SFS Semester: Sustainable Development in Costa Rica
98% Rating
(5 Reviews)

SFS Semester: Sustainable Development in Costa Rica

Study abroad in Costa Rica next semester with The School for Field Studies (SFS)! The Sustainable Development Studies semester long program provides students with a great opportunity to explore the effects of globalization on various development issues.

Students live in the middle of a region trying to balance sustainability with rapid development catering to the tourism and real estate industries, which has increased the demand on land and water resources. While Costa Rica has formally protected 26% of its territory, these areas are influenced by activities occurring on their borders.The species and ecosystems within these protected areas require a renewed balance. SFS students research how to find this balance, so that one of the most biodiverse regions can be conserved. Students will be able to see the country's varied ecosystems firsthand, from cloud forests to volcanoes to lowland rainforests.

North America » Costa Rica
Program Type
Subject Areas
Animal Science
Cultural Studies
Latin American Studies
Natural Sciences
Sustainable Development
Wildlife Sciences
Degree Level
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Letters of Recommendation
Phone / Skype Interview
Age Requirement
GPA Requirement
Health Requirement
Experience Requirement
Application Fee
Starting Price
Price Details
SFS program fees cover room and board, program-related ground transportation and park entrance fees, field equipment, supplies, orientation, and pre- and post-program advisory services. Total Program Cost does not include transportation to and from the program. Scholarships available!
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Program Reviews

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Program Reviews (5)

Default avatar
21 years old
Washington, DC
George Washington University

Amazing, unique experience!


After participating in this program, I can say that SFS offers students some really unique opportunities. Much of the semester was devoted to experiential learning. This meant hiking through the cloud forest and observing first-hand the ecological processes we had learned about in lecture days before. This meant conducting wildlife research on camping trips during the program’s initial weeks. This meant conducting our own research under the guidance of passionate and knowledgeable faculty advisors. Students leave SFS with a new depth and breadth of knowledge, as well as tangible projects and skills to show for it.

Beyond academics, the Center for Sustainable Development Studies is an incredible community. The staff genuinely care about the students' experience and played a big part in making the semester so amazing. I would caution that the program is not for everyone in that there are a strict set of rules (curfew, substances, company at the Center, etc.) and students should go in with that understanding. But the experience is in every way worth it.

How can this program be improved?

The courses were interesting, but I didn't gain as strong of an understanding of actual paths to development as I would have liked. The professors are very knowledgeable, but often times information was not drawn together to teach actual solutions/paths of action.

The program also could've benefited from more activities to foster cultural understanding, as well as coexistence among students living in such close quarters.

Default avatar
Dallas, Texas
Southern Methodist University

Amazing Experience


This was a eye-opening experience. It made me realize that every and all cations that we take has an impact one somebody else in the world. I learned that sustainability comes with many trade-offs but benefit the environment and humans in the long run. You are able to coexist in a tight knit community that enjoys being with one another and enjoy a life full of simplicity. The hikes, views, waterfalls and sunsets will always be in the back of your mind and in your dreams.

How can this program be improved?

By providing more sensitivity training to the staff and sessions for the students

Default avatar
24 years old
Lewisburg, PA
Bucknell University

Top-notch program...I highly recommend it


Not only is this program run by very intelligent and personable faculty and staff, but also the students that participate in this program are one of a kind. This program attracts individuals who are concerned about the environment and desire to make a positive difference in the world, but more importantly who realize that the best change can only occur collaboratively. As a result this program fosters an academic work and living environment like no other. Although the academic schedule can be rigorous at times, the expansive field lectures and field research keep you on your toes so that you remain energized and enthusiastic throughout the day. Practicing sustainability is as much a part of this program as studying it is. At the beginning of each semester the program participants create and sign a sustainability contract dictating how they will best attempt to live their daily lives while in this program, in order to live as sustainably as possible. The resulting simpler lifestyle coupled with the tight-knit community of peers and faculty creates an enlightening experience that SFS alumni will keep with them for a lifetime.

If you want to experience what living sustainably is like and explore a beautiful country, with amazing faculty and peers, then this is the program for you.

How can this program be improved?

Sometime classes 6 days a week can become very tiring. A lengthening of the program to create more full-length weekends might really make the program that much more enjoyable and also keep students being 100% productive through the end. Otherwise I wouldn't change anything else, except you should campaign to get more male participants. My program was 23 girls and 6 guys. A more equally balanced community would be more fun and more constructive on both sides.

Default avatar
24 years old
Andover, MN
University of Saint Thomas

Amazing experience!


While I was in Costa Rica I lived with 34 other students, 3 of which shared a room with me. It got to be a lot being around people all the time, however, I made some of my best life long friends during this journey. SFS provided such an enlightening experience that I never could have created traveling on my own. We went on excursions every weekend and sometimes during the week too. I saw so much of Costa Rica while I was there & can't wait to go back!

Default avatar
24 years old
Carlisle, PA
Dickinson College

Why some ratings got 7's


The living situation is not like you're living at a 5 star hotel, but there is a pool surrounded by palm trees that if you go to early enough, you can see monkeys at in the morning. The actual house that we lived in was basically all concrete but it awesome because everyone became a family so quickly and we basically were our own social scene. The early curfew doesn't exactly allow you to develop routine of going out and exploring at night, but we definitely made due. I'd recommend this program to anyone, even if they were not interested in sustainability.

About The Provider


The School for Field Studies (SFS) offers field-based programs that revolve around environmental studies and research. The programs involve exploration of the human and ecological aspects of issues having to do with the local environments. Students assist SFS's global partners and host communities in their