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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Winter
Fact Sheet:
Area of Study: Earth and Environmental Science, Sustainable Development Experience / Activity Type: Classes
Credit type: LU credit Minimum GPA: 2.0
Class Eligibility: First Year, Junior, Senior, Sophomore Housing Option: Dorm/Student Residence, Hotel/Hostel
LU Program Director: Morris, Donald (, Weisman, Rick ( Number of Credits: 3
Host: Lehigh Program LU Study Abroad Advisor: Brian Wasserman (
Exchange: No Global Engineering Consortium: No
Program Description:
***Application for Winter 2018-19 will open soon - all information below remains tentative***
An information session for Winter 2018-19 will be held on Wednesday, April 25th at 4:00pm in STEPS 131.
- Wednesday, April 25th                    4:10pm                        STEPS 131
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Rolling admissions through Friday, October 5, 2018
- Program dates will be similar to 2017-18 dates: December 28, 2017 - January 17, 2018
PROGRAM COST (Estimated)

$4,400 (tentative) – This includes tuition for three (3) credits and double occupancy room for the duration of the program (breakfast included).  

Not included: airfare, local travel, meals outside the program, laundry, personal expenses, personal weekend travel and/or other costs. 


Lehigh Travel Grants
A limited number of financial need-based scholarships are available.  Scholarship amounts range from $500 - $2000 based on the applicant's level of financial need as determined by the financial aid office.   Applications will be evaluated based on the applicant's financial need and an essay describing the significance of this experience to their academic and professional development.  Deadlines and application instructions are posted on the Travel Grant Form.

In addition, students are encouraged to review the Finances section of the Lehigh Study Abroad website for information on additional funding opportunities.

Students will choose one of two course options:

EES-042: The Natural History of Costa Rica (3 credits; Natural Science)
This course will expose students to the unique interaction of ecology, geology, and climate that has shaped the natural history of Costa Rica. Topics will include population, community, and ecosystem ecology, as well as evolution and natural selection as they pertain to the biota of Costa Rica.   Biodiversity and conservation biology will also be a major focus of the course. The course will expose students to the natural history of Costa Rica via classroom lectures, electronic media, observations, and field exercises.  Each student will write a research report on a topic related to some aspect of natural history that was emphasized during the course. Students will also produce a written journal that includes their daily observations/perspectives on natural history in Costa Rica.

SDEV-122: Sustainable Development - The Costa Rican Experience (3 credits; Social Science)
This course investigates the concept of sustainable development as it is currently being practiced in Costa Rica. The course is an examination of sustainable development and its implementation in Costa Rica.  Students investigate sustainable agriculture and energy, ecotourism, land use planning and management, and the issue of biodiversity vs. resource exploitation in forests.  Students also learn about Costa Rica, its social fabric, history, government, and culture.

PARTICIPATION Students are expected to participate in all field trips, meetings, and discussions to successfully complete the class.

SDEV-122 and EES-042 are 20-day courses taught simultaneously in Costa Rica during winter break. You may enroll in only ONE of these courses concurrently. Both courses require some class meetings and academic work during the preceding fall semester.

Costa Rica Program Brochure 2017-2018


Costa Rica is a small (size of West Virginia) Central American nation which lies on a narrow strip of land separating the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Costa Rica’s tropical climate, geographic location, and evolutionary past have combined to provide a rich diversity of habitats and a spectacular array of biota. Habitats range from mangrove swamps to rain and cloud forests to seasonal dry forests, and alpine meadows situated near active volcanoes. This small strip of land boasts over 10% of the world’s bird and butterfly species, as well as over 1200 species of orchids!
Costa Rica is internationally recognized for its innovative approaches to conservation and sustainable development. At considerable economic cost, the country has preserved over 25% of its land area as national parks or private reserves. Costa Rican society is currently debating the trade-offs between economic development and environmental preservation. The Costa Rican experience provides numerous real world examples of the complex and diverse forces that threaten tropical ecosystems and various attempts to preserve these ecosystems and still grow economically.
Compared with other Central American nations, Costa Rica has been blessed with remarkable stability: few extremes of wealth and poverty, no standing army, and a proud history as the region’s most stable democracy. The country is a growing destination for ecotourism and hosts a number of university field courses on tropical ecology.

In Costa Rica, transportation and accommodations will be arranged by the University of Georgia (UGA), which has substantial experience operating similar educational programs in the region. While at various biological stations, students will be housed in student dormitories. In San Jose and other populated areas, students will be housed (multiple occupancy) in hotels.