Study abroad spotlight: Spring break in Costa Rica

Students ziplining in Monteverde Cloud Forest. photo provided
Students ziplining in Monteverde Cloud Forest.
photo provided

Staff Writer

This coming spring IU South Bend students have the opportunity to spend their spring break in Costa Rica.

The theme is seeking sustainable development and wellness. The program is ten days long and lasts from March 14 to 23.

Scott Sernau, a professor of sociology, is leading the trip. He talked about the theme of the program:

“A look at sustainability in Costa Rica and the efforts that they have done for economic, social and environmental sustainability—building a society that serves its needs on limited incomes and preserves the natural beauty that makes the country famous.”

Sernau talked about the favorite experiences of students from past trips to Costa Rica.

“For some it’s Samara Beach. For some it’s the zip line, they’re high adventure. For some it’s their family—they’ll stay in touch with their family and really bond with them.”

The majority of the ten days is spent in historic Nicoya where students live with local families. There is one student per house hold.

Gary Rose is the director of student services for the Costa Rican program.

“Nicoya is a town of 40,000 people who live on middle income,” he said. Rose added that Nicoya is safe.

“The one injury [students] get is sunburns,” Rose said.

Jason Quimby attended the Costa Rica trip alongside his wife Kristen Quimby during spring break of 2011. He talked about his Spanish-speaking experience while in Nicoya.

“One of the cool things about this program is you get to learn Spanish—you sit down in a classroom setting and learn Spanish.”

For three days students attend Spanish classes while in Nicoya. Jason Quimby went to Costa Rica with no prior Spanish speaking experience. There is no prior Spanish speaking experience required.

Jason Quimby said his favorite part of the Costa Rica experience was “getting to see how the world really is outside of my bubble.”

Students can use their loans and grants towards the program. There are also three different kinds of scholarships available.

The total cost for the program is approximately $2,500 plus tuition for three credit hours. The program fulfills a general education requirement for either SOC-S 362 or SOC-B 399. Additional credit in Spanish may be possible. The trip is all-inclusive. Applications for the program are due by Dec. 2.

For more information on the Costa Rica study abroad program and to apply for scholarships visit or contact Sernau at

By The Preface at IUSB

IU South Bend's Official Student Newspaper

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