International Programs  
   

Costa Rica

 
The Aquinas College Costa Rica Program is a semester-long, cultural immersion and study program with a substantial service-learning component. The Program is designed around the principle of interactive cultural immersion. To achieve the cultural immersion objective we have designed the academics, excursions, housing, and service-learning to interrelate and intensify the immersion experience. Moreover, students are afforded the unequaled opportunity to work with six different indigenous tribes and learn from them while providing an environmental service of replanting and reforestation of indigenous plants and trees.
 
Academics
In Santa Ana, Costa Rica the students will be required to take the following courses: History & Culture of Costa Rica, Tropical Ecology and Spanish Language 302; elective courses include Latin American Dance, and Costa Rican Literature. The students will also have a chance to earn academic credit by participating in the Service-Learning Reforestation Project.
 
Excursions
The Program's excursions will complement and reinforce the courses on Costa Rican Culture and Tropical Ecology. Professors will accompany the students to such places as Irazu Volcano, Monteverde, Indian Reservation Cabecar de Paso Marcos, Venado Caves and many other fascinating locations. Among the many excursions is the unprecedented opportunity of traveling to meet six different indigenous peoples (in some cases hiking and/or riding horses through cloud and rain forests), working with them and learning through direct contact.
 
Housing
Students live with native families in the small town of Santa Ana. This setting provides the opportunity to build friendships and gain insight into daily living, as well as an immediate local resource for the individual student. Also, integration into the daily workings of the home represents regular and practical language application and insight into cultural values and behaviors.
 
Service-Learning
The Service-Learning project was initiated in January of 2000. CEDIA is an effort by Aquinas College, the Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture, the Santa Ana Community Government, and various other organizations throughout the world to combat two growing problems in Costa Rica: malnutrition and reforestation. Through the coordination of Ministerial efforts as well as integrating local volunteer labor, students concentrate on the need to replenish the land with indigenous fruit trees. Our students will have the opportunity to serve and learn about the practical implications of trying implement solutions to both deforestation and malnutrition.
In the process, participants will work closely with high-ranking government officials while building friendships and trust with local Santa Ana officials and residents. Since its inception, the project has grown significantly. Students have planted over 8,000 trees of twenty different species in the Santa Ana area. This opportunity will augment all of the student's courses because the students will learn first hand the importance of the ecological balance on which these people depend.
 
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