Study abroad trips back in action at IU South Bend

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By: Connie Klimek


IU South Bend is hosting a study abroad trips to Costa Rica and Iceland during Summer Session II. The four weeklong program’s tentative dates of travel for Costa Rica are July 10 to Aug. 7, 2021. While the two week long program for Iceland, has tentative dates of travel are July 17 to Aug. 1, 2021. 

Both trips are packed with adventures. Yet, the trip to Costa Rica is intertwined with a language learning program that accommodates varying levels of Spanish learners. The only requirement for the Costa Rica trip is that students must have taken Spanish 101 or tested out of it before going on the trip. 

The Iceland trip does not have any required prerequisites. 

“During the four-week stay, we balance what it means to be a language learner while incorporating cultural studies and experiences,” Costa Rica trip leader, Dr. Tammy Fong-Morgan, said.

Students will be staying in the small town of Nicoya with a population of about 35,000 residents – which is close to the size of Granger, Ind. This is not a popular tourist location, so this experience gives students an authentic feel of what life is like in Costa Rica. 

IU South Bend has planned many exciting excursions for the students to embark during the Iceland and Costa Rica study abroad trips. 

Students in Costa Rica will take part in a jungle cruise, an overnight trip to Samara Beach, a visit to the local farmers market, visiting a local coffee farm, visiting Rio Negro hot springs and mud baths and kayaking during the season of the Antarctic humpback whale’s migration. These included excursions allow students to step beyond a routine and experience life as a traveler. 

Dance lessons, cooking classes, joining in celebration for national holidays, and viewing music performances are all available to students in Costa Rica as well. 

Students studying abroad in Iceland will visit an Icelandic seal center, go whale watching, and take part in a movie night. A few location highlights on the travel itinerary are, a shooting location, Dimmiuborgir, in Game of Thrones, and Lake Myvatn. 

This lake is home to Europe’s most powerful waterfall known as Dettifoss. Students will visit a volcanic caldera, Krafla, and the second-largest city in Iceland, Akureyri. Students will get to experience the tearing apart continental shelf plates between North America and Europe, while visiting the Golden Circle.  Students visit Jokulsarlon, a lagoon where several movies were filmed, including a James Bond film, and  Blue Lagoon just to name a few of the exotic locations. 

The main focus of the Costa Rica program is education about life in one of the world’s five Blue Zones. People living in Costa Rica live measurably longer and healthier than those in the United States. While studying under Costa Rican instructors, students are taught how to incorporate sustainable and healthy methods of living into their lifestyles. 

While the main focus of the trip to Iceland is interactive education regarding sustainability and climate change. Chef Gustav will educate students on Icelandic gastronomy, specifically fresh, local meals “prepared from farm to fork”. Studying in Iceland is a “great way for students to reconnect with nature and while being surrounded by clean air, water and food”, said Iceland trip leader, Dr. Terri Hebert. Additionally, students learn how the small Icelandic community is able to support the many tourists who come to visit. 

Students in the Costa Rica program will be living with a host family, communicating in Spanish daily. Host families are aware of students’ language levels and accommodate the students accordingly. Dr. Molly Monroe, trip leader, comments that having a routine is incredibly helpful during a language learning experience, such as this varied immersion program. 

Yet, students within the Iceland program will stay at Holar University, each having their own room, equipped with a kitchen. Having access to a kitchen is a convenient accommodation, especially for students who prefer to budget. 

Trip leaders for both study abroad trips hope to balance the experience of living in another country while creating a routine and participating in activities on a “bucket list.” Leaders also help students budget for the trip as well as give travel advice. 

All of the excursions are included in the overall cost of both the programs. The cost of the trips is $4,000 in addition to the cost of (6 credit hours for Costa Rica, and 3 credit hours for Iceland), insurance and spending money. IU South Bend does offer scholarships for study abroad programs. Additionally, financial aid can be used toward study abroad trips.

The application deadline for both study abroad trips was Friday, April 16, but the trip organizers are still accepting applications. Students must submit an essay with their application. The personal essay allows trip organizers to gauge students’ maturity and intentions before studying in a foreign country for two to four weeks. It is important to keep in mind that spots are limited. Apply now by visiting:

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