Wilkes University

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

 Study Abroad Costa Rica 

Location: Costa Rica
Course Name/Program number: PS 354, Ecotourism Development in Costa Rica.
Faculty Leader/Contact: Dr. Andrew Miller
Academic Credits: 3 credits
List any restrictions:Minimum GPA, pre-requisite, major: GPA 2.75. At least one college semester or with Instructor permission. NOTE: Given the nature of this course and the diverse needs of the El Coco community all majors are strongly encouraged to apply.
Program Fee: $2,399 | details
Find the Funding: Scholarship and Financial Aid 

Program Description: 
As an international service-learning experience, this course provides an opportunity for students to support the ecotourism development planStudy Abroad Costa Rica
of the Guanacaste region of northwestern Costa Rica. Students will assist
three communities, Liberia, El Coco and Ostional, with a variety of projects
that will enhance the development plans, conservation and sustainability of
each community. The first week of the course will occur on campus and will
examine the public policy and economic aspects of the development of Ecotourism
in Costa Rica and how it can benefit the people of Guanacaste. The second two
weeks of the course will provide an intensive in-country experience with ecotourism stakeholders from both the public and private sector. Students will design and implement a number of projects in Costa Rica to assist Guanacaste in the development of its ecotourism industry. The final week of the course will examine the effects of the service projects completed in Costa Rica on campus.
List of possible projects:
  • Construction of Children’s Playground: Our community has several vacant lots that can be developed into a children’s playground. Right now, these lots are in state of abandonment and lack the infrastructure for children to play. The Coco Association is trying to collect funding for the construction of a children’s playground. How can volunteers help? They can design a campaign that would motivate and entice sponsors to be part of this project; conveying the positive impacts a successful completion would have on the community. We have a proposal of a “Prefabricated playground” that volunteers can help to put together.
  • Expansion and Renovation of EBAIS (Healthcare Office): Our Ebais or Community Clinic is in a state of deterioration. We have organized a committee together with our community doctor to design a remodeled and expanded clinic. We need help creating a webpage that can explain each of our projects to future sponsors so that we can collect funds. The CCSS (Costa Rica Social Security Office) is contributing some of the office furniture and basic instruments/equipment necessary to support a clinic. The project will be underway by the time the volunteers arrive in the country.
  • A group of Wilkes students, faculty and staff recently traveled to Jinotega, Nicaragua to help teach English at a local school.

    English Lessons and Entrepreneur/Leadership Teachings: An open forum to cultivate an open exchange of knowledge and culture among local residents / business owners and international guests.
  • Supporting Our Chamber of Commerce: El Coco is a small community with a great potential for tourism and commercial growth, but has languished for lack of an executable development plan. Volunteers can work hand in hand to further develop action plans with Coco’s newly formed Chamber of Commerce. Some of the primary focuses should be on expansion of the city’s ecotourism and creating outlines for sustainable growth.
  • Cleaning and Improving Public Areas: There are a multitude of areas within Coco that are in need of rehabilitation and increased caretaking. Our Boulevard in the entrance to the city has several green spaces that can benefit greatly from a revitalization effort. Volunteers can also help in maintaining and preserving the beach areas through general cleaning and placement of signs to properly identify newly placed recycling bins.
  • Local Public High School: We have a variety of short term projects that could be executed with our local school system. Ideas range from planning and building a vegetable garden where the students can learn how to compost, plant, and grow vegetables to be consumed in the school cafeteria; recycling projects within the High School; coordinate small group forum sessions where students can share with the volunteers about technological advancements in the developed world and their impacts on society.
  • Tree Planting Near Water Sources: Trees are like the lungs of the planet. Study Abroad Costa Rica
    They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Additionally, they
    provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. As well, Trees reduce urban runoff
    and erosion by storing water and breaking the force of rain as it falls.
    The USDA reports that 100 mature trees can reduce runoff caused by rainfall
    by up to 100,000 gallons. Hence, our volunteers can have a huge impact within Coco by assisting in this project.
  • Visit to Ad Astra Rocket Company (TBD) - (AARC) is a spaceflight engineering company dedicated to the development of advanced plasma rocket propulsion technology. Headed up by Dr. Franklin Chang Diaz, a member of the US Astronaut Hall of Fame; he invented the VASMIR technology in the late 1970’s and is true pioneer in the Space Industry. A visit to this company’s headquarters will be an enlightening experience about where we are headed globally in space innovation
  • Community Mural Painting with the Public School System – Local and renowned artist, Carlos Hiller, will help supervise and coordinate a beautiful underwater seascape mural for the community. Art has a way of connecting and encouraging community pride and fostering a friendship and communion between the students and participants involved. Aside, from being visually beautiful this activity will encourage community involvement in preserving and protecting Coco’s beauty as a beach community
costa rica - miller
Total cost:

The price for this course is $2,399. The price includes the cost of tuition for 3 credit hours, transportation to the airport from campus all lodging and transportation and most meals in Costa Rica.

The cost does not include airfare or personal items while in Costa Rica and some meals. Other possible personal costs are immunizations and passport fees.