Duke in Costa Rica

A 4-WEEK SUMMER SPANISH LANGUAGE & GLOBAL HEALTH PROGRAM

STUDY COSTA RICA’S CULTURE, LANGUAGE, AND HEALTH SYSTEMS

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This one-course program is based in Heredia, Costa Rica, a scenic town located just 12 km northwest of the capital city, San José. Heredia provides an ideal setting for gaining an understanding of key community health issues in Costa Rica while developing advanced Spanish language skills. On this program you’ll earn one Duke credit through an immersive signature course built around classroom and community interactions.

Program Fast Facts

Location: Heredia, Costa Rica

Term: Summer

Dates: May 24 to June 25, 2018

Application Deadline: February 1, 2018

Academic Theme(s): Spanish Language, Global Health

Credit Type: Duke Credit 

Eligibility: Open to all majors. Must have completed Spanish 204 or the equivalent (4 semesters of college-level Spanish). Non-Duke students are welcome to apply. 

Duke Affiliation: Duke Department of Romance Studies

Housing: Homestay Families

GEO Advisor: Abigail Grubbs

  • Site visit to Café Britt gourmet coffee plantation and roastery

  • Jaguar at La Paz waterfall

  • At Parque de Heredia (Ciudad de las Flores)

  • Spending time with immigrant youth at La Carpio

  • Watching the Costa Rican national team play soccer

  • Visiting la Caja de Seguro Social

  • Site Visit to Poás Volcano

  • Visiting Mamasol, an NGO working on issues related to childbirth

  • Locals celebrating their historic victory over Italy in the 2014 World Cup

  • Taking a class in Latin dance

  • Meeting the host family at the airport

  • Site visit to Café Britt gourmet coffee plantation and roastery

  • Latin dancing at La Rumba

  • A guest speaker in the Bribri indigenous community

  • In Puerto Límon on the way to visit the Bribri community

  • Spending the day with host families at El Castillo country club

  • Duke in Costa Rica students

  • At the market, interviewing vendors about medicinal plants

  • Site visit to a public school

  • Riding a traditional ox cart at La Paz waterfall

  • Getting ready for an overnight stay in the Bribri indigenous community

  • Learning about traditional chocolate processing techniques

  • Visiting the Guayabo National Monument, an important archaeological site

  • Guest lecture by a physical therapist at a home for the elderly

  • Weathering the cold temperatures at the Irazú volcano

ACADEMICS

You’ll enroll in one course for one Duke course credit, focusing on Spanish language, Latin American culture, and the Costa Rican health system. The course may be used to count toward Spanish major or minor requirements. No pass/fail option or auditing is permitted.

SPANISH 306A / GLHLTH 326A
Language, Culture, and Health in Costa Rica 

CCI, FL 1.0 Credit
Instructor: Prof. Bethzaida Fernandez

Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent (4th semester Spanish/Advanced Intermediate)

This course will develop advanced Spanish language skills and introduce you to key issues surrounding community health in Costa Rica. This immersion experience is built around classroom and community interactions. You will participate in class discussions, presentations, community interactions, and visits to local sites related to health, as well as talks by guest speakers. Additional cultural activities and field trips will deepen your knowledge of the community and cultural understanding. Assessment is based on language and content of written and oral projects.

EXCURSIONS

In addition to visits to local clinics and hospitals, you will have an opportunity to explore the surrounding area and learn about local culture through excursions to sites such as Poás Volcano, La Paz waterfalls, Cabecar indigenous community, Cartago province, and Tortuga Island.

HOUSING & MEALS

You will stay with carefully selected local homestay families, which will help enrich your linguistic and cultural experience. Families will provide two meals per day (breakfast and dinner) and laundry options. The program site visits will include lunch on most occasions. Students should budget for approximately 11 lunches and 2 dinners on their own.

COSTS

These costs are estimated based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change.

Summer 2018

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $3,390 $3,390
Program Fee $3,100 $3,100
Transcript Fee N/A $40
Other Costs Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $8,095 $8,135

Explanation of Costs

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving institutional need-based grant aid are eligible for aid for this program; work-study funds are converted to grants. Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and the Duke Bursar’s Office.

Non-Duke students are not eligible to receive financial aid at Duke and should contact their home institutions for financial aid information.

Scholarships

This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:

Dates

Attendance is required at all classes, excursions, and group events. Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted.

