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Fundraiser sells art, helps send students to U.S. for college

Buy artwork. Pick up a raffle ticket. Send promising young students to the United States. Not bad for a night’s work. It all goes down at the Costa Rican-North American Center in San Pedro on Wednesday night.

For many young Ticos, no dream is more enticing than a chance to study in the U.S. There are plenty of prestigious schools in Costa Rica, but the U.S. offers a variety of schools and specialty majors that do not exist here. Yet the U.S. is expensive – according to the National Center for Education Statistics, undergraduates at public schools spend an average of $13,564 per academic year, never mind Ivy League students.

You can help these dreams come true thanks to the Opportunity Fund, a collaboration between the Costa Rican-North American Center and Education USA, a study-abroad organization. Started in 2006, the fund distributes money to promising Costa Rican students who hope to enroll in a U.S. school. While the fund doesn’t pay the student’s full tuition or living expenses, it greases the wheels, covering visa applications, document translation, placement exams and transportation to the school, among other things.

To raise money for the fund, the Center will host a benefit on Wednesday,Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m., in its San Pedro headquarters. The soiree will include raffles and an art auction, among other activities. Patrons can peruse and purchase the work of Costa Rican artists, who will donate a percentage of their revenue to the Opportunity Fund.

More than 100 academic institutions in the U.S. have admitted Costa Rican students through the program. Last year’s recipients were Jimmy Rojas, who is now studying at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, and José Ángel Rodriguez, who is attending Virginia Tech. This year’s selections are Jorge Isaac Sandoval and Joselina Chacón, who are still applying to schools. Stay in the loop to find out where they go.

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