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Programs : Brochure

This is the program brochure page.
  • Locations: La Fortuna, Costa Rica; Monteverde, Costa Rica; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Spring Break
  • Cost Sheets: Spring Break
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description




Cabo Blanco

In October 2007, the United States forgave $26 million of Costa Rica’s debt as part of a Debt-For-Nature swap to protect high-risk tropical forests and threatened species including jaguars, squirrel monkeys and scarlet macaws. Previously, deforestation had stripped Costa Rica of nearly 80 percent of its forest cover. Today, Costa Rica is often listed as the world’s top destination for ecotourism.  With coastlines on both the Caribbean and Pacific, Costa Rica is almost one-fourth rainforest, with breathtaking volcanoes, pristine beaches, and stunning biodiversity.  Our GIE program will start and end in San Jose, the heart of Costa Rica.  We will travel for 2 and 3-day overnights in Parcque Nacional de Arenal Volcano, the coffee plantations of Café de Monteverde, and the Cabo Blanco Absolute National Reserve on the Pacific coast.

Quick Facts

  • March 2-10, 2019

  • Three Costa Rican Ecotourism experiences, including the Arenal Volcano, the Monteverde coffee plantation, and the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve on the Pacific coastline

  • Partnership with EcoTeach to visit a Costa Rican school and Debt-For-Nature-Swap discussion with the General Director of Cares21

  • Open to students with a 2.5 GPA or higher

  • Earn 3 credit hours

Application Requirements

To apply for this program, click the "Apply Now" button above. This will generate an online application with the requirements listed below. Please also refer to the "Academics" tab for specific eligibility information. Note: Non-ASU students should consult these instructions before applying.


San Jose

Arenal Hot Springs

Monteverde Coffee Plantation

Cabo Blanco beach

Location Details

Your spring break Global Intensive Experience will start and end in the heart of Costa Rica, the beautiful city of San Jose.  We will stay with host families, giving you the opportunity to live life as a Costa Rican, with at least one home-cooked meal a day (other meals at restaurants). The General Director of 21Cares will dine with us at a local restaurant on your last evening prior to returning home, you’ll have the chance to talk about your experiences and hear his viewpoints on the Ecotourism of Costa Rica.

25% of Costa Rica is protected by the government for conservation. We will travel to a popular Ecotourism site, to spend two nights at the Parcque Nacional de Arenal Volcano. You’ll have a chance relax in the natural hot springs after hiking along the volcano.

We will spend two nights with host families at Café de Monteverde and visit a coffee plantation with the chance to talk with migrant workers and enjoy a coffee tasting.  We’ll hike in the Santa Elena Reserve, a reserve run by local youth in the Cloud Forest.

We will travel to the Pacific coastline to spend three nights in the Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve, the initial step in the development of Costa Rica's extensive national park system which led to the country's successful eco-tourism.

Visa Information

It is each student’s responsibility to independently determine if a visa is necessary for travel to any foreign countries visited on this program. Limited information may be provided by the ASU Study Abroad Office, your faculty director, and/or partner organizations/institutions. Where visas are required, failure to obtain a visa may result in your inability to participate and, ultimately, your withdrawal from the program, subject to the terms of the Study Abroad Payment and Withdrawal Policies

Consult this page for additional information regarding visas. If you need assistance securing a U.S. Passport, visit the ASU U.S. Passport Acceptance Office in Tempe.

PLEASE NOTE: Visa requirements for non U.S. citizens may differ from those for U.S. citizens; students who are not U.S. citizens are advised to contact their International Coordinator and begin independently researching the visa requirements for their nationality as soon as possible.


Eligibility Requirements

  • 2.5 minimum GPA

  • Be in good standing in your (degree) program

  • Interest in Sustainability

  • SOS100 and/or SOS111 and/or SOS110 recommended

  • Ability to speak Spanish basics encouraged

Note: Graduate students will be selected based on merit of application. School of Sustainability graduate students will be given priority placement should a program be over-enrolled.

*Students that do not meet the listed qualifications may be considered on an individual basis, if space is available.  Please speak to the faculty directors for more information.


Students will register for the below course during the Spring registration period.. 
  • SOS 494/SOS 598: Costa Rica: Did the Debt-for-Nature-Swap Create an Ecotourism Utopia? (3)
*Please note that this course counts towards your Spring semester load. If registering for this course will put you in a course-overload situation, you will need to speak with your academic advisor for an override.  

Course Format 

The course will be taught online in Canvas with a few pre-departure meetings (in-person on Tempe campus, with option to call in via Skype) during the Session C Spring 2019 semester. The study abroad portion of the program will be embedded in the C session course during the week of Spring Break (March 2nd  - March 10th).  Upon return, a Perspectives Paper will be submitted by April 3rd.

  • First credit hour
    • January 7 – March 1
    • Earned through online readings and quizzes, must pass all quizzes
  • Second credit hour
    • March 2 - March 10
    • Earned through 8-day onsite global intensive experience in Costa Rica
    • Travel dates on March 2 and March 10
  • Third credit hour
    • March 11 – April 3
    • Earned through Perspectives Essay
    • Paper due April 3rd  11:59pm online submission

ISA San Jose - Coffee Cart

ISA San Jose - City View


Faculty Director

Brigitte Bavousett
Brigitte Bavousett taught the Cuba: Unlocked and on the Edge of Rapid Transitions GIE programs two consecutive years (2017, 2018).  She is the "first-ever" graduate with a degree in Sustainability, earning her Masters at the ASU School of Sustainability in 2008.  She served as President of the ASU School of Sustainability Alumni Chapter 2010-2011.  Brigitte has been teaching SOS 100 and SOS 300 at ASU since 2011, and Sustainable Cities at MCC since 2010.  In 1992, Brigitte founded a 501(c)3 international cultural exchange program and spent six years touring former Soviet Union countries to promote cultural awareness and understanding.

