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Field Trips and Independent Travel

An essential and very positive part of our academic program is the emphasis on field trips. Field trips are designed to provide students with hands-on experiences that will give them a better understanding of the content and ideas studied in the different courses. They are a vital component of the experiential learning model because they make abstract concepts real, relevant, and personal. Students will participate in several short field trips during classes or longer field trips that last a few days. Short field trips (one afternoon or one day) are usually sessions in the field of a particular course.

For example, the Global Environmental Issues in Latin America Seminar may visit a municipal park located in the mountains above Heredia, the source of much of the metropolitan area’s water supply to examine the complex issues surrounding the basic need for water.

Additionally, each semester students have a longer field trip to one other country in the region to explore issues firsthand from multiple perspectives, as well as to witness different ways that communities are addressing today’s social, economic, and political challenges. In the past, students have travelled to different parts of Panama and Nicaragua.  All of the field experiences are meant to complement the classroom work and provide an opportunity to learn about and reflect on local and global issues.

Students will receive more detailed information about the field trips during the semester.  In general, field trips provide students with a better understanding of important historical, social, political and economic systems relevant to current global issues.  They also allow students to understand the impact of these issues on a local level.  Some field trips in the past have included visits to a banana plantation, small farms, indigenous communities, political leaders, street children projects, community organizations, and the Panama Canal. In addition, students will experience the different tropical ecosystems - rain forest, cloud forest, and dry forest - and explore the relationship between environment and society.