SFS COSTA RICA: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT STUDIES (SEMESTER)
- Terms: Fall, Spring
- Credits: 18 semester-hour credits
- Prerequisites: One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science, 2.7 GPA, 18 years of age
- Application Deadline: Fall: May 1st. Spring: November 1st. Early applications encouraged
- Financial Aid: All accepted students can apply for need-based scholarships, grants, and loans
Go off the beaten path and experience sustainability in action. Spend a semester in Costa Rica, home to rainforests, volcanoes, rushing waterfalls, and a laid-back culture that reflects the national motto: “Pura Vida.” Immerse yourself in the country’s many national parks, farms, and tropical ecosystems full of incredible biodiversity. Design and conduct a rigorous field research project and learn how Costa Ricans are creatively addressing conservation and development issues.
- Explore the cloud forests of Monteverde, home to 2.5 percent of the world’s biodiversity, to study tropical ecology and sustainable land management.
- Take a weeklong expedition to Panama’s Chiriquí Highlands, a lush, forested region of volcanic peaks, coffee farms, rich Ngäbe-Buglé culture, and perpetual spring-like weather.
- Go behind the scenes at a local coffee farm and sustainable permaculture homestead to learn how Costa Ricans have successfully combined agriculture and conservation.
- Conduct a comprehensive field research project: Develop a research question, collect and analyze data, write a paper, and present your findings.
SFS students live and study at the Center for Sustainable Development Studies. The Center is an active farm overlooking the vibrant Central Valley, where green is the predominant color as far as the eye can see. Dorms and classrooms intermingle with orchards and gardens, while Center dog Hera keeps watch over it all. The friendly town of Atenas is a 10-minute cab ride away, offering restaurants, shops, parks, and cultural events.
- Climate change and tropical ecosystems
- Agroforestry and conservation
- Bird communication
- Urban ecology
- Sustainable ecotourism
- Carbon sequestration
- National park management
- Species identification
- Habitat and biodiversity assessment
- Songbird mist-netting
- Forest soundscape techniques
- Tourism impact assessment methods
- Basic Spanish language
- Research design and implementation
- Data collection and analysis
- Research presentation
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