Weber State University is currently offering 14 study abroad trips in 2012. Among them is the rare opportunity for students studying Spanish to visit Cuba. Students planning to attend must have had four semesters of Spanish prior to attending the trip. Sign up started Oct. 17 and according to Alicia Giralt, the program director, spots are expected to fill up fast. Giralt, also a Spanish professor at WSU, said, “In the language program, we all think it’s very important that students visit countries where the language is spoken so students can increase proficiency.” According to Giralt, students who attend this trip can expect to gain a wealth of knowledge while also having fun. “Students will get three hours of class in the morning where they will learn language and culture,” Giralt said. “In the afternoon, we’ll have an hour of dance because music is so important in all of the Caribbean. “Giralt also said students can expect site-seeing and free time on the beach.

Tayla Egersheim, a WSU student majoring in Spanish and Latin American Studies, has been on two other study abroad trips. Her most recent trip was last summer to Guatemala. Giralt also attended the Guatemala trip. “The foreign language department is full of amazing professors,” Egersheim said. “We are lucky to have the diversity among them which in turns provides the students with endless knowledge.” Egersheim says she gained experience from her past trips and hopes to be able to attend the Cuba trip. She believes traveling the world is a great opportunity for students. “I think the best way to learn a language is to experience it firsthand,” Egersheim said. “You are completely immersed in the language and the culture, what an opportunity! Every time I travel, I come home viewing life a little different but always in a great way.” She said some of her best college memories are from her studies abroad. “The people you travel with become a family during the time you are there and together you experience a whole new world and have experiences you will never forget,” said Egersheim.

Lane Harris, also a Spanish major at WSU, has been able to attend two past study abroad trips: Guatemala and Costa Rica. To Harris, attending the Cuba trip would be “a new opportunity to be immersed in a very unique Spanish culture.” According to Harris, the trips have completely revamped the way he thinks. “My world view was completely face lifted,” Harris said. “My appreciation for opportunity was immensely increased.” Harris said students planning to attend the Cuba trip can expect a “literal life change and the beginning of an addiction to learning about other cultures by traveling around the world.”

Giralt has been on several other study abroad trips. She supports the program with such intensity because she believes there is so much students can gain from a trip. “Every time you go abroad, when you come back something has changed,” Giralt said. “It doesn’t matter how many times you go, every time you come back, you return richer.” For information and details on the Cuba study abroad trip, visit WSU’s study abroad website or call Continuing Education at (801) 626-6600.

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