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  • Locations: La Fortuna, Costa Rica; Monteverde, Costa Rica; San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Spring Break
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Restrictions: U of U applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Spring Break
  • Courses Offered
  • This program is currently not accepting applications. Click on the disk icon to save the program to your profile, join the interest list, and receive updates.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program. Click Save to Profile to join the interest list and receive updates.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Program Type: Faculty-Led Click here for a definition of this term Minimum GPA: 2.5
Click here for a definition of this term Housing Type(s): Homestay Click here for a definition of this term Home Campus: Non-U of U, U of U: Utah Campus
Click here for a definition of this term Credit Type: Graduate U of U, Undergraduate U of U Click here for a definition of this term Language(s) of Instruction: English
Click here for a definition of this term Minimum Language Prerequisite: Advanced English Language Fluency, No Host Language Click here for a definition of this term Badge Opportunities: Career Development, Community Engagement
Click here for a definition of this term Field of Study: Anthropology, Economics, Envrionmental & Sustainablility Studies, International Studies, Parks, Recreation, & Tourism, Political Science, Public Administration, Public Policy, Sociology, Urban Ecology Click here for a definition of this term Eligibility: Course Prerequisite(s), Good Academic & Judicial Standing, Minimum Age: 18
Click here for a definition of this term Pre-departure Requirements: Learning Abroad 101, Pre-Departure Orientation, Participation Requirements for Learning Abroad, Post-Decision Health Assessment, Pre & Post Commitments Click here for a definition of this term Program Cost: $
Program Description:

Community Engagement in CR Rib
DESCRIPTIONSB16 Costa Rica Community

This is a learning abroad course that uses community engaged-learning (CEL) to explore the power of community engagement in an international context.  We will utilize the history, culture, and civic issues affecting Monteverde, Costa Rica, as a living laboratory.  The course is composed of weekly on-campus classes and a one week intensive in-country experience in Costa Rica over spring break in March.  The course is the result of collaborative efforts between The Lowell Bennion Community Service Center, Learning Abroad, the Departments of Political Science, Undergraduate Studies, and the Monteverde Institute. 
Central to Community Engagement in Costa Rica is the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of community-based experiential learning. We will consider and discuss civic leadership, community health, systems ecology, and collective impact to better understand how the activities and impacts of traveling and tourism affect quality of life, culture, and community in a Central American country.

Students will learn from first hand experiences that highlight:
  • the role of women in development
  • fair trade agriculture
  • eco-tourism
  • sustainable development
  • conservation biology
  • cooperative business management
  • micro-enterprise
This Program is planned to run again in Spring Break 2022.


  • Available credit(s): 3 credits
  • Applicants are required to enroll in the program course
  • Click on the Courses Offered link above for more information, including prerequisites
  • 2020 class meets every Wednesday from January 8 - March 4 from 4:30pm-6pm until Spring Break when the class will travel to Costa Rica for one-week intensive community engaged learning and adventure. The travel and experiential learning component will include several community activities, projects, and excursions.


Possible excursions may include:
  • Cloud forest and continental divide
  • Urban community development
  • Canopy tour
  • Fair trade coffee and mixed farms
  • Women's arts & crafts cooperative
  • 100% post-consumer waste paper product micro-business and more


In addition to taking classes, students enrich their time abroad by participating in Learning Abroad Badge opportunities such as, Career Development, Language Immersion, Research Experience, and Community Engagement:
Badge Opportunities
The Learning Abroad Badges listed in the Fact Sheet above are included in this program. Some programs offer opportunities to earn additional Learning Abroad Badges through independent options.  Students interested in earning multiple Learning Abroad Badges can participate in the Global U Program and receive special recognition at graduation.

This program automatically earns the Career Development and Community Engagement Badges: 
  • Career Development:
    • Students work, observe and network with community leaders and volunteers, while implementing initiatives with the host community.  
    • This experience will provide valuable, comparative and practical insights into community development, international relations, and public administration that can be highlighted on resumes and during job interviews.
  • Community Engagement:
    • As part of the program, students work with a grassroots association that addresses community development in the region.  Past work projects have involved elementary schools, health centers, community centers, road and water infrastructure, and small collective business feasibility studies.  
    • Students will  interact with local leaders and volunteers while learning unique ways of addressing common challenges.


  • Dean McGovern 
    • Executive Director, Bennion Center
    • Associate Professor, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences


  • See Housing Type(s) above
  • Participants are required to use the program housing facilities
  • Housing is included in the program cost


  • Click on the Budget Sheet link above for information about ESTIMATED costs
  • Participants should read the full Withdrawal Penalty Policy BEFORE applying
  • Scholarships are available for Degree-Seeking, University of Utah students
  • Financial Aid might apply, visit your Financial Aid Counselor for more information


The Learning Abroad Handbook outlines the University of Utah's eligibility requirements, financial policies, conduct standards, administrative procedures, academic expectations, as well as visa and passport guidelines for Learning Abroad Programs. ALL participants are subject to the rules and regulations in the Learning Abroad Handbook. It is every participant's responsibility to read the Learning Abroad Handbook and contact Learning Abroad with any questions.

Program Ratings:
1 2 3 4
Course quality:
1 2 3 4 5
Cost value:
1 2 3 4
Overall experience:
1 2 3 4 5
Level of cultural immersion:
1 2 3 4 5
Program Reviews:
Spring Break 2019 Participant
The one thing that I was unsure about in this program was the home stay aspect. However, after going on the trip and experiencing it, the home stay portion was probably my favorite part.

KATE Anne BUTTON, Spring Break 2019 Participant
Loved the opportunity to practice speaking Spanish with my host family, and I had a lot of fun with the class as we volunteered, studied, explored, and spent time together. Truly the best way to fill all of the days of spring break.

NIKOLINA PEHAR, Spring Break 2018 Participant
The community engagement program in Costa Rica was unlike anything else I've ever experienced. Culture shock took over but immediately eased within the kindness of the Ticos - everyone is nice, accommodating and willing to help. The sustainability efforts by everyone within Monteverde was unreal; the entire community was committed to making everything sustainable and was committed to creating a better environment for future generations. The homestay families become your own family and treat you as if you belong. The community built within the class is also another thing worth mentioning. The bond that we created during the week long stay is something I won't ever forget. Overall, I would highly recommend this program to anyone looking to change their lives forever.

PAUL HEATON, Spring Break 2018 Participant
The families you stay with vary, mine was awesome!! Some didn't have the best time and stayed with families that didn't speak any English. The matching didn't always match well.

This program is currently not accepting applications. Click on the disk icon to save the program to your profile, join the interest list, and receive updates.