Have you ever read something and every time you read it you come out with a different conclusion? Or have you read something and thought you had all the angles covered until someone else comes and shines the light from a different perspective? That is because we put meaning to certain concepts depending on our environment and experiences. The exact event is taking place in my classes here in Costa Rica. Just when I thought I had all of my communication topics and theories down pat, my classmates and professors prove to me there is always another angle to look at certain topics.

In my documentary appreciation class, we discuss and discover about various topics depending on the student body and their interests. It is similar to the U.S. in the structure of the class. We talk about semiotics, connotation and denotation of signs; the same way my theory classes cover these topics back home. What makes the class so different is the approach the professor takes on teaching the class. Though we have been given the basis of how documentaries come to pass we were given the opportunity to create our own stories as our first assignment. Stories about Che Guevara, Facebook, and bread slices surfaced in our discussions. It was not a boring research paper kind of discussion, but everyone took a different angle to tell a story that most of us have heard about. I did not expect such in-depth discussion in just the third week of class. I’ve come to realize that the professors here acknowledge the fact that students already know so much, and as a result they open their classes as a platform that will drive us to look deeper into our interests and to share the knowledge we have acquired in the process.

I have to say that I was very judgmental at first when it came to the structure of the classes because it seemed to be going very slow at first. In my mind, I often think that a class that is so laid back from the beginning is a class that will be easy and will not require much of my effort. But I was proven wrong when listening to everyones stories, because we were all so passionate. It was as if we were waiting for this moment to be given the opportunity to wow an audience with our knowledge and views on the world. As a class we have certainly looked beyond what is presented to us, and have tried to expand our horizon to look for different perspectives on issues out of the U.S. I believe that this is a great way to research and learn about current or past issues in other cultures. I really like the way discussion is a major highlight in classes here in the Costa Rica. It surely has opened my eyes on the different ways of viewing the world. I hope to continue to learn from my peers, and expand my horizon through the sharing of the topics we are most passionate about. 

Written by Christelle Pierre-Louis, Social Media Journalist

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