the program, each student was given the opportunity to work in an internship specific to his or her major while staying with a host family and learning from them.

The students started out in Guatemala where they each attended oral school in Spanish— sometimes even up to five hours a day. Toward the end of January, the students went to Nicaragua to participate in internships specific to their majors. After Nicaragua, the students spent time at the Costa Rica Center for a debrief of the program.

“It really inspired me and inspired what I want to do with my life,” Mirra Matheson, a junior majoring in Spanish and sociology, said. CASP was intimidating at first because of the Spanish-speaking portion of the program but she knew she wanted to do it, Matheson said.

Graduate Kelsey Grant also participated in the program. While in Guatemala, Grant took great notice to the role that immigration played in the lives around her. She noticed how a male from every family she was around was either living in the United States or had lived in the U.S. at one point working to send money back to their families.

“My experience with CASP has been challenging but so enriching,” Grant said.

A presentation put on by the student participants of CASP was given in the Robinson Teaching Theatre on Nov. 3.

As each student presented their experience with CASP, each student brought to attention a different view on life and the things they learned while participating in this program. Some focused on what the experienced and saw while in Central America, some focused on the emotional impact the experience has on them.

Others discussed the service portion of the program and the importance of vocation. The presentation concluded with an encouragement for students to study abroad.

“I’ll be living differently for the rest of my life because of CASP,” junior Lizzie Williams said.

Contact McKinley Powers at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *