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Travel Writing and Costa Rica - KU Honors Program

Travel Writing and Costa Rica - KU Honors Program
Explore the natural beauty of Costa Rica on this 12 day winter break program.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Language of Instruction: 
Winter Break
Academic Disciplines: 
Program Type: 
  • Experience the natural beauty of Costa Rica 
  • Earn 3 credit hours in English or Honors 
  • Led by English professor Mary Klayder
Program Summary: 

This Spring 2019 course and overseas twelve-day program offers students the opportunity to investigate a variety of current issues in Costa Rican politics, culture, ecology, and tourism through lectures, field trips to sites of interest, and individual research projects.


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.

Academic Information: 

The course will meet weekly during the fall semester beginning October 15.  The first half of the class will focus on the history and genre of travel writing. Students will examine the interdisciplinary range of the genre from botanical classification and cartography to adventure account and personal reflection. The second half of the course will focus on Costa Rica in particular. Students will study everything from urban culture to ecotourism as they get to know this beautiful country. During the semester students will benefit from the many Costa Rican experts on this campus. There will be reading, writing, and research assignments relevant to both travel writing and Costa Rica. The final project will combine the two aspects of the course.

All students on this program must enroll in HNRS 492 or ENG 360: Travel Writing and the Costa Rica Experience (3 credits) during the Spring 2019 semester. Credit is granted by the University of Kansas upon successful completion of the course and overseas program and will be posted to the student’s Spring 2019 academic record at KU.


October 15- December 3: Program participants will meet from approximately 5:30–6:30pm once a week on the Lawrence campus.

January 2–13, 2019: Study abroad program in Costa Rica.

March: Final project due and public reading.


Students will be housed in double or triple-occupancy rooms at Costa Rican hotels with breakfast daily. Many group lunches and dinners are also provided

Life Abroad: 

In Costa Rica, students will explore major sites of interest related to the above themes. Site visits include Monteverde Cloud Forest, Manuel Antonio National Park, Irazu Volcano, Hacienda Orosi hot springs, and a variety of museums and national landmarks.

Program Itinerary (tentative)

Day 1 Arrival in San José.
Day 2 Guided tour of San José. Evening dinner and dance performance. 
Day 3 Visit Irazu Volcano, Orosi Valley, and Hacienda Orosi hot springs.
Day 4 Travel to Monteverde. Visit the Monteverde frog pond.
Day 5 Monteverde. Morning visit to the cloud forest. Afternoon lecture given by members of the local Quaker community.
Day 6 Travel to Arenal. Visit hot springs.
Day 7 Explore Arenal. Tour Arenal Volcano National Park.
Day 8 Arenal free day.
Day 9 Travel to Manuel Antonio.
Day 10 Tour of Manuel Antonio National Park.
Day 11 Travel to San José. Farewell group dinner.
Day 12 Return to the U.S.


Requires membership in the KU Honors Program or permission of instructor. Minimum 2.5 GPA required (exceptions considered after submission of a petition). There are no language requirements, though students with previous exposure to Spanish will find it helpful.

Further Reading: 


University Honors Program students can apply for an Honors Opportunity Award and English students can apply for the Mary Klayder Scholarship Fund.

Program Faculty: 

Professor Mary Klayder will once again lead the program. 

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Study Abroad Information Center
To learn more about your study abroad options, we encourage you to visit the Study Abroad Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The Study Abroad Info Center offers walk-in advising for current and prospective students. Drop by to learn more about program options, make an appointment with a study abroad program coordinator, get information on scholarships and financial aid, and talk to returned study abroad students. We also encourage you to explore the resources available on our website to learn more about the application process, KU Core Approved programs, and the cost of study abroad. 

Study Abroad Information Center
Lippincott Hall, Room 105
1410 Jayhawk Boulevard
Hours: Monday - Friday. 9AM - 5 PM
Contact: studyabroad@ku.edu

Study Abroad Financial Advising
The Office of Study Abroad has weekly 'You Can Afford to Study Abroad' Financial Aid and Scholarship Info Sessions/Open Meetings on Wednesday afternoons at 4:00 pm and Thursday afternoons at 2:00 pm in the Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The financial aid officer will be happy to take any questions and can offer individual advising at the end of sessions for specific concerns. For those that cannot attend the weekly Info Sessions due to scheduling conflicts, we also offer appointments for financial planning as well as financial aid and scholarship advising for students. Please visit 108 Lippincott Hall or call 785-864-3742 to set up an appointment.


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9th among public universities in the country for high quality, low cost study abroad programs — U.S. News & World Report
Longest-running exchange program in Western Hemisphere (begun in 1958) between KU and University of Costa Rica
18th in the nation among public universities for undergraduate participation in study abroad — Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange
28.1% of KU undergraduate students study abroad prior to graduation.
KU students who study abroad graduate in four years at twice the rate of students who do not study abroad
More than 160 study abroad programs in 75 countries, with instruction in all disciplines and 20+ languages
Students can study abroad for an academic year, semester, summer, spring break, or winter break
Programs include international study, internships, service, and research opportunities
Students participating in semester, academic year, and select summer programs fulfill Goal 4.2 of the KU Core curriculum
Students can fulfill major, minor, certificate, elective, and KU Core curriculum requirements abroad
Programs are available for students in every major at KU
Financial aid is applicable to study abroad programs, and most KU scholarships and grants can be applied to study abroad
The Office of Study Abroad and many academic departments offer scholarships to qualified KU students
By studying abroad, students gain a global perspective on the world and strengthen their career opportunities
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times