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Programs : Brochure

This is the program brochure page.
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description


Rethinking Sustainable Develop


If you are interested in sustainable development, community development, and applied hands-on learning, this is the course for you! Numerous frameworks, models, and metrics have been developed under the auspices of sustainable development. Yet persistent challenges, such as globalization, climate change, gentrification, and cultural erosion, are leading to the development of alternative approaches based on holistic, community- and nature-oriented principles. Our program provides an intensive immersion into these emerging paradigms and practices for sustainable development. 

The program includes a 1-credit pre-departure course in the second half of spring of 2019 and 5 credits of summer courses (3 in Costa Rica and 2 online upon return) in the summer of 2019. Prior to arriving in Costa Rica, we will begin to critically analyze traditional and contemporary approaches to sustainable development in the pre-departure course. In Costa Rica, we will spend two weeks living and intensively learning at Finca Luna Nueva, an eco-lodge and educational center in the highlands near the cloud forest. The first week will begin with a five-day immersive course that delves into regenerative development, biomimicry, biodynamic farming, natural building, and permaculture. The immersion will involve both classroom and field experiences, working with both our minds and our hands. You can also expect to meet and interact with leaders of local communities, non-profits, businesses, and government. After the immersion, we will spend two days exploring and recreating in the jungle, thermal pools and volcano. The second week enables you to put your education into practice through four days of local community-based applied projects. The course will conclude with a two-day group workshop, reviewing and integrating all we learn, followed by a fun two-day close to the class. The final project deliverables will be completed in a two-credit online session after we return, which maximizes your experience during the two weeks in Costa Rica.

Quick Facts

  • May 29 - June 12, 2019

  • Two cities: San José, and La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

  • Trips to the cloud forest, volcano, and thermal springs

  • Open to all majors, programs, and academic institutions

  • Sustainable community development and personal growth

  • Earn 6 credits

  • Space is limited. Apply early!


Costa Rica Map


Location Details

  • San Jose, Costa Rica: May 29. Course begins in San José at noon. We will depart for Finca La Nueva in the afternoon or evening.
  • La Fortuna de San Carlos, Finca La Nueva, Costa Rica: May 29 - June 12. Students will participate in an immersive course, exploring theories and practices of sustainable development, regenerative development, biomimicry, biodynamic farming, natural building, and permaculture.
  • Day trips to local national parks. We will explore the local rainforests, thermal pools, and volcano for a two-day period of recovery and relaxation.
  • We will work in local communities completing applied research and practice projects.
  • June 12. Travel to San José, Costa Rica for flights home.

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.


The course is for both graduate and undergraduate students. All students will complete the same activities, assignments, readings, and group projects in country. Students register for three sections: a 1-credit pre-departure course in the second half of Spring 2019, a 3-credit course for the in-country experience in Summer 2019, and one 2-credit online course upon return also in Summer 2019, for 6 credit hours total.  The 2-credit course allows you to work on final deliverables after you return, so you get the most of your in-country experience.

Eligibility Requirements

  •  All interested students regardless of their major or minor.
  • Students who have a G.P.A. of 2.0 or above.
  • Students are welcome to apply to participate during the 1st or 2nd semester of their Freshman year but they must have approval from the faculty directors, as well as Sophomore standing (24 credit hours) by the time that the program travels abroad in the summer.


SOS 494/598: Rethinking Sustainable Development

As a result of taking this course, you can expect to:
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the different interpretations of and approaches to sustainable development.
  • Determine or identify potential interventions to significant local sustainability challenges in Costa Rica.
  • Be familiar with and able to complete a variety of alternative building and permaculture practice.
  • Articulate a deeper awareness of sustainability and sustainable development by comparing and contrasting how it is understood and practiced in a foreign setting.
  • Recognize one’s cultural presuppositions and biases and distinguish how those biases impact creating interventions in cross-cultural settings.



Faculty Directors

Scott Cloutier
Assistant Professor
School of Sustainability 
Wrigley 348
Tempe Campus

Hanna Breetz
Assistant Professor
School of Sustainability 


Guatemala - Dr. Scott Cloutier

Hanna Breetz faculty


ISA San Jose - City

Program Housing

Students will stay at Finca Luna Nueva throughout the program. Faculty will stay at the same facility as the students. All meals will be included and we will be using classrooms on site. Transportation, when needed, will be provided by a hired driver during the 2 weeks of 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 Summer 2019 is $4,990.

Program Fee includes: ASU tuition for 5 credits, housing, in-country transportation, site visits and cultural excursions, all meals, and international health insurance. Not included: Airfare to and from Costa Rica, some meals, passport, student fees, independent travel, and personal expenses.  

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.

The program may allow for time which can be spent in non-program activities. Participants may wish to travel, sight-see or participate in activities or events in which they have a personal interest. 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.


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 for This Program


Dates & Deadlines
Dates & Deadlines
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 03/03/2019
Rolling Admission 05/29/2019 06/12/2019
NOTE: Dates are subject to change. Do not purchase airfare until Study Abroad Office contacts you to do so.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision tasks prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed

This program is currently not accepting applications.