Costa Rica: Ecological Paradise

Academics: 5
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Housing: 10
Safety: 10

The beautiful thing about being a biology major at a major university in Costa Rica is that my ecology classes could just take a walk outside to find examples of things we learn in class. Every day, my plant taxonomy class would take a walk around campus identifying the families of plants we learned about. There is a small forest for study right behind “la U”, as they like to call it.

The first day of tropical ecology class, our professora Sonia took us on a walk around campus just to find what ecology we could see. The very first bush we stop at, she sees this giant spider and starts cooing “Que linda, chiquitita” (“how cute, little girly”). Next thing you know she’s picking it up and explaining about the native spiders, as the class cringes a little. That is how you earn respect day one, let me tell you. By the end of the semester, we were all doing the same, and I can still tell you about the 3 major species on campus.

Not only do we explore our campus ecology to the fullest, but we’ve also gotten a chance to study so many other ecosystems in the country of Costa Rica. Our field studies, take us all over the country. Studying in San Ramon has given me the chance to explore in real life the tropical systems I would study as an ecology student in a text book anywhere else. While studying these ecosystems I’ve had the chance to snorkel in the Pacific and Caribbean, visit the major research station for tropical rainforests in Costa Rica, and hike through multiple cloud forests in various stages of restoration and establishment.

San Ramon is perfect for any student that is interested in learning more about nature and Latin American culture. This is also a great place to learn Spanish, you’ll get plenty of practice. Making friends with locals and learning salsa and other latin dances has been a highlight of my semester, and a fun way to learn about Tico culture. And, if you’re pre-med: I’ve only heard good things about the hospital or clinic internships, if your Spanish is already pretty decent. They are very interactive, and challenging in a good way. I have so much love for this city and country. My year was such a positive experience overall, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a little crazy to me, the Carolina girl, to think that I felt like I was returning home when I got back to San Ramon from a week in say, Panama or Cuba. I’m so grateful, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Viva Moncho!

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed