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School of Teacher Education

School of Teacher Education

Liberal Studies
SDSU Liberal Studies

2018 Liberal Studies Trips

On this page: Find information about planned 2018 Liberal Studies trips to Belize, Costa Rica, and Ecuador.

Spring Break in Central and South America

The rich history, culture, flora, and fauna of Central and South America is the context of these programs which provide pre-service teachers with enriching experiences to share with their future school children.

Approximate cost for spring break programs: $2000, includes enrollment in mandatory 1-unit course and all expenses (except airfare and some meals).

Add your name to the interest list in Aztecs Abroad to have an opportunity to apply for a spring break program! 

Learn about the following spring break 2018 trips:

Image of the word Belize with a tropical bird


  • Image: Mayan ruinsInteract with local principals, teachers, and students
  • Volunteer in elementary schools
  • Stay with local families (2-3 students per home)
  • See spectacular ancient Mayan ruins
  • Visit the Green Iguana Conservation Project
  • Tour the Belize Zoo
  • Go cave tubing through a Mayan cave
  • Stroll the Belize Botanical Gardens
  • Learn about the Belize Barrier Reef and snorkel Caye Caulker


Trip Leader - Marva Cappello

Photo: Marva Capello with camera

Dr. Marva Cappello is a Professor of Literacy Education and Director of the Center for Visual Literacies at San Diego State University. In addition to her elementary classroom and reading specialist experiences, MA in Reading Education, and Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Learning, Dr. Cappello has a BFA in photography and work experiences in visual arts making record jackets in London and in advertising in New York.


Dr. Cappello has been an innovator in the field of visual research methods in education and is currently working on a book for teachers focused on strategic ways to use visuals to support young literacy and language learners. She is currently studying elementary school students visual displays of content knowledge at a school less than 6 miles from the Mexican border which is home to a large percentage of socioeconomically disadvantaged students as well as English learners. Dr. Cappello is an experienced traveler and has visited many countries from Northern Africa to across Europe. In addition, Dr. Cappello taught 4 consecutive summers preparing teachers across the Pacific in places like Samoa, Palau, and Pohnpei in Micronesia. She will bring these experiences to her time in Belize.

Costa Rica

  • butterfliesInteract with local principals, teachers, and students
  • Volunteer in elementary schools
  • Stay with local families (2-3 students per home)
  • Experience the rainforest
  • Visit a butterfly farm
  • Volunteer with rescued animals at the Asis Wildlife Center
  • Hike lava beds in Volcano National Park
  • Visit a local coffee grower and creamery


Trip Leader - Karen Lafferty

Photo: Karen Lafferty

Dr. Karen Lafferty is a lecturer in the School of Teacher Education and Assistant Coordinator of the Liberal Studies program. She grew up in San Diego, lived in Paris for a year while in graduate school, and then returned to San Diego to teach English and French in local public schools.

One of her greatest joys is seeing her former students become teachers. Dr. Lafferty is especially interested in how newcomers learn from more experienced teachers as they enter the teaching profession. She looks forward to visiting Costa Rica with Liberal Studies students in the spring. Dr. Lafferty is especially excited to visit Costa Rica and get more mileage out of her prior yellow fever vaccine.


  • Photo: Little girls of EcuadorInteract with local principals. teachers, and students
  • Volunteer in elementary schools
  • Stay with local families (2-3 students per home)
  • Spend a day in historic Quito, a UNESCO world heritage site
  • Visit butterfly and orchid gardens
  • Learn about making chocolate from the ground up
  • Explore a cloud forest and hike Imbabura Volcano
  • Shop in Otavalo, the largest handicrafts market in South America
  • Visit Peguche waterfall and Cubilche Lake

Trip Leader - Lisa Carney-Farwell

Photo: Dr. Lisa Carney-Farwell

Professor Lisa Carney-Farwell will be leading the international experience in Ecuador. An Aztec alumnus, she has taught elementary school in Washington State and in California for 25 years.

At SDSU, Professor Carney-Farwell teaches education courses for the Liberal Studies major and is a University Supervisor for students in the Multiple Subjects Credential program. She loves to travel, speaks Spanish, and is so excited to lead the Ecuador trip this coming spring. She has traveled twice to Ecuador, both times with her family, to visit and travel with her daughter who is teaching at Colegio Americano in Quito. And she has been to many of the places that students will visit over spring break.

"I know you will enjoy them as much as we have. I am looking forward to sharing an Ecuadorian adventure with SDSU Liberal Studies students."

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