ZOVIEDO: Zoe’s Summer in Spain

In the summer of 2017, I got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Costa Rica on a Spanish immersion trip with 30 other students and 4 teachers from Homestead. I knew the 9-day trip would be an absolute dream – my first time outside of the United States, my first trip without my parents, and the cherry on top, my first plane ride – but the adventure changed my life in more ways than I predicted. I had loved the Spanish language and had studied it for 4 years prior to Costa Rica, starting with Spanish I my 7th grade year, but in shifting my perspective and utterly immersing myself in the language, I developed a passion for Spanish language and Hispanic culture beyond what love already lived in me. Our last day in Costa Rica as we drove through San José, myself gazing through the window of our green tour bus at the city and life surrounding me, I made up my mind to double major in Spanish and devote my life to speaking and living it. This summer I get my running start!

My name is Zoe Moore and I’m a junior at Homestead High School. There, I am actively involved in Poetry Club, Photography Club, Film Club, National Honors Society, and a political club called Young Progressives, but my passions extend even further beyond school. As my third year of high school comes to a close I am learning the importance of each of my interests in their own regards and looking forward to pursuing my two greatest passions in fast-approaching college: Filmmaking and Spanish. By fusing my passions for the arts and my second language I feel my world already expanding, considering the world expands in relation to how a person expands their own horizons. For my generation and those after me, it is becoming increasingly impossible to live sheltered from the impacts of an evolving, globalized world, and in this emerging global society communication marks the key to understanding and ultimately uniting with one another. Writer Geoffrey Williams said “you can never understand one language until you understand at least two,” and in 2018 this is truer than ever. Where some people fear the emergence of Spanish in America as a dominant language, frightened by the coalescence of different cultures and the hands that reach across and connect isolated places, my generation has no room for fear of the world coming together. To be able to communicate in three tongues: Spanish, English, and cinema, I feel I can touch far more lives than if I limited myself to one – can better connect the dots in the wide web of the world.

This fall I got back to Homestead with Costa Rica still center stage in my mind. I had heard amazing stories of other Homestead students who had spent their summers living with host families and taking classes in Spain since freshman year, and this year was no different. I was pulled by my augmenting magnetic passion for Spanish and, inspired to immerse myself in the rich language and culture of another country, I investigated the program.

The Indiana University Honors Program in Foreign Languages for High School Students (IUHPFL) is a program through IU Bloomington designed to provide high school student language learners with the opportunity to experience language in a whole new realm. Created in 1962, each year the program gives hundreds of Indiana students the chance to live their language and shift their perspective for 6 weeks abroad in June and July, in any of eight countries: Austria, Canada, Chile, China, France, Japan, Mexico, or Spain. IUHPFL combines total integration into the country’s culture through the mandatory language commitment, rigorous academic instruction and focus throughout the program, and the host family experience, which make up IUHPFL’s Three Pillars. On top of taking college-level language classes in linguistics and grammar with other program participants, going on regional and overnight excursions to museums and landmarks to learn the host country’s history, and making lasting friends far removed from home (and internet, and phones, and English,) students experience the world through a new lens and come home with a broader sense of what it means to be alive.

Incredible, right? I worked hard on my application this fall, got my letters of recommendation, sculpted my portfolio, and took the writing assessment to determine my language aptitude. Just this Monday I got my acceptance email from IUHPFL which included my program site placement, my number one choice out of 5 potential sites for Spanish students: Oviedo, Spain! Being accepted into the competitive preparatory program is an honor and a gift. The thought of actually living with a host family in Europe and bonding with other passionate students from all over Indiana from the first week of June to the middle of July is mind boggling and so exciting!

My trip to Costa Rica was impactful and unforgettable in many ways, but at less than half the cost of traveling with IUHPFL, it was already virtually impossible for my family to finance. I was grateful to receive a much needed Dave Hefner Scholarship to assist with expenses in Costa Rica last year, yet this eliminates my eligibility to apply again this year. And although I’ve applied for financial assistance through the IUHPFL program itself, I will not hear back about the results of that application until a few days before the initial program payment of $500 is due February 15th, with the first of two Airfare payment due March 1st. IUHPFL financial assistance awards have ranged in the past from $250 to $1500, but not all applicants qualify for assistance due to limited funds and the system of ranking applications against others from the same year, meaning a student may qualify for financial aid in other situations but not in comparison to other applicants.

Having said that, from today to May 15th when the final installment is due, I need to raise:

$4,900 for Program tuition and fees

$1,495 for Airfare with group flight prices

$700 estimate for miscellaneous expenses, such as registration fee, postage, food and other costs abroad

Although participating in IUHPFL is by no means a small investment, I can think of no way I would rather spend my summer than absorbed and engaged in Spanish: my skill and passion, someday major, and career objective. In reality, the program’s cost is competitive with most international and U.S. summer language immersion experiences, especially taking into account the length and intensity of the program.

As college grows nearer and nearer to the present, my fate looms before me like a blank canvas I could turn into anything. Spanish marked the first thing I was and still am 100% sure of, and it gives shape to the emerging figures in that painting of my future. To be able to truly dive in and study the language with no interruption for 6 weeks in Oviedo, to spend the summer in Northwestern Spain, would be a miracle I would be endlessly grateful. I and my family continue to work towards meeting as much of the cost as we can, and all of your generous help and support mean so much to me. Thank you so much for believing in me and the power of my dreams!

Mil gracias,

Zoe Moore
  • Brittney Coughlin 
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 49 mos
  • Alison Gerardot 
    • $100 (Offline)
    • 49 mos
  • Marcia K Hunt Memorial Fund 
    • $2,000 (Offline)
    • 49 mos
    • $100 
    • 49 mos
  • Daron Aldrich  
    • $50 
    • 49 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Zoe Brakaen Moore 
Fort Wayne, IN
Heather Brackeen