Hola amigos!

In just a few days, a group of eleven Luther students, including myself, and Professor Rita Tejada, will embark on a month long adventure to Guatemala and Costa Rica. While abroad, we will stay with local host families in both countries to practice our Spanish-speaking skills. When we aren’t conversing with our families, we will attend morning classes at the universities and explore the cities to learn about the geography, history, and culture of Guatemala and Costa Rica.

My name is Emma Deihl, a junior English and psychology major with a Spanish minor, and I am the blog coordinator for this trip. At Luther, I enjoy serving as a Resident Assistant in Brandt Hall, singing in Collegiate Chorale and Beautiful Mess, and working to reduce stigma surrounding mental health in Active Minds.

I'm overwhelmed with excitement and nervousness as the January adventure approaches. Overcoming the language barrier will likely be my biggest challenge, so I have a feeling más despacio (slow down) and repite por favor (repeat please) will become my most frequently used phrases. However, despite my fear of stumbling over Spanish phrases and failing to understand native speakers, I greatly look forward to my first study abroad experience. Living with local families will enable my classmates and I to gain a perspective of the culture that we could never have as tourists staying in hotels. Developing relationships with my classmates and Costa Rican/Guatemalan people is what I look forward to most, but as a lover of the outdoors and coffee, I am also excited to visit the volcanoes, waterfalls, and coffee plantations!

Readers will eventually hear from the other ten travelers, as they will compose their own blog posts, but for now, adios!

Emma Deihl

Here's a picture of Emma with a coffee plant in Cuba. She looks forward to visiting more coffee plantations in Guatemala and Costa Rica!