Journals from Costa Rica
Meredith College has two study abroad programs in Costa Rica this summer.
Costa Rica Tropical Ecosystems
A group of 9 Meredith students, led by Erin Lindquist and Francie Cuffney from Meredith College and Marcelo Ardon from Duke University, will spend May 14-June 2 in Costa Rica, where they will complete an interdisciplinary field biology course with a focus on tropical ecosystems, natural history, and conservation.
This Costa Rican adventure will start with four days at one of the premier facilities for rainforest research in the world: La Selva Biological Station. La Selva is located in the Caribbean lowlands and is home to over 1500 species of plants and 400 species of birds. In addition to hikes and talks in La Selva, students will enjoy a tour of a nearby Chiquita banana plantation and its affiliated nature reserve and women’s co-operative, and a boat tour on the Sarapiqui river.
After La Selva, the group will continue its journey with a four-night stay at Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve on the Pacific Coast where the students will have the opportunity to see and learn about the biological diversity living in intertidal and reef marine habitats. Students will hike through the transitional dry forest to a group of waterfalls, snorkel in the marine lagoon, and conduct faculty led research projects on shell diversity and howler monkey behavior.
Students will also have the opportunity to travel independently. There are numerous possibilities available including canopy tours, rafting, national parks, and museums.
At the end of the course, students will spend seven days at the foot of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, at the San Luis Biological Station which is run by the University of Georgia. In San Luis, students will participate in academic activities throughout the day either while hiking on one of the many rugged trails on the property or listening to a lecture and participating in a discussion in the open-air classroom. Students will also explore the canopy brides and ziplines, and local ecotourism businesses in Monteverde. One day in San Luis is reserved for a tour of a local co-op coffee farm and service project with the local community. Students will also conduct independent research projects in San Luis before returning to San Jose at the end of the course.
Costa Rica Language and Culture
A group of 10 students are participating in the Costa Rica Language and Culture program with Meredith Abroad. Faculty member Callie DeBellis is accompanying the group, which departs June 5 and will return July 2.
Students will spend four weeks studying in the colonial town of San Joaquín de Flores where they will live with a host family and study at a local institute.
The first weekend of the program features an excursion to Tortuguero National Park on the Northern Caribbean coast. This region is one of the country’s most diverse, and as the park’s name hints (Land of Turtles), is also a very important nesting site for a variety of endangered sea turtles. The group will later explore both small and large towns in the Central Valley, and visit a coffee plantation, an eco-theme park, and a nearby waterfall, among other excursions. Students will also have the opportunity to travel independently on two separate weekends to a variety of sites across the country.
Students will earn a total of five credit hours for courses they complete on the program. All students will register for one credit hour of Spanish 300: Life and Study Abroad, one credit of either Spanish 350 or FL 943: Service Learning Seminar and three credits of intermediate Spanish (SPA205 or SPA206) or SPA 307: Advanced Converation.