Costa Rica

This embedded course explores the community, environment and development in rural Costa Rica.

Course Name

CED 499B: Local Rural Development in Costa Rica, 3 credits

On Campus: Once a week, day/time TBD

Travel Dates: March 4-11, 2017

About the course

The CED course will explore development initiatives and issues, while applying them to the context of Costa Rica. Students will study a wide range of themes such as small-scale agricultural production, entrepreneurship, sustainability, ecotourism, social assistance, and education. Then we will travel to Costa Rica during spring break and visit local development projects in and around the rural community of Pacayitas.

The goals of the course are to learn more about the complexities of development work and see first-hand how people are working towards improving their individual and community's living conditions. Students will also improve their global competency and be better equipped to analyze multi-level global systems.

About travel to Costa Rica

Costa Rica, or "Rich Coast", is located in Central America between Nicaragua and Panama and is known for its natural beauty. In the past two decades, Costa Rica has experienced steady economic growth and compared to many of its neighbors, has higher levels of human development. During the course and travel experience we will consider what are the reasons for Costa Rica's positive growth? Do national trends of living conditions remain consistent in rural communities? How can we learn from the Costa Rican context and apply it to other developing countries?

Students will stay with Costa Rican families in the small community of Pacayitas, located along the southeast edge of the Great Valley. We will visit projects such as a butterfly farm and a sugar cane processing facility. We will also meet with groups such as a local tourism association to learn about cooperative community development.


  • Students must be 18 at the time of travel to participate.
  • Students of all majors are welcome, although priority will be given to students majoring in Community, Environment, and Development.
  • Spanish is not a requirement for participation.
  • Participating students must have the ability to travel internationally.
  • Students must have a passport valid that will be presented during the first week of class.
  • All payments must be made on time. Students who do not meet the deadlines will not be allowed to travel.

Why should I participate?

This new embedded course is an excellent way to get international experience and examine a rural setting overseas. We will explore what it is like living in a small rural community in Costa Rica and interact with locals who are working on a range of development projects and issues.

If you are interested in the real-world application of development concepts and increasing global knowledge and skills, this course will provide you with the opportunity. Students with a variety of interests are not only welcome in the class but will enrich the experience for the whole group.

How do I sign up?

Students should complete the application form by October 28 and send to Paige Castellanos,


Estimated: $2500.

The cost covers airfare, lodging, meals, in-country transportation, tours and activities. The final cost is dependent on airfare costs and the number of students in the class. If the final cost is less than the estimated cost, a refund will be issued or the last payment will be adjusted.

Students should plan on bringing approximately $100 in spending cash for snacks or souvenirs.

Payment schedule

$500 deposit, due within 10 days of completed registration for the course.

$1500 payment, due January 22

$500 final payment, due February 12

More Information

Students can contact Paige Castellanos, for more information