Experience a semester of sustainability in Costa Rica, home to rainforests, volcanoes, rushing waterfalls, and a laid-back culture that reflects the national motto: “Pura Vida.” Immerse yourself in the country’s many national parks, farms, and tropical ecosystems full of incredible biodiversity. Design and conduct a rigorous field research project and learn how Costa Ricans are creatively addressing conservation and development issues.
SFS students live and study at the Center for Sustainable Development Studies. The Center is an active organic farm overlooking the vibrant Central Valley, where green is the predominant color as far as the eye can see. Dorms and classrooms intermingle with orchards and gardens, while Center dog Hera keeps watch over it all. The friendly town of Atenas is a 10-minute cab ride away, offering restaurants, shops, parks, and cultural events.
- Explore the cloud forests of Monteverde, home to 2.5 percent of the world’s biodiversity, to study tropical ecology and sustainable land management.
- Take a weeklong expedition to Panama’s Chiriquí Highlands, a lush, forested region of volcanic peaks, coffee farms, rich Ngäbe-Buglé culture, and perpetual spring-like weather.
- Go behind the scenes at a local coffee farm and sustainable permaculture homestead to learn how Costa Ricans have successfully combined agriculture and conservation.
- Build core skills including: GIS, biodiversity assessment, songbird mist-netting, forest soundscape survey, basic Spanish language, research design and implementation, data collection and analysis, research presentation
- Conduct research in some of the following areas: Climate change and tropical ecosystems, agroforestry and conservation, permaculture, avian behavior, urban ecology, sustainable ecotourism, carbon sequestration