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 many short field trips, three-day trips within Costa Rica, and a two-week trip in Costa Rica or another Latin American country each semester.
Short field trips (one afternoon or one day) are usually sessions linked to a single course. For example, the Holistic Health and Culture Seminar may visit an herb farm located in the beautiful mountains of San Pedro de Santa Bárbara de Heredia to learn about the use of medicinal plants. The longer field trips of usually three days are planned to link the experience with the academic objectives of two or more courses. A trip to the indigenous community of Talamanca, for example, includes and integrates topics from all the seminars being offered that semester. Additionally, each semester students have a two-week 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 Dole Banana Plantation, small farmers, indigenous communities, political parties, street children projects, 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.