Spanish Program

Summer Semester in Costa Rica

students in the rainforest three toed sloth poison dart frog 2

2017 Dates to be announced

Students will experience the natural splendor and be exposed to the exciting culture of Costa Rica in Central America.

The Summer Semester in Costa Rica will provide a superb opportunity for students to be immersed in a Latin American environment and promises to be a memorable and unique learning experience.

Course Description

The goal of this program is to provide students an academically vigorous study opportunity in a Latin American country. The three courses that will make up this program are:

PSY 150-A Comparative Animal Behavior in the Tropics (SB) [GA]

An introduction to the diversity of animal species and the adaptive value of animal behavior in tropical environments, with a focus on how humans and other animals, particularly primates, are equipped for sociality. Observation, hands-on research, and classroom discussion address how animals in the tropics face various adaptive problems, like finding food, finding mates, caring for offspring, avoiding predators, living with friends, family, and enemies, and interacting with humans. Course is taught during the Summer Semester in Costa Rica. NS-L (pending curriculum approval). (Dr. Jennifer Penner)

SOCI 235 (SB) Nature, Culture, and Ecotourism

This course focuses on how understandings of "nature" are shaped by culture, and takes advantage of the location in Costa Rica to explore how nature and culture are brought together in models of ecotourism and visions of sustainable development. The course also explores dilemmas of social change connected with globalization. Students learn by participating in many opportunities for onsite sociological research, engaging with theoretical and ethnographic texts, and developing a comparative cross-cultural perspective. Students are also invited to deepen their sociological understanding of their own relationship to nature regardless of where they are located. (Dr. Stella Capek)

Topics in Public Policy (SB, CW)

The evolution, form, and substance of international, federal, state and local policies and programs that address challenges within a public policy arena. Students gain an understanding of the evolution of public policy and management; the policy process; organizational structure and function within the U.S. federal system of government; the role of various interests within the public arena; and alternatives for addressing current and future problems. (Dr. Peter Gess)

Students will choose 2 of the 3 courses.


San Luis cabin view view from the porch

Students and faculty will live and study at Ecolodge San Luis, a field station located in north-central Costa Rica. The station is located near the Quaker community of Monteverde and the famed rainforest preserves of the area. The Ecolodge is part of the San Luis valley community and is closely involved with the local people in regulating farming, ecotourism, and development activities. It provides an excellent opportunity for students to become immersed in a Spanish-speaking culture. Day trips are possible to other areas of the country including the capital, San Jose, nearby volcanoes, and the historical site of Santa Rosa. The people occupying the valley are mostly engaged in farming, growing coffee and sugar, and raising milk cattle for the local dairy. Some residents supplement their income with ecotourism activities. The field station and local residents work together to promote development activities that do not adversely affect life in San Luis. The community living here provides students with frequent and significant interaction in a Spanish-speaking culture. Surrounding much of San Luis valley are many natural reserves including the Monteverde Cloud Forest and the Children’s Rain Forest which allow for detailed study of tropical environments.

The Program


The semester is open to students at any level and from any discipline and is coded for Odyssey Global Awareness (GA) and Service to the World (SW) credit.

The Cost

Tuition and fees for the 2017 Summer Semester in Costa Rica will be announced as soon as determined. Airfare is additional.

  • Deposit of $800 will be due  about January 22, 2017 and should be paid at the business office.
  • Balance of course fees will be due about March 1, 2017, and should also be paid at the business office.
  • Air fare is (pending).

Program charges include:

*all transportation, all meals and lodging in Costa Rica,
*health & travel insurance, and field trips to national parks and places of cultural interest

Personal spending money is the responsibility of the student.
Homestays are available with local families, at an additional cost of $15.00 per night.


Applications should be submitted to the Office of International Programs at 

The date when applications for 2017 are due will be announced as soon as determined.

Course Schedule

Sunday,  TBA            Flight to San Jose, transfer to San Luis 
Friday, TBA               Flight home

All Hendrix policies regarding student conduct apply during the Summer Semester in Costa Rica.

Dr. Matthew D. Moran
D W Reynolds Center for Life Science
Room 215
(501) 450-3814(501) 450-3814
Fax: (501) 450-4547