UC Students to Study Abroad in Costa Rica

Morgan Huenergarde and Madisan Miller stand together in front of the fountain on UC's campus.

Two students from University of the Cumberlands (UC) will have the opportunity to expand their horizons and experience a different culture during an upcoming study abroad experience in Costa Rica. 

“Study abroad should be a component of higher education regardless of field of study,” said Dr. Laura Dennis, chair of the Department of World Languages at UC. “It broadens one’s perspective and creates a deeper understanding of both the self and others. Moreover, many workplaces increasingly seek employees who can function in diverse cultural contexts.”

Morgan Huenergarde, a double major in psychology and Spanish from Morristown, Tennessee, and Madisan Miller, a rising senior studying Spanish and biology from Mount Vernon, Kentucky, will both attend Universidad Latina de Costa Rica in Heredia for several weeks during the summer, studying the Spanish language and immersing themselves in the culture.

“I think the ability to study abroad is an invaluable and life-changing experience,” Huenergarde said. “I hope to learn more of the language and to improve my comfort and confidence in my speaking ability, as well as to explore a new and different culture.”

Miller, who aspires to work as a physician, decided to study Spanish to better communicate with Hispanic patients, one of the many factors that also led her to study abroad.

“Communication in general is just so vital to being good, productive citizens,” Miller said. “There is no feeling like learning a language and opening the door to an entire population of people that you couldn’t talk to before.”

The study abroad program is operated by SOL Education Abroad, which offers Spanish immersion programs and is affiliated with UC. In addition to attending classes in Costa Rica, Huenergarde and Miller will be able to participate on several excursions, visiting cultural landmarks, rainforests and more. They will also stay with host families from Heredia.

Julie Deyrup, the Director of UC Study Abroad, established the Costa Rica program affiliation at UC and visited the Heredia location herself back in November.

“It is our office’s mission to offer safe and affordable study abroad options for our UC students,” Deyrup said. “This academic opportunity is crucial for 21st-century career success. Costa Rica is ideal because it is stable, safe and a relatively short distance to travel from the United States. It also has so much to offer students from any academic discipline. We’re very excited to have this new program in place and look forward to hearing stories from our students who will be traveling there this summer.”

Both Huenergarde and Miller received study abroad scholarships from Sigma Delta Pi, the national Hispanic honor society, to help fund their experience in Costa Rica.

“For world language students, overseas study is especially crucial,” Dennis said. “Communication does not happen in a vacuum and a language cannot be fully learned or understood unless one spends time in the culture where that language is spoken.”

Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands is an institute of regional distinction offering quality undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and online degree programs. Learn more at ucumberlands.edu.