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How to Make Memories

The best educational experiences are the ones that you never forget. For two Ohio Northern University students and one faculty member, a summer studying abroad in Costa Rica was just that.

A short 14 days after the end of classes last May, senior accounting and Spanish major Tyler Lucian, third-year pharmacy student and Spanish major Isabel Cwikla, and associate professor of communication arts Dr. Christine North were back in school, studying and teaching in San Ramón, Costa Rica, as part of the ONU’s study abroad program.


As member of the University Studies Abroad Consortium, ONU faculty members have taught as visiting professors at colleges and universities around the globe.

2014Chris NorthCosta Rica
2014Rob WatersGhana
2014Sarah WatersGhana
2012Rob WatersCzech Republic
2010Russ CrawfordChina
2009Chris NorthSpain
2005Tom FinnFrance

Lucian and Cwikla earned credits towards their Spanish degrees, while North taught a course on cross-cultural communication. ONU is a member of the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), which provides faculty members with opportunities to become visiting professors at USAC programs around the world. Professors often bring these unique teaching experiences back with them to ONU.

“Every experience in a foreign country allows me to bring those experiences back to what I teach on campus at ONU,” says North. “Whenever I am teaching any class, whether it be cross-cultural communication, health communication, my extra-disciplinary seminar on international projects, or communication theory, there are always examples from global interactions that can enhance what I am teaching.”

For a dual major like Cwikla, the study abroad program afforded a remarkably efficient education.

“My program was geared specifically toward health care, and all of my courses were taught in Spanish. So, every day I improved my Spanish while speaking and listening to the language in a health care context,” she says.  

Like so many memorable experiences, learning wasn’t just limited to the classroom.

“Studying abroad is the most exciting and fulfilling thing I have done in my life thus far. I specifically chose Costa Rica because I could live with a Costa Rican family instead of in a dormitory. As a result, I learned a lot about what it means to live the pura vida of the Ticos (what Costa Ricans call themselves) and also a lot about myself,” says Lucian.

Upon returning stateside, Lucian created a video highlighting his experiences. From zip-lining in the rain forest at La Selvatura Adventure Park, to celebrating Costa Rica’s improbable run to the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals, to spending quiet moments with new friends, the answer to the question he poses in the video’s title – “Is this how you make memories?” – is clearly a resounding yes.

To learn more about ONU’s study abroad opportunities, email