Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
2.5 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
Rising Sophomore standing or above at the start of the program
Learn about renewable energy technologies in one of the few countries in Latin America that has taken a concerted structural approach to the issue of sustainable development- Costa Rica! Costa Rica is well known as a world leader for conservation policies and eco-tourism, however the Central American country also stands out for its environmentally oriented policies and its success in mainstreaming energy sustainability into national policy. Renewable energy sources are essentially carbon-free and more sustainable than fossil or nuclear fuels. Currently, 99.2% of the total primary energy supply in Costa Rica is of renewable type, with geothermal accounting for over a third, hydroelectric dependency not exceeding 50%, and a very small share from fossil fuels (0.6% non-sustainable biomass, and 0.2% from oil). Costa Rica also aims to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by its 200th birthday in 2021.
This program reflects the remarkable progress that has been made in the field in recent years and is focused on learning through hands-on work. Students will spend about one-third of the time in "the classroom," studying [Costa Rica wind farm] renewable energy systems, their underlying physical and technological principles, their economics, their environmental impact, and how they can be integrated into the world's energy systems. The rest of the time students will be in the field, getting their hands dirty and learning by doing. They will visit many sites including, but not limited to: a coffee plantation, Arenal National Park, hydro-electric and geothermal power plants, and a wind farm.
Program Leader Information
Miguel Mostafa, Professor, Physics, Astronomy, and Astrophysics, Eberly College of Science
All students will be enrolled in PHYS 299 or SC 297 for 3 credits.
Students can choose whether they would like to take this course as PHYS 299 or SC 297. There are no prerequisites for this course. This course deals with the issues of renewable resources and sustainable energy. Students will perform an objective analysis on each form of renewable energy to determine what is practical on a large scale, as well as on the scale of the individual homeowner. In many developing countries the deterioration of renewable natural resources and the resulting threat to human well-being is a major concern, so there will be a particular attention to the efficiency of each renewable source as well as what limitations exist in terms of extracting usable energy.
At the end of this course students should be able to:
Have an understanding of the various renewable energy sources
Analyze what is feasible on the large scale and what is not
Understand the obstacles associated with actual implementation of production line renewable energy facilities
Perform simple calculations regarding energy usage and the required infrastructure to deliver a certain amount of power
Students are required to take the prescribed course listed above as participants on the program. The Education Abroad Office will register you for this course. To determine how this course will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
Research courses offered on your program
Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements.
Complete your Course Selection Questionnaire in the ‘Post-Decision’ section of your application to choose the course you want from the cross-listed program options.
Keep in mind that courses abroad may change or may be unavailable for your selected term, so you will need to discuss possible back-up course options
You must enroll in a minimum number of 3 credits.
You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation
Housing and Meals
The program will change locations every three or four days. Students will stay at hotels in multiple cities across Costa Rica. There will also be a week-long homestay experience in Santa Ana during the second week of the program.
Students will need to purchase most meals on their own, although some will be provided by host families during the homestay.
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the 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.
The Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Global Programs. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.
Penn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid.
Withdrawal & Refund Policy
Withdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies.
Once a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred.
Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. For faculty-led freestanding programs, there is a specific withdrawal penalty schedule.
Education Abroad makes every attempt at keeping the program and administrative costs to a minimum. However, when you commit to participating in a program, Education Abroad begins to make financial commitments on your behalf. In case of withdrawal, the following fees will be charged to your Bursar account
Upon Commitment - 90 Days Prior to Departure: 25% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
30 - 89 Days Prior to Departure: 50% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
29 Days - Departure Date: 100% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
If a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by theOffice of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.
Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.
Penn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Global Programs Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.
Gender and LGBTQA Considerations
There are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.
When choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.
It is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.
Steps to Study Abroad
The planning stages outlined on the Global Programs website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
How to Apply
Click the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!
Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Global Penn State website.
You must apply to this program by the Penn State deadline, February 1. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Global Programs website.
Contact Education Abroad
If you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email EducationAbroad@psu.edu.
Education Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website.
Education Abroad Advisers
Education Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. Education Abroad Advisers have two types of meetings - scheduled appointments and walk-ins. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Global Penn State website.
For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Global Programs Events Calendar and follow us on social media!
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.