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"Do You Even Go To Class?!"

Since I've been in San Jose, my social media has been flooded with pictures of me at the gorgeous beaches here in Costa Rica. Time and time again, after seeing these photos my family and friends question if I'm actually studying. Despite all the beach pictures, I actually do go to classes and I love them! Before I arrived in San Jose I was curious to see what the classes were like and how they would be different from classes back home. So for everyone who's curious to see what a class at Universidad Veritas is like, I want to share my top three favorite things about my classes!

1. Classes are intimate 

One thing I love about the classes here are how small they are! The biggest class I have has 12 students and the smallest class I have has 8 students. With small class sizes, it's so easy to receive help and support from your Professors. The Professors also know you by name and most are willing to meet with you anytime you need extra assistance on classwork.

This semester abroad, I decided to take a mural painting class so I could try something new. Never taking an art class before or being an artist, I felt very overwhelmed on the first day of class. I was so scared that I would never understand what was going on and ultimately end up failing the class, but after sending an email to my Professor explaining my situation, I've received one on one help during class! My mural painting Professor makes sure I'm doing things correctly and he's been incredibly encouraging!

 Watching our Mural Painting Professor as he shows us how to use a technique for our project.

2. Classes are interactive 

Classes here require a great deal of participation. It's not like some classes back home where you listen to a Professor lecture for hours. Instead, you talk lots and do fun activities! This is honestly one of the best ways to learn, in my opinion. In my Spanish class, we're always talking, which is great for learning the language because if we make a mistake we're kindly corrected by our Professors, which in the long run helps us to speak better.

Group work is also a big thing in my classes! I really enjoy working with a partner or in a group because it allows me to ask my fellow students questions if I don't understand something. Also, I think it's interesting to hear new perspectives on different topics we discuss in class.

Another thing we do it play games! I love games in class because it helps me to learn the class material in a fun way. For example, in my Spanish class we played a game where we sat in a circle and had to pick vocab words out of an envelope and create a sentence with them. It reminded me of Mad Libs! I really enjoyed the game because it made be creative and also helped me to learn new words!

Finally in my mural painting class we create! We learn new techniques, that we'll ultimately use when we paint our mural, through painting and working on the computers. By creating, I'm able to receive feedback from my Professor on how to do something better and work with my hands to learn a new skill!

 Some creations from my mural painting class.
 During my Spanish class, we worked in groups to look up past news stories so we could practice finding past tense verbs.

3. Classes challenge you 

I never realized before coming to Costa Rica just how much I breezed through school. My classes were pretty laid back and I never felt very challenged. I went through the motions, did my work and turned it in. Here, my classes make me think outside the box. I'm not handed busy work here, but instead I'm asked to think, discuss, write, or create, anything to get my brain churning. Also, I've learned new perspectives from listening to my classmates. Instead of receiving loads of  meaningless work, I've been given small tasks that really make me sit and consider what I'm learning. Classes aren't extremely hard, but be prepared to work hard and use your noggin. Ultimately, I love that classes challenge me here because I know that when I return home, I'll be ready to take on whatever comes my way.

Overall, the classes here rock! If you enjoy knowing your classmates and Professors well, interacting, and being challenged, then Universidad Veritas is for you!

 Universidad Veritas's sign at night.

Kendall McKee is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in San Jose, Costa Rica. She is currently a junior at the University of Memphis.  

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