Six Claflin Students Selected For Summer Project In Puerto Rico

Jun 03, 2015

Six Claflin University students will travel to Puerto Rico from June 17-27 for a project designed to improve their communications skills in Spanish while serving as goodwill ambassadors.  The students will participate in the “Spanish Language Immersion/African Influence in Puerto Rican Language and Culture Project “headed by Dr. Jason Youngkeit, an assistant professor of Spanish at Claflin.

According to Youngkeit, one of the project’s primary objectives is to provide the students an opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico, not only as tourists, but also as a group that will be immersed in the life of the Puerto-Rican community.

“This experience will allow the students to dramatically improve their Spanish language skills,” he said.  “They will be expected to use Spanish at all times, especially out among the local Puerto-Rican population while doing such things as ordering food in restaurants, bargaining with and buying different items from local merchants and interacting with native Puerto-Ricans while strolling the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan.”

Clalflin students selected for the trip are seniors Darius Ceasar (sociology & criminal justice administration/Columbia, S.C.); Tabithia K. Holman (history/Orangeburg, S.C.); and Ebone D. Trapp (chemistry/Columbia, S.C.).  They will be joined by sophomores Audrey  D. Anchirinah (mass communications/Ghana); Alissa V. Marlbrough (Spanish/Columbia, S.C.); and  William E. Richburg (philosophy & religion/Sumter, S.C.). 

The project will also allow the students to research the rich heritage of African influences in Puerto-Rican culture.

“The African heritage and influences can be found today in Puerto Rico's art, music, cuisine, language and other aspects of everyday life” said Youngkeit. 

The “Spanish Language Immersion/African Influence in Puerto Rican Language and Culture Project” received funding from the Faculty International Research Awards through the Claflin University Visionary Leadership Institute’s (VLI) Global Leadership Program (GLP). These awards were funded by a grant from the United Methodist Church Black College 5% Fund.

The Black College Fund assists the 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges in funding for faculty development, maintaining infrastructure, student scholarships and financial aid.

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