- Gain an introductory understanding of various ways in which culture, history, and geographic region influence health, well-being, healthcare, and healthcare systems.
- Learn about Costa Rican culture by living with a host family and participating in cultural excursions.
- The program will focus on real-time health concerns (i.e. how Monteverde is responding to the Zika virus), visits to various health clinics, and comparisons between health care in the United States and Costa Rica.
- Learn “survival Spanish” and visit La Fortuna to swim in the hot springs and waterfalls and view Arenal Volcano.
Course of Study
As an extension of the pre-health courses provided for students through the Explore Center, this education abroad program offers freshman and sophomore pre-health students with a short-term hands-on introductory experience abroad focused on culture and healthcare in a global context. The program will focus on real-time health concerns (e.g. how Costa Rica is looking at the Zika virus outbreak, access to and structure of healthcare facilities, etc.), visits to various health clinics and the ministry of education (as a way to explore various aspects of the health profession), as well as the cultural differences between health care in the United States and Costa Rica.
Students will earn 1 UNL credit for CASC 191: Special Topics: Pre-Health in Costa Rica
- Students will complete an application essay and preference will be given to students whose application essay displays a desire to engage in the learning goals of this program. Students will also be interviewed by the program leaders.
- Students from any major/college at UNL are eligible.
- Students must be in their first or second year at UNL (regardless of class standing) at the time of application. Two semesters of undergraduate credit must have been completed prior to departure.
- Priority will be given to students with a CUM GPA of 2.75 or higher at the time of application.
- Students must be in good academic standing and in compliance with the UNL student code of conduct.
- No graduate, visiting, part-time, or post-bacc students will be eligible.
- Only UNL students enrolled full-time at UNL the semester immediately prior to the trip will be eligible.
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Carmen Kelle is an Academic Advisor in the UNL Exploratory and Pre-Professional Advising Center. She has over 22 years of international education experience, including work in Education Abroad, International Student Recruitment and Admissions, and now as an Academic Advisor working with UNL students who are undecided, pre-health, pre-law, and pre-engineering. Carmen also services as the faculty/staff advisor for the UNL Pre-Law Club, the UNL Saudi Student Association and the UNL Omani Student Association. She believes that international experiences are essential to becoming a well-rounded individual in a global society, and is excited to embark on this international experience with UNL pre-health students.
Rebecca Baskerville is currently the Director of Education Abroad at UNL. Rebecca began traveling (Spain/Morocco) and volunteering (Mexico) while in high school. As an undergraduate, she led a service learning trip to Guatemala, studied abroad in Morocco and Egypt, and organized a spring break trip for her friends to Costa Rica (including a stop in Monteverde!). Rebecca entered the professional field of international education in 2003 by interning with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Upon graduation, she spent three years implementing study abroad and exchange programs in the Middle East & North Africa for nonprofit organization AMIDEAST, and led a group of high school students to Egypt. From 2007-2011, Rebecca earned her graduate degree and served as a Small Business Development volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in Morocco. Since joining the UNL Education Abroad Office in 2011, she has visited UNL's partner institutions in China, Oman, and the UAE.
The program will begin in San Jose, Costa Rica's capital and largest city, where students will observe healthcare facilities and learn about healthcare and public health. Following this introduction to Costa Rica, students will travel to Monteverde where the Monteverde Institute (MVI) will arrange various cultural and healthcare-related experiences for students. Monteverde is a mountainous town famous for its biodiverse cloud forest! While staying with host families in Monteverde, activities will include community outreach, sessions about tropical diseases, and tours both of community health centers and surrounding ecological preserves. Lastly, students will visit the resort area of La Fortuna, famous for its Arenal Volcano.
Accommodations and Other Arrangements
INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE: All program participants will fly to and from Costa Rica as a group. Deviations from the group itinerary will not be permitted.
LODGING in COUNTRY: In Monteverde, students will be residing with local host families near the Monteverde Institute. In San Jose and La Fortuna, students will stay in shared rooms in hotels.
MEALS in COUNTRY: While in Monteverde, all meals will be included while staying with local host families. Meals will also be provided in San Jose and La Fortuna. Students should be sure to budget for meals during the round-trip flight from the U.S. to Costa Rica.
TRANSPORTATION in COUNTRY: All local transportation will be arranged by the Monteverde Institute. The majority of local transportation will be via large vans.
ACCESS to LAUNDRY FACILITIES: Students will most likely have access to a wash machine within their host family placements.
COMMUNICATION & CONNECTIVITY: WiFi is available at the Monteverde Institute and may be available at local host family placements.
DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED for TRAVEL: All U.S. citizens will need a valid passport to participate on the program. Non-U.S. citizens need to research entry requirements specific to the country of destination at the time of applying to the program. Deadline to upload passport to MyWorld: March 14, 2018 (*Date subject to change). Visitors must pay a departure tax when departing Costa Rica.
HEALTH AND MOBILITY: Participants will be asked to walk distances within both the city of Monteverde and San Jose. Students will have the opportunity for long distance hiking in a cloud forest during daytime and, possible, evening hours while in Monteverde. These opportunities will be optional. Streets within San Jose are largely smooth with some hills. Streets in the Monteverde region may be smooth, but may also be dirt roads and will be hilly. We will be visiting Costa Rica during the rainy season. Expect daily rain showers with increased humidity and temperatures. Please note students with allergies may experience some discomfort due to the hilly roads and resulting pollution in Monteverde and may choose to bring allergy medications. Recommended immunizations/medications per CDC (as of September 18, 2017) include the Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines. CDC recommends that you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Please be sure to check the CDC for additional recommended immunizations.
See the budget sheet (linked here) or clickable near the top of this page (click on "Summer") and the Fund your Experience page on the Education Abroad website.
Upon confirmation of participation, program participants will pay a $500 deposit (including a non-refundable $150 Education Abroad Fee). The $500 deposit will be applied to the final program cost balance. If a participant withdraws from a program, the participant will be responsible for any irrecoverable costs associated with the program at the time of withdrawal. The deposit payment will be due on Friday, December 15, 2018.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Please see the Education Abroad website for detailed information about financial aid and scholarships.
Below you will find links to resources for travel, health, and safety:
U.S. Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica
Costa Rican Embassy in the U.S.
U.S. Department of State: Travel
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
*UNL Education Abroad does not officially endorse, administer, or monitor the content of these links.