Costa Rica Program


Costa Rica Program

The Costa Rica Center is the gateway to the Global Studies degree program, providing students with a strong academic foundation and the opportunity to  grasp the relationship between Central America and the larger world through engaging coursework with integrated field experiences. In this yearlong program, students engage with contemporary Costa Rica and travel to neighboring countries, studying the local effects of globalization and making sense of its impact on the region’s people, politics, economies, and ecosystems. Students experience the ways in which the conquest of Indigenous America by Europeans 500 years ago and the forced migration of Africans continue to define the region. They also experience local issues that are global in scope and explore the ways in which governments, international organizations, entrepreneurs, and local communities are responding to the region’s ongoing engagement with global economic, cultural, environmental, and political forces in innovative ways. The program includes the intensive study of Spanish (offered at all levels), homestays with Costa Rican families, fieldwork at sites around the country, and extended study experiences to Panama.  

Costa Rica has a vibrant and diverse culture that offers exciting learning opportunities. Although the country is about the size of West Virginia, it contains about 4% of the Earth’s biodiversity, with lush rainforest, high mountains, volcanoes, coastal plains, and beautiful beaches. The Costa Rica Center is in the university town of Heredia, which is located in the high central plateau on the outskirts of San José, Costa Rica’s capital city. The Center is near the city’s Central Park and about a mile from the National University.

Academic Overview

The Costa Rica Center hosts all of LIU Global’s first-year students as well as visiting study abroad students. The yearlong program introduces students to the region’s place in the world through the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Seminar and two foundational global studies courses, one on Environment & Ecology and the other on Governance. Students are also equipped with writing and research skills, as well as an increased capacity to communicate effectively in Spanish. Electives allow students to explore strategic communications and social entrepreneurship, both of which are introductory courses to two of the minors.

Students develop cross-cultural communication skills through reflective engagement with local families in homestays and during community engagement  projects, excursions, and field research. By engaging directly with communities in Costa Rica and Panama, students explore the interrelations among environmental, cultural, economic, and political issues, and understand how individuals and local communities are affected by and respond to global forces.
Fall Curriculum
Latin American and Caribbean Studies Seminar
Foundations of Global Studies: Environment & Ecology
Foundation Year Orientation Seminar
Joining the Conversation: The Argumentative Essay
Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced Communicative Spanish I
Spring Curriculum
Foundations of Global Studies: Governance
An Introduction to Field Research
Exploring Questions: Writing the Research Paper I
Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced Communicative Spanish II