Developing Global Perspective in Costa Rica

Image of Costa Rica
Designed for those with limited international travel experience, this program will help students develop awareness of and reflect on their personal and cultural identities, learn how individuals in another culture engage with their society, and recognize similarities and distinctions between the two.
Location: San Jose & La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Academic Disciplines: -Open to All Majors
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

Global Perspective: “A viewpoint that tries to understand the place or places of individuals, groups, cultures and societies in the world and how they relate to each other”
~Bell, 2014. 

Designed for the first-time international traveler, this study abroad program will aid students in examining their own identities within the context of cultural and societal groups in the United States in order to better understand their own perspective. By comparison, and through the abroad experience, students will explore the culture of the host country, learning about its history, societal values, cultural and racial identity groups, and social issues. Current issues in the U.S. that may also be of significance to the host country will be explored, such as immigration, access to education, and environmental policy.  

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.

San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, 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.  

La Fortuna is a small community that is located near the dormant volcano Arenal. It is home to hot springs, the Arenal waterfall, and farms producing chocolate and coffee.

All students will enroll in LA&S 492 Special Topics: Developing Global Perspective (3 credit hours) during the Summer term.

This course will meet on the University of Kansas campus for six sessions (2 hours each) in the weeks prior to travel. Days and times for the pre-program meetings will be announced prior to the application deadline.

On-campus course meetings will cover topics such as exploring culture and its intersection with personal identity, addressing bias and stereotypes, Costa Rican culture and issues of relevance to  both Costa Rica and the U.S., sustainable tourism, and preparing for the international travel experience. Each of these topics will be explored in more depth throughout the nine-day study abroad experience in Costa Rica.

While abroad, students will be housed in double occupancy accommodations at hotels in San Jose and La Fortuna, Costa Rica.  Breakfast will be provided daily.  Many lunches and dinners are also provided. 

While in Costa Rica, students will take a tour of San Jose to learn more about Costa Rica's capital city and visit sites of interest such as the National Theater and Central Market. The group will also visit the Irazú Volcano National Park and meet with Costa Rican professors to learn about their work with indigenous groups and intercultural communication.

The group will also travel to the beach overnight before stopping in La Fortuna. While there, they will hike at a waterfall, visit a chocolate and coffee farms, and will have a free day.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

This program is open to undergraduate students that are active participants in TRIO SES or TRIO STEM at the University of Kansas.  Preference will be given to students who have not previously participated in a study abroad program or had extensive experiences abroad.  The class and study abroad program will be conducted in English; however, knowledge of Spanish would be beneficial. 

Program Cost for Developing Global Perspective in Costa Rica

All program participants will receive a $400 Study Abroad scholarship to help offset the Study Abroad required fee. In addition, all program participants will be considered for a $400 Nicole Horton Study Abroad Scholarship. A maximum of 10 scholarships will be awarded.

Tuition costs will be waived for active TRIO SES & STEM participants.

NEW! KU's Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging has awarded this program scholarship money. Ten participants will be awarded $1,000 scholarships. 

Additional Financial Aid & Support Resources:

  • Pell Grant recipients will be awarded summer Pell awards if enrolled in a minimum of 3 credit hours during the summer term. Award amounts vary based on FAFSA results.
  • KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement offers two pre-departure funds: the Airfare Assistance Program and the Christene Pederson Study Abroad Student Support fund. Click on the link to check eligibility requirements.
  • Meet with a financial aid advisor in Study Abroad & Global Engagement. Schedule an appointment online.


The course and study abroad program will be taught and directed by Dr. Julie Hamel and Maggie Borders, full-time staff of the KU TRIO SES and TRIO STEM program.  

Julie Hamel, PhD
TRIO SES & STEM Assistant Director for Student Programming

Maggie Borders
Student Success Coordinator, TRIO SES & STEM

*No Federal Funds are used in support of the Developing Global Perspective class/program.