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Woodstock HS grad enjoys studying abroad

WOODSTOCK –  David Shinabarger is a 2009 graduate of Woodstock High School studying abroad in Guatemala for a second semester in the Latin American Country.

He sent the following email to the Northwest Herald.

• • •

"This fall semester I will be returning to Guatemala, the land of eternal spring! I spent the Fall 2011 semester in Antigua, Guatemala, and thanks to the Gilman Scholarship, I have the opportunity to return. I am very excited to continue learning Spanish, examining the culture, and experiencing Guatemala.

Under Spring Arbor University’s Guatemala Semester Abroad program I will be living with a host family, where I will eat authentic Guatemalan food, speak Spanish, and drink delicious Guatemalan coffee.

I will be taking four-hour a day, five days a week of one-on-one Spanish lessons at La Union Spanish School for six weeks. After this, I hope to volunteer with a micro-financing organization. In addition, a professor from SAU who lives in Guatemala will teach me in sociological research and statistic classes, as well as a class called Faith, Spirituality, and Justice.

Guatemala is a beautiful nation full of volcanoes, coffee, and a strong Mayan culture. Approximately half of the population in Guatemala speaks an indigenous language as their first language, meaning Guatemala has one of the strongest indigenous populations in the world.

Antigua, the city I will be staying in, literally means Antique. Antigua was the old capital of Guatemala, and first capital of all of Latin America. It held the first printing press in all of the Americas, and contains cobblestone streets, and colorful people, houses, and culture.

Sitting at 5,000 feet above sea level they call it the land of eternal spring because the daily high temperatures are typically between 60-80 degrees.

This trip would be impossible without the Gilman Scholarship. The Gilman Scholarship is a federal scholarship available to any college student interested in studying a language abroad. For more information on this scholarship visit www.gilmanapplication.iie.org."

David Shinabarger is Global Studies Senior at Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor Michigan and a 2009 Woodstock High School Graduate from Woodstock, Illinois. Follow his blog at www.dshinabarger.wordpress.com.

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