About 30% of University of Rochester students study abroad, and this fall, I will be one of them! From August through December, I will be in Heredia, Costa Rica studying sustainability in many forms at La Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica. Costa Rica was ranked as the greenest country in the world in 2009 and has plans to become a carbon neutral nation by 2021, so it should be a great place to study sustainability! The program is titled “Social & Environmental Change” and offers a diverse range of courses. Subject available include Spanish language and Costa Rican culture, Environmental Science, Human Rights, Biology, Business Administration, Sociology, International Relations, and Latin American Studies. All of these courses pertain to sustainability in some way.
I’ve chosen to take a Spanish language and Costa Rican culture course, a sociology course: “Human Rights in Central America: Poverty, Promise, and Possibility,” and a Business Administration course: “Sustainable Development: Integrating Community, Entrepreneurship, and Natural Resources.” The latter takes place at EARTH University, a college in Limón that plans to become carbon neutral. At the end of the semester, I will participate in a service learning assignment related to human rights. In addition to classroom learning, I will be visiting organic banana and pineapple farms, and I’ll see an active volcano!
Through IES, there are several programs through which students can study the environment. One other program I considered takes place in Quito, Ecuador. You can check out more IES programs here, or alternatively, it is possible to study abroad through a program other than IES.
Before researching my options, I was pessimistic about finding a study abroad program that would fit with my interdepartmental major, Environment and Society. If sustainability interests you or if you are on an atypical educational path, don’t be discouraged! I found that there really is a study abroad program out there for everyone if you have the interest.
Written by Melissa Kullman, class of 2014