Greenheart Travel is excited to send a group of amazing high school students to language camps overseas as part of our 2016 Travel Correspondent Scholarship awards. To help introduce our inspiring writers, we are doing a series of spotlight interviews to help you get to know a little more about who they are, where they will be headed and what inspired them to learn a new language abroad.
Read on to meet 17-year-old, Owen Arnall, our Greenheart Travel Correspondent from Springfield, Missouri who’ll be traveling to San Jose for his summer language camp in Costa Rica!
My favorite thing to do in my free time is to explore the outdoors and enjoy nature. I like to go with my friends on long hikes through the Ozark temperate forests, kayak the Buffalo river, and camp in the woods!
Last summer I went to Lesotho, Africa for five weeks. I lived in a rondavel, a traditional stone hut, and embraced the culture of the Basotho. I really enjoyed my time there, and it really fueled my desire to see more of the world!
I’ve taken many language classes in school, and I’ve developed a strong desire to utilize and strengthen the skills I have acquired in those classes. That’s one of the main reasons that I wanted to travel to a Spanish speaking country, and I also love learning about different cultures and different people groups. I can’t wait for my time in Costa Rica to do all of these things, and embrace the Tico lifestyle!
I’m super excited to dive into the Costa Rican culture and experience a new way of life, and I’m pretty excited about going to the beach as well! I’m also looking forward to building on my language skills so I can improve my ability to communicate with more of the world.
I think it’s important to travel to a new place and learn a new language, as these things help to build a bigger perspective of the world. Too often people get caught up in the mandates of their own lives that they forget that the world is full of possibilities and opportunities. I believe that having a larger perspective of the world opens up people’s minds to the fullness of life and to the beauty each person’s life holds.
I’m not really nervous for the trip at all; I just hope I don’t get sick!
I’m not as strong in my ability to speak Spanish at this point, but I can communicate relatively effectively in writing. I can express my thoughts verbally, but my vocal ability isn’t fluent or beautifully expressed yet!
I think gaining a new perspective and learning new things about a different culture always helps you to find your own identity, and to strengthen your confidence in who you are. There is something about seeing the uniqueness and beauty each culture and individual carries that emboldens you to embrace yourself and to express yourself more openly.
Owen Arnall is 17 years old and lives in Springfield, Missouri. His goal during his language program in San Jose, Costa Rica is to “embrace the pura vida of life so that I can be completely submerged into the culture and build meaningful relationships with the Ticos!” Follow Owen’s adventure in Costa Rica on his weekly blog post updates.