To the editor:
I would like to comment on my perspective of how the Tropical Studies Program through the University of Kansas in Costa Rica has affected my life. I was a student in the charter class at Golfito back in 1992. Accompanied by Professor John Hoopes, we engaged in archaeological research in the area, including fieldwork and laboratory studies over a five-month period. In addition, we were actively involved in Spanish language studies, which turned out to be an invaluable asset for me.
As a direct result of my studies in Golfito, I was employed for seven years on a National Geographic-funded archaeological project in southern Costa Rica, and have continued working in Costa Rica every year since 1992. Currently, I am employed as a Spanish teacher at a high school in Hawaii.
My interest in writing to the Journal-World is to provide my support as an ex-study abroad student. My experiences in Golfito were extremely beneficial to my present and past professional activities, indeed the Golfito project was VITAL in my professional formation and development.
Golfito fosters a safe and hospitable environment. I have often revisited the area and have experienced the same hospitality and warmth that Golfiteare known for. I have always felt comfortable in Golfito, whether alone or with friends. In fact, I fear for my safety more in most urban settings in the United States than I ever would in Costa Rica.
I was extremely upset at the news of Ms. Martin's death, and at the horrible circumstances surrounding it. My sympathies go to her family and friends, as well as the staff at the Golfito program in Costa Rica.
In closing, it is my sincerest hope that people will assess blame where blame lies, i.e. with the perpetrator of the crime, and not with the University of Kansas' study abroad program in Costa Rica. The program has touched many lives, and will continue to do so.