Developing Global Perspective in Costa Rica

Image of a mountain in 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 & Monteverde, Costa Rica
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Academic Disciplines: -Open to All Majors
Program Type: Faculty-led

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 José, 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.  

Monteverde, Costa Rica is a small community located in the Cordillera de Tilaran mountain range.  It is home to one of the rarest habitats on Earth, the cloud forest, and an astounding variety of flora and fauna.

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.  

All students will enroll in LA&S 492 Special Topics: Developing Global Perspective (1-3 credit hours)* during the Summer term.

This course will meet on the KU campus for two sessions (1.5 hours each) in the weeks prior to travel and once upon return from Costa Rica. Once participants have been selected, days and times for the pre and post-program meetings will be determined.

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 8-day study abroad experience in Costa Rica.

It is recommended, but not required, that students have taken or will take the Spring semester LA&S Special Topics: Developing Global Perspective 3 credit hour in-person class.*

*Students who have completed or will enroll in the Spring 2022 in-person class will take the study abroad class for an additional 1 credit hour, for a maximum of 4 total credit hours. Students who only enroll in the Summer 2022 study abroad program will have the option to take the course for 1-3 credits, depending on their academic needs.

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

The program will start in Costa Rica's capital of San Jose. The group will go on a city tour to visit the most important sites of interest and become familiar with the city. There will be lectures on such topics as indigenous groups and the cultural history of Costa Rica, and higher education. Planned excursions from San Jose include Irazu Volcano National Park, Cartago, and the beach.

The group will also spend several days in Monterverde where planned activities include a hike in the cloud forest, a presentation about ecology and the preservation of the forest, and a chocolate tour.  

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 during the Costa Rica program. 

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

Julie Hamel, PhD
TRIO SES Assistant Director for Student Programming

LaTisha Davis, MLA
Associate Director, TRIO STEM

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