Buckeye Local teacher to study in Uruguay

CONNORVILLE — Buckeye Local High School teacher Bonnie Soos will head below the equator this summer to participate in a special study program in South America.

Soos, a BLHS alumna who has taught at her alma mater for the past 18 years, will join educators from across the nation for the Summer Seminars Abroad for Spanish Teachers program through The Ohio State University. She will depart on July 8 for Montevideo, Uruguay, to hone her linguistic skills during a 17-day workshop at Academia Uruguay and live with a host family for the duration, plus she will have opportunities to immerse herself in the culture and participate in extracurricular activities. Among the activities are weekend excursions and a visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

She previously studied in Venezuela and Mexico as an undergraduate at Ohio University in Athens around 1999 and said those experiences helped shape her career.

“I would not be where I am today if it were not for these two amazing experiences. Being fully immersed in culture and language is how one truly acquires a foreign language and understands and appreciates one’s culture,” she explained. “I am always itching to travel and have been blessed to have traveled to many places since then. Over the years, I have planned student travels to places such as Mexico, Spain, France and Italy. I try to instill my passion of language, culture and travel in my students and it is very rewarding.”

She became involved with the program as a way to improve herself as an educator and said she was looking for authentic professional development opportunities during summer break. In December, she received information through the Ohio Department of Educator and jumped at the chance. Soos applied in January and shortly thereafter was accepted into the program. She will also receive three graduate credits for her participation. But for her, the rewards are so much greater.

“I am super excited for this opportunity. It has been over 20 years since I last studied abroad,” she continued. “I am excited to meet other Spanish teachers from around the U.S. and I hope to collaborate with them and become lifelong friends. I am looking forward to living with a Uruguayan host family. This unique opportunity will help me to become better acquainted with their culture and customs in a direct and authentic way. Upon my return to the classroom in August, I will be eager to share all of these amazing experiences with my students. My students love hearing stories and looking at pictures from my past trips.”

Soos hoped to continue such studies in the future should the opportunities arise.