Kerry Stefancyk

Winter 1999


I participated in PICY during my first year of college in 1999/2000 when I was 18 years old. I have participated in 3 academic and cultural exchange programs and have done extensive research of other similar programs, and can emphatically say that PICY is without a doubt the best. This program has had a profound impact on my life, and has altered my academic and professional trajectory. There are a number of elements that make this program distinct from others. First and foremost is that it is 100% immersion. Instruction is completely in Spanish, and most importantly, each student lives with a host family, providing a nurturing environment from which to experience, and truly live another culture. The program takes great care in assessing the personality of each student and placing them with a family with which they will be most compatible. I had an incredible experience with my host family, and can truly say that I was loved and cared for as if I was part of their family; and they became part of mine. Yet another distinguishing feature of the program is the director herself, Karla E. Peña Zapata. I have met few people over the years that carry out their work with as much passion as Karla. She takes a profound interest in getting to know each of her students, and truly cares about ensuring that they have the most fulfilling experience possible -- not to mention that she is a stellar Spanish as a Foriegn Language Instructor. If you think you can't learn Spanish, I assure you you can!!! 15 years later, I am still filled with vivid and heart-felt memories of my experiences in Yucatan. I am very proud to be one of the program's first graduating students; and it is with great pleasure that I watch it consolidate and expand. PICY promises a profoundly life-altering experience. It not only provides Spanish instruction to foreign language learners; it also provides students opportunities to acquire a profound understanding of the culture and realities of the people of Yucatan. PICY generates life-longer learners of Spanish language, and more importantly, compassionate, tolerant and informed global citizens.