ASU School of Sustainability
Phone: 480-965-5133

Arina Melkozernova
Arina Melkozernova served as Faculty Support for Cuba: Unlocked and on the Edge of Rapid Transitions GIE program Spring 2018.  She has eleven years of increasingly responsible positions in higher education setting, in multimedia production, e-learning and curricular development involving a professional growth in media, web based technology, and active artistic collaborations with a record of national and international recognition. Arina is also tri-lingual: fluent in English and Russian and with basic conversation skills in French.

ASU School of Sustainability
Phone: 480-965-0987

Brigitte Bavousett

Arina Melkozernova


  CIEE Monteverde

Program Housing

Students will stay in Costa Rican homestays during their time in San Jose, Arenal, Monteverde and Cabo Blanco.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided most days throughout the program.

Special Considerations

Below you will find information that may help you in planning for your study abroad experience. Early discussions and planning can help to support you in having a positive experience abroad. We invite you to meet with the International Coordinator for this program to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Physical Considerations

Study abroad participants may find themselves walking or taking public transit abroad more frequently than they are accustomed at their home campus.

Disability Accommodations Abroad

Individuals with disabilities can and do study abroad, but may find accessibility and accommodation in one of more of this program’s locations very different from the United States. For example, in Costa Rica, building and transportation accessibility is limited. Many buildings remain inaccessible and while public buses may have wheelchair accessibility, functionality of these resources may be in disrepair.

In general, the Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites on this program. Any student who anticipates needing any kind of special accommodation due to a disability should contact the ASU Study Abroad Office early in the planning process to investigate the availability of accommodations (including accessible facilities) on this specific program. Contact the Disability Resource Center and your Disability Access Consultant to include them in the discussion; be sure to give your Disability Access Consultant permission to speak with the Study Abroad Office on your behalf. You can find additional information and resources on our Students with Disabilities page.

LGBTQIA Students Abroad

Students of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities will find that the social climate, laws, and norms of other cultures will often differ from the U.S. If you identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer student - or if you are still exploring your identity - you may face unique challenges when traveling abroad. For example, in Costa Rica, LGBTQIA students may encounter discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as public attitudes are generally conservative.

We encourage students who identify as members of the LGBTQIA community to visit the U.S. Department of State website for helpful information about laws and attitudes in this program’s locations, including pre-travel tips and advice on staying safe while abroad. You can find additional information and resources on our LGBTQIA Students page.

Gender Identity Abroad

When traveling abroad, you may find different gender roles and norms than you’re used to. It’s possible that you may be treated differently or be expected to treat others differently based on your (or their) gender identity. For example, in Costa Rica, some women travelers may experience harassment in the form of cat calling and other forms of objectification by local men. Students are encouraged to travel in groups and in mixed company whenever possible

You can find additional information and resources on our Gender Identity Abroad page.

Racial and Ethnic Minorities Abroad

Students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds may encounter unique challenges transitioning from life here in the United States to life as a student living abroad, including but not limited to access to personal care products and services.

You can prepare yourself for the situations you may experience by researching the ethnic composition of your host country and exploring its history of racial and ethnic relations. We encourage students to start that research on our Racial and Ethnic Minority Students page.


Cost Information

The Program Fee for Spring Break 2019 is $2,345.

Program Fee includes: Airport pickup and drop off, shared housing, most meals, site visits and cultural events, in-country transportation, ASU faculty support, and international health insurance. Not included: Tuition for the three-credit course, airfare, passport & visa fees, personal expenses, and miscellaneous items.  Please note that the participant is fully responsible for making arrangements and for all costs of transportation, lodging, food and additional expenses that may be associated with any non-Program activities.

Faculty Directed program participants are also responsible for paying a non-refundable $50 Application Fee, in addition to the Program Fee listed above. All other costs associated with participation in the program are the responsibility of the individual student. Be sure to reference the program cost sheet for information on program fees and any additional estimated expenses.


Funding Your Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad is an investment in your future, which requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets and financing when selecting and preparing for your experience abroad. If you have questions at any step of the process, we encourage you to reach out to your International Coordinator for guidance.

Steps to Financing Your Study Abroad Program

  1. View the program Cost Sheet to find a breakdown of program expenses.
  2. Attend a Financing Your Study Abroad Workshop.
  3. Consider your Financial Aid options.
  4. Search and Apply for Scholarships and Grants.
  5. Exhaust your options by exploring Additional Funding Resources including our Community-Based Funding Guide.
  6. View our  Financing Your Study Abroad Program Handbook for more information, including Payment Information.

Unique Funding Opportunities

  • ASU Tuition Waiver may be applied on this program to cover the tuition associated with this program.  The ASU Tuition Waiver cannot be used to subsidize the posted program fee.


Links to Additional Resources

*The ASU Study Abroad Office does not officially endorse, administer or monitor the content of these links.

Dates & Deadlines

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.