Ashland University Celebrates 10 Years of Collaboration with Tree Planting in Costa Rica

Ashland University Celebrates 10 Years of Collaboration with Tree Planting in Costa Rica
AU Professor Dr. Barb Schmidt-Rinehart and the 11 Ashland University students participating in the AU in Costa Rica program this summer pose for a photo with the tree that was planted to celebrate the 10 years of collaboration with the Conversa Language School in Santa Ana, Costa Rica.

6/3/19 ASHLAND, Ohio – The Ashland University in Costa Rica program celebrated its 10 years of collaboration with the Conversa Language School in Santa Ana, Costa Rica, by holding a small celebration that included the planting of a tree on the school grounds.

“We wanted to hold an event to commemorate this 10 years of collaboration and we decided to plant a tree to honor our long-standing relationship with the Conversa Language School,” said Dr. Barb Schmidt-Rinehart, who is AU professor of foreign languages and directs the “AU in Costa Rica” program.

The tree planting and installation of a plaque was the brainchild of AU Director of Study Abroad Rebecca Parillo, who said “this was a perfect way to celebrate the past 10 years and all that Conversa has done for our AU students. Here’s to 10 more years of adventure and learning.”

Parillo said 11 Ashland University students are participating in the “AU in Costa Rica” program during the summer of 2019. Those students are: Sydney Beavers of Marietta, Ohio; Katherine Conley of Mansfield, Ohio; Sarah Connell of Mifflintown, Pa.; Richelle Denes of Powell, Ohio; Tyler Easton of Orwell, Ohio; Ann Marie Hill of Jeromesville, Ohio; Emily Kuklinski of Bridgeville, Pa.; Angelica Malkus of Brunswick, Ohio; Gabrielle McGraw of Akron, Ohio; Tyler Mothersbaugh of Chardon, Ohio; and Destiny Williams of Ashland, Ohio.

“It is exciting to have this partnership with Conversa’s quality programs. They provide the ideal learning environment, both on campus and online. Their instruction is characterized by individual attention and high support, two aspects that mirror what we do here at AU,” Schmidt-Rinehart said. “Our philosophies about language instruction are very similar, so it was not difficult to align our courses for credit.”

The long-standing “AU in Costa Rica” is a program designed to provide students with an immersion experience. Students receive five hours of language instruction per day for four to eight weeks at Conversa Language Center, a Spanish language school situated in a lush mountain setting. For additional cultural experiences, students live with families and participate in weekend trips.

The residential program at Conversa Language Institute has operated at the Santa Ana campus since 1980. The "language park" is run on a former dairy farm on a hillside above Santa Ana and is one of the most respected Spanish language schools in the business. The six-acre campus boasts 18 classrooms, a cafeteria, three lodges, a video area, a swimming pool, a hammock lounge, a basketball hoop and pickle ball court, and zip lines for children. The learning corners include a mock bank, hotel, pawn shop, convenience store, an infirmary and a restaurant.

Conversa is dedicated to ensuring an environmentally friendly and sustainable operation. Its campus includes a hydroponics garden, an organic veggie garden, a free range chicken coop and history/educational trails.

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, comprehensive private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Religiously affiliated with the Brethren Church, Ashland University ( deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###