Field experiences are at the heart of the Costa Rica Center’s academic program. These are designed to provide students with direct encounters with topics studied in the classroom and to allow them to explore local solutions to global challenges. Students participate in both short field excursions on regular class days as well as longer travel itineraries designed to meet the learning objectives of specific courses. For example, past students have gone to the metropolitan area’s water supply in the mountains to explore the local ecosystem, visited banana plantations to study labor and economic development, met with local NGOs to study refugee and human development issues, and traveled to indigenous communities to study local traditions and cultural revitalization efforts.
More extended itineraries include regional travel. Each semester, students take a field trip to a neighboring country, usually Nicaragua in the fall and Panama in the spring, to learn about the region’s parallel cultures, to explore histories of colonialism and revolution, and to encounter the contemporary impact of global trade and direct foreign investment, etc.