International Social Services: A Costa Rican Perspective
- Attend lectures and site visits to social service agencies to learn more about social services in Costa Rica
- Travel to significant cultural and historical sites around San Jose
- No language experience required
- Earn 3 hours of academic credit
The program provides students a general perspective on social services and broader social problems through a combination of lectures and site visits to social service agencies. These institutions focus on the institutional as well as individual aspects of social problems through individual troubles. In addition to daily seminars and site visits, students will have the opportunity to travel to significant cultural and historical sites in and around San José.
The following questions shape the context for these experiences: What are the differences in service delivery across cultures? How does culture influence the definitions and responses to social problems and answers? What influence does global economics have on community practice, child welfare, mental health, and schools?
Costa Rica is known for its natural beauty, extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna, social and political stability, high educational levels, and efficient infrastructure and services. The capital of San José is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. It lies in the Central Valley on a plain surrounded by large forested mountain ranges, some of which include active volcanoes, green savannahs, and working coffee plantations.
Universidad de Costa Rica
The Universidad de Costa Rica is the oldest and largest university in Costa Rica, with a population of 35,000 students.
The University of Kansas-Universidad de Costa Rica exchange program, initiated in 1958, is the oldest inter-university exchange of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Initiatives such as the collaborative short-term study abroad programs designed by the KU School of Social Welfare and UCR strengthen the bond between the two universities.
Three hours of academic credit are granted by the University of Kansas upon successful completion of the program. Students will enroll in 3 credit hours of SW 560, SW 855, or SW 955, dependent upon academic level.
One formal class session will take place in Lawrence prior to departure. During that time, students will develop a series of questions in their area of interest which they will answer during the course of the program. There will be one class session after the program to reflect on the experience.
While in Costa Rica, the group will visit the UCR School of Social Welfare, attend lectures about the current state of affairs in Costa Rica, the health system, the justice system, women's issues, immigration, and other areas of concern. Planned site visits include a local health center, the UCR School of Social Welfare practicum site, a women's correctional facility, and a technical/secondary school for adolescent boys.
Students are housed in double or triple occupancy rooms at a hotel near UCR.
While in San José, the group will tour the city to see some of the main attractions, including the National Museum and National Theater, and attend a cultural night to watch traditional dancing. Planned excursions in the area include a visit to a coffee farm and La Paz Waterfalls, which also has hiking trails, a butterfly conservatory, hummingbird garden, and other areas with wildlife.
The group will travel to Manuel Antonio National Park for the weekend, making a stop at a spice farm on the way. Manuel Antonio is a rainforest with tropical plants and wildlife located on the beach. Next, the group will travel to La Fortuna where students will visit the Arenal waterfall and nearby Maleku indigenous community to eat a traditional lunch and learn about medicinal plants. Students can also choose to walk the rainforest trails and enjoy the hot springs or a mud bath.
Open to undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Social Welfare as well as junior and senior Sociology and Psychology majors. Minimum 2.5 GPA required. Exceptions considered after submission of a petition.
Community professionals may also take this course as part of the School’s Professional Community Education Program.
Rick Spano, Associate Professor in the School of Social Welfare will once again lead the program.