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Heredia Courses – 2022 Spring Accelerated

Studying abroad can be a more meaningful and invigorating learning experience than at home—both inside and outside of the classroom. You may be more curious and alert than you usually are so use this heightened energy to enhance your studies as well as your cultural and geographical explorations. You may also encounter different teaching styles and course processes; be prepared to adapt and to learn.

Academics

Semester students may enroll in 12 to 18 credits per semester comprised of language courses plus electives in environmental and Latin America studies. All students must complete a minimum of one language course, although we strongly encourage students to complete an entire language track. Course availability is contingent upon student enrollment and is subject to change.

Spring Accelerated Term: During the spring semester, the Heredia program offers a collection of courses on an accelerated basis from January to mid-March. These courses are ideal for students from quarter-system universities because the dates often coincide with their winter quarter. Spring Accelerated students enroll in 8 to 12 semester credits comprised of Spanish langauge plus two or three elective courses in Latin American studies, biology, and environmental science.

Click the course title to view course details and description.

Spanish Language Tracks

USAC offers intensive language courses grouped into tracks in which courses are taught sequentially (back to back) within one semester. If you have already taken the first course in a track, you do not have to take it again for credit, but you must audit it to be prepared for success at the next level. Language courses are small and typically have a maximum enrollment of 15 students each.

Track I: 14 credits

Prerequisite: None

  1. Elementary Spanish I
  2. Elementary Spanish II
  3. Intermediate Spanish I
  4. Intermediate Spanish II

Track II: 12 credits

Prerequisite: 2 semesters of college Spanish

  1. Intermediate Spanish I
  2. Intermediate Spanish II
  3. Spanish Composition I
  4. Spanish Composition II

Track III: 9 credits

Prerequisite: 4 semesters of college Spanish

  1. Spanish Composition I
  2. Spanish Composition II
  3. Advanced Spanish I

Track IV: 6 credits

Prerequisite: 6 semesters of college Spanish

  1. Advanced Spanish I
  2. Advanced Spanish II

      Language Courses

      • Fall
        Spanish 100-level 4 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 100-level 4 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 100-level 4 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course is designed to help learners of Spanish to develop basic communicative competence and critical thinking skills. It offers an intensive study and practice of the productive and receptive language skills in the oral and written modes. The main emphasis of this track is on communication and, therefore, class attendance is essential.

      • Fall
        Spanish 100-level 4 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 100-level 4 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 100-level 4 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course is designed to help learners of Spanish to develop basic communicative competence and critical thinking skills. It offers an intensive study and practice of the productive and receptive language skills in the oral and written modes. The main emphasis of this track is on communication and, therefore, class attendance is essential.

        Prerequisite: one semester of college Spanish.

      • Fall
        Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        Students will learn to narrate in the main timeframes and use the subjunctive mood in the correct contexts. This course will also focuse on writing, familiarizing the student with the conventions of different types of written genres, such as descriptions, narrations in emails, blogs or journal articles, formal and informal letters, and expository academic essays.

        Prerequisite: two semesters of college Spanish.

      • Fall
        Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        Students will learn to narrate in the main timeframes and use the subjunctive mood in the correct contexts. This course will also focuse on writing, familiarizing the student with the conventions of different types of written genres, such as descriptions, narrations in emails, blogs or journal articles, formal and informal letters, and expository academic essays.

        Prerequisite: three semesters of college Spanish.

      • Fall
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        The focus of this course is to improve learners´ written abilities through the analysis and the production of different types of texts. In addition, several grammatical topics will be reviewed in order to enhance and refine the learners´ grammatical competence.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish.

      • Fall
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        The focus of this course is to improve learners´ written abilities through the analysis and the production of different types of texts. In addition, several grammatical topics will be reviewed in order to enhance and refine the learners´ grammatical competence.

        Prerequisite: five semesters of college Spanish.

      • Fall
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        These two advanced courses of Spanish have been designed for students who may manage in daily tasks and interactions, but still need to improve their control over different oral and written registers. In addition, these courses will offer them the opportunity to enhance their vocabulary in specific and technical areas, and to improve grammatical accuracy in their oral and written expression.

        Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        These two advanced courses of Spanish have been designed for students who may manage in daily tasks and interactions, but still need to improve their control over different oral and written registers. In addition, these courses will offer them the opportunity to enhance their vocabulary in specific and technical areas, and to improve grammatical accuracy in their oral and written expression.

        Prerequisite: seven semesters of college Spanish.

      Fall Semester

      Language and Literature Electives

      • Fall
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course is an advanced Spanish elective designed to develop students’ written communication and expression skills and to increase Spanish reading and writing proficiency. The highly collaborative classroom environment will also encourage students to ask and answer questions and discuss topics, all while building Spanish language competency and confidence.

        Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        Optional three-credit course that is designed for students who would like to broaden their knowledge of Spanish in health care situations. The course merges grammar and specialized medical terminology needed to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients in a variety of simulated medical situations, which doctors, technicians, nurses, and EMTs, among others, may experience. Students will gain a vast knowledge of medical Spanish terminology, cultural aspects of medicine, and a confidence in using Spanish both spoken and written.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course will help students with the development of linguistic competences and oral skills.

        This course is taught at the beginner and intermediate levels.

        Beginner Prerequisite: two semesters of college Spanish

        Intermediate Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course includes an overview of some of the leading Spanish-American literary works written from pre-Columbian times to the late nineteenth century. Among