  • Arrival: May 24, 2018
  • Departure: June 25, 2018

Flights

You must make your own travel arrangements to and from San José (specifically to Juan Santamaría International Airport – SJO). Once you have a flight itinerary, log in to MyGlobalEd to update your travel registry.

Housing Before/After

You will need to make your own housing arrangements if you will be arriving before the program start date or leaving later than the program end date.

Schedule

Classes will be held in the mornings five days a week (M-F). Field trips and cultural events will take place during the afternoons and/or the weekends. A detailed itinerary will be provided to students during the pre-departure meeting. 

VISA & PASSPORT

VISA

No visa is required of U.S. citizens to participate in this program. Non U.S. citizens should check visa requirements for their specific citizenship by contacting their country’s embassy to find out if any visa requirements or restrictions are in effect.

PASSPORT

All participants must have a valid passport. Make sure your passport has at least six months of validity beyond the program end date to avoid unintended disruptions. For instructions on obtaining or renewing your U.S. passport, visit passports.state.gov.

PROGRAM FACULTY & STAFF

The Duke in Costa Rica program director can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the Global Education Office.

Bethzaida Fernandez

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Romance Studies

Abigail Grubbs

GEO Program Coordinator / Advisor

ADMISSIONS

Deadline: February 1, 2018

This program has rolling admission. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis until the program fills; after that, qualified students are added to a waitlist and notified of openings. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered. Application opens November 1.

Physical Demands: The program includes several field trips and activities that will involve walking and hiking. None are exceptionally strenuous, but if you have concerns or questions about such activities, feel free to contact the program director.

Priority: Priority is given to applicants who apply early and meet the language prerequisite.

Minimum GPA: There is no minimum GPA.

Non-Duke students: This program is open to all majors and applicants from accredited colleges and universities. You must be a degree-seeking student in good standing at an accredited college or university. Consult your university’s registrar and/or study away advisor for assistance with transfer credit. Students who are not matriculated at a college or university are not eligible to participate in Duke’s study away programs.

APPLY

Please start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

To apply to this program, please submit the following items using MyGlobalEd

  1. Online application
  2. Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First-year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted.
  3. Personal statement, one-two pages double spaced, including the following:
    • Describe your experience learning Spanish to date, and if you're currently taking Spanish at Duke. If you have not taken a Spanish class at Duke, detail how many years you have studied Spanish, where, and the type of work you did during those studies (for example, types of reading and writing assignments).
    • Describe your experiences traveling abroad, your interest in health related topics, and your interest in Latin American culture and society. Explain why you are interested in Costa Rica specifically,  how this experience can enhance your academic and career goals, and how it can benefit you on the whole.
  4. Academic letter of recommendation from a Spanish language instructor (one)

STUDENT STORIES

Mistakes Welcome: Let Go, Learn More

By Lucy St. Charles

Before going to Costa Rica, I was a perfectionist. I never wanted to make a single mistake while I spoke. During the program, it didn’t feel like I was making much progress. For weeks, I’d stumble over what I was trying to say. I didn’t notice a change until my last night...the fear that had been constantly holding me back from making mistakes was gone.

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The Professor Made All the Difference

By Andrew Padilla

I decided to participate in Duke in Costa Rica due to raving reviews from previous students on the program. They talked about how incredibly immersive the program was and how much fun they had. I was looking for a unique way to spend my summer and this program was the perfect opportunity.

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Amazing Connections and Friendships in Just One Month

By Carter Lovvorn

The great thing about this program is that you get a full overview of the way the public health system works in a different country. You don’t have to be super into global health—there is a breadth of study and opportunity on the program. And you will still have plenty of time for activities with your host family and to explore Costa Rica!

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Livin' La Pura Vida

By Harry Liu

The Pura Vida lifestyle is best summed up as the combination of the many daily experiences that Tico has. The experiences I’ve had taught me that in order to fully immerse yourself in and understand a culture, you have to keep an open mind, be flexible, and completely embrace it. In other words, you have to challenge yourself to try new things.

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How Much 'Pura Vida' Can I Fit in My Suitcase?

By Spencer Flynn

The one-two punch of the tranquil beauty of Costa Rica's rain forests combined with the 'pura vida' lifestyle of the Costa Ricans has shown me just how much life there is to be had when you can quiet yourself and just be present with family, friends, and yourself. 

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Duke in Costa Rica Meets First Female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

The Duke in Costa Rica students visited the Supreme Court of Costa Rica for a talk on violence and gender issues related to health. During the visit, they had the opportunity to meet Costa Rica’s first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Zarela Villanueva Monge.

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