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Programs : Brochure
This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
SFS: Costa Rica, Sustainable Development Studies
Atenas, Costa Rica (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Fall,
Spring
Host Program Website: Visit host website for more information
Historical Course List: View Historical Course List
Restrictions: PSU applicants only
Budget Sheets Fall,
Spring
Fact Sheet:
Housing:
Dormitory
Minimum GPA:
3.0
Class Standing:
2 - Sophomore
Courses Offered:
Culture, Ecology, Economics, Language, Research, Sciences, Sustainable Development
Type of Program:
Study Center
Language of Instruction:
English
Language Requirement:
1 semester
Education Abroad Adviser:
Nora Salmon
Internship Available:
No
Non-Penn State Students:
No
Global Programs Scholarships:
Africa and Latin America Grant-in-Aid, Diversity Grant-in-Aid, Grant-in-Aid, Whole World Scholarship
Grad/Undergrad:
Undergraduate
Program Description:
Volcano in Costa Rica

Program Overview     


Costa Rica is currently undergoing a period of rapid economic and social change. As this resource-rich, wonderfully biodiverse country continues along a path of rapid development, it is increasingly influenced by global policy such as the Central American Fair Trade Act (CAFTA) and foreign markets. Costa Rica's economy has shifted from one predominately based on agriculture to one driven by ecotourism and technology exports. At the same time, brisk population growth is straining natural and developed resources. The country is at a critical juncture as resource management decisions are being made in an effort to keep pace with competitive global markets. Our goal is to study different development and resource management models that protect the biodiversity of Costa Rica's ecosystems while promoting socioeconomic benefits for its people.  

Students will examine the effects of globalization on classic development issues such as agro-ecology, biodiversity protection, economic development, urban sprawl, population growth, waste management, and water resources. Students focus on evaluating the success of Costa Rica's world-renowned land and biodiversity management systems and developing alternative strategies for economic development and biodiversity conservation, such as land use planning, organic agriculture, and conservation outside of protected areas. Visits to cloud forests, dry forests, volcanoes, lowland rainforests, and plantations offer opportunities to examine management schemes, identify the benefits of protected areas, and determine which systems offer the best option for economic development, the maintenance of cultural norms, and the preservation of biodiversity. Understanding the forces that are driving Costa Rica's policies as well as those driving change will be key as students analyze potential solutions for Costa Rica, and throughout the Central American region.

For more information about the program, please visit the SFS: Costa Rica homepage.


Program Quicklinks     


Course Offerings
Pre-Requisites
Housing and Meals
Program Costs
Financial Aid & Scholarships
More Information
How to Apply
Other Useful Links


Education Abroad Credits


You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at this institution, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas on a Pass/Fail basis. Students may not fulfill GHA (General Health and Activity) general education requirements abroad.

Students will register for 18 credits for the program.  The semester program consists of five courses including an in-depth directed research project . This program's curriculum is highly interdisciplinary, focusing on the links among natural ecosystems and social and economic systems in Costa Rica.  Field Trips and Community Engagement are central components of the academic plan.  All student will enroll in the following five courses:
  • EE(NS) 377 Tropical Ecology and Sustainable Development (4 credits)
  • EE(SS) 303 Economic & Ethical Issues and Sustainable Development (4 credits)
  • EE(NS) 374 Principles of Resource Management (4 credits)
  • EE 491 or 492 Directed Research (4 credits)
  • (LS) 205E Language, Culture and Society of Costa Rica (2 credits)

To see what kind of credit students in past semesters have received for courses taken on this program, visit the SFS Costa Rica Course Equivalency List*. Keep in mind you will need to complete the course equivalency process once you have been accepted to your program and after you have completed your registration abroad.  To obtain specific instructions on this process visit our Course Equivalencies webpage.

*The University Office of Global Programs is committed to making its websites accessible to all users. As such we are currently developing a new course equivalency database which will launch in Academic Year 2014-2015. In the meantime if you require an accessible version of the course equivalency information provided for this program please contact educationabroad@psu.edu

Pre-requisites


Successful applicants will satisfy the pre-requisites established by the program.
  • Sophmore class standing or higher at time of study
  • 3.0 Cumulative GPA
  • 1 semester of Spanish
    • Students with no college level Spanish may meet the language requirement with a minimum of 3 years of high school Spanish by submitting an official high school diploma to the Education Abroad office by the application deadline.  
  • 1 semester of Ecology or Biology

Housing and Meals


The Center for Sustainable Development Studies is a small farm on a hillside with spectacular views overlooking the Rio Grande River in the fertile Central Valley. The field station includes a large house, an outdoor classroom, an organic garden, a patio, and pool. Students live in a dormitory (up to four to a room) with bathrooms. There is a classroom, small laboratory, and a library/computer room with internet access. The field station is part of the small neighborhood of La Presa/Los Angeles. The friendly town of Atenas is a short walk from the field station while Costa Rica's tropical forests, beaches, mountains, and volcanoes are within a day's travel.


Program Costs


For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the Fall or Spring budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.

Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.


Financial Aid & Scholarships


Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.

The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit the Funding Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
 


For More Information


For more information about programs and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative

To learn more about the specifics of each program, schedule an appointment with the education abroad adviser for this program.

For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the GeoBlogs of Penn State students currently studying abroad.
 


How to Apply


If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page. 

You must complete the following materials in your application:

  •  Education Abroad Questionnaire

  •  One academic recommendation

  •  Signature Documents

Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.

Please note that you will also be instructed to complete an application with the host provider as a part of your Penn State application either at time of application or upon acceptance. 


Other Useful Links


Getting Started
Schedule an Appointment
Academics
Cost & Funding
Health & Safety
Parents & Family



Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2015 09/15/2014
09/30/2014 02/02/2015 05/07/2015
NOTE: Start date marks arrival in host country. End date marks departure from program housing.
Fall 2015 03/01/2015
03/17/2015 09/07/2015 12/16/2015
Spring 2016 05/01/2015
06/30/2015 02/01/2016 05/11/2016

Indicates that deadline has passed