ERM 499A: Costa Rica Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources is an embedded course that will travel to Costa Rica during spring break 2019.

Course Name

ERM 499A: Costa Rica Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources, College of Agricultural Sciences- Environment Resource Management

About the Course

ERM 499A is an "embedded" course, meaning that a travel component has been "embedded into the course curriculum." This course focuses on sustainable agriculture, natural resources, and biodiversity. Students will also cover other topics including soil, water, entomology, and alternative energy. Additionally, students will have an opportunity to learn about ecotourism and the relationship between the Costa Rican culture and agriculture. All Penn State students are welcome to participate.

Students will complete a 3 credit course in the spring of 2019. In the first half of the semester, professors at Penn State, that are experts in these areas, will guest lecture to prepare students for their learning that will take place in Costa Rica. While in-country during spring break, students will explore the ecosystems and culture of Costa Rica, and study at EARTH University. Upon returning to Penn State, students will deliver presentations to their classmates and instructors about their experiences in Costa Rica, as well as submit a travel journal.

About travel to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is located in Central America, situated between Panama and Nicaragua. The country consists of vast environments including tropical rainforests, dry regions, and coastal ecosystems. Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica.

Travel will take place over spring break of 2019: March 2, 2019 through March 10, 2019. The trip will begin with a stay at EARTH University in Limón, Costa Rica. Here, students will have an opportunity to utilize the many resources the university has to offer including sustainable agriculture production, a banana plantation, a butterfly sanctuary, an integrated dairy farm, and a renewable energy exercise. Students will also visit local farms in the nearby town and assist a local farmer with building a biodigestor. From there, students will travel to the dry region and spend a few days at EARTH University- La Flor in Guanacaste. Students will visit the Poás Volcano and Santa Rosa National Park. The trip will conclude with a stay at a beach resort.

Why Should I Participate?

Students will earn a Communications Selection for the ERM major, an INTAG minor course, experience with international travel, and learn about the diversity of Costa Rica; the course is also designated as an IL on the degree audit. The initial course requirements at Penn State, participation in the embedded portion at EARTH University, and assignments upon return will earn a total of 3 credits.

Costa Rica is a great place to experience another culture, while learning about something within your area of study. This trip allows students to learn about plant and animal biodiversity and explore different ecosystems like the tropical rainforest. Hiking and adventure components of the trip will appeal to students who love the outdoors, those in ERM and beyond. EARTH University will provide students with the opportunity to interact with other students from around the world while learning valuable information about sustainable agriculture and natural resources.

How do I sign up?

Interested students should email Tammy Shannon, Academic Advising Coordinator and Course Instructor, Environmental Resource Management at: Decisions for the 2019 course need to be made as soon as possible to complete application and enter in the class.

Cost and Payment Deadlines

Estimated Cost (based on 18 students): ~$2,900

This cost includes: the travel to and from Costa Rica, around the country, accommodations and all meals. The final total cost is dependent on amount of students signed up. Students will need approximately $200 in spending money to cover the cost of extra meals and possible excursions.

Payment Schedule

  1. Deposit Deadline: October $800
  2. Final Payment: January $2,100


  • Student from all colleges and majors at Penn State University are eligible to enroll.
  • Students must be 18 years of age at the time of travel.
  • Student participants must present a valid passport. Students who do not present a passport will not be permitted to travel.
  • Student participants must have the ability to travel internationally. Accommodations for special circumstances will be made whenever possible.
  • All payments must be made on time. Students who do not meet the deadlines will not be permitted to travel.

More Information

Tammy Shannon:

Ag Sciences Global


106 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802

Ag Sciences Global


106 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802