Alumni Scholarship Winner 2023

2023 Xperitas Alumni Scholarship Winner

Jayce Hingtgen, Center Point-Urbana High School

Congratulations to the winner of our 2023 Xperitas Alumni Scholarship:

Jayce Hingtgen

We are thrilled to introduce the recipient of our prestigious 2023 Xperitas Alumni Scholarship, Jayce H. from Center Point-Urbana High School in Iowa! His remarkable essay, demonstrating a profound reflection on his immersion experience, captivated our selection panel. Jayce is set to make the most of the Xperitas Alumni Scholarship as he embarks on his journey at Luther College this fall, pursuing a major in Spanish with the pursuit of becoming a teacher. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Jayce to delve into his experience and future aspirations. Gain insights into this outstanding student by delving into our insightful interview below. 

Alumni Scholarship Winner 2023 Jayce H.
Jayce with his group in Costa Rica

Can you share your experience from the summer of 2023 when you traveled to Costa Rica with your Spanish teacher and classmates? 

It was a life-altering experience. The people I met, the landmarks we toured, and the personal growth I experienced have made a lasting impact on me. 

It sounds like your journey to Costa Rica was filled with memorable experiences. Can you tell me more about your highlights from the program? 

One of the major highlights was the family stay. I stayed with a family where the mom worked, and the dad was a DJ. They even put me in their car and drove around playing an ad over a speaker. Their sister played on the national futbol team as a goalkeeper. It was a fantastic cultural exchange. 

How did the family stay impact your language practice and overall experience? 

It was incredible! We had about six days with the family, and the bus rides were filled with time to practice since the group I went with teamed up with a few other schools. Initially, I was a bit nervous. It helped that my teacher gave us some last-minute advice before we met our families, but as soon as I saw my host family and their excitement, their warm welcome melted away my nervousness and it turned out to be an awesome experience. 

How has your proficiency and passion for Spanish evolved through your interactions with native speakers? 

Spanish has always come naturally to me, but the trip further transformed my proficiency. Communicating with native Spanish speakers was really cool, and it fueled my drive to immerse myself and learn everything I could while I was there.  

Jayce decided to pursue Spanish education and Piano performance at Luther College, and which is so fitting as he will learn how to guide others in finding joy in learning as well! 

I think anyone would notice a significant change in their perspective by traveling through a program like this. The daily experiences and family stay is inspiring me to revisit Costa Rica and explore other countries to find similar transformative experiences. 

How has your journey influenced your leadership roles, both at work and in school? 

Well, at my job at Subway, I've gained valuable skills and the ability to communicate with people from different cultures. My colleagues often rely on me to assist with customers, especially when they really only speak Spanish. I found that even if someone doesn’t speak Spanish, the program helped me find the body language and other words or phrases around the meaning of what I’m trying to convey. At school, I'm involved in various leadership teams like being in choir, National Honors Society, and in Spanish club.  

Can you elaborate on the changes you've noticed in your environmental consciousness after your trip to Costa Rica? 

Before the trip, I didn't care much about the environment. However, witnessing the natural beauty of wildlife and habitats in Costa Rica made me more aware of my actions. I now understand that every little action affects the environment, leading me to change my habits and inspire my friends and family to do the same. 

How do you think your program prepared you for the transition to college? 

Meeting new people, being away from home—these were all aspects I encountered during the trip, and it’s giving me the confidence to face similar situations in college. 

What advice would you give to others considering a language immersion program? 

I would encourage everyone to get out of their shell for a little bit and see the rest of the world. I also feel like this program really bonded our group of friends. We shared a unique experience, and it strengthened our friendships both within and across schools. 

Alumni Scholarship Winner 2023 Jayce H. Family Stay Experience

Jayce, your Xperitas experience has undoubtedly left a lasting impression, and we sincerely appreciate you sharing such insightful reflections! With your remarkable journey and future plans in mind, we're excited to anticipate the remarkable things that lie ahead for you. Once again, heartfelt congratulations! 

Let us help plan your next immersion experience and make it accessible to all your students, such as learning more about our Scholarship opportunities. We have many destination options for Language Immersion programs worldwide. Necessary traveler protections for teachers and students are already integrated into our programs, giving you, your students, and their guardians peace of mind. Contact us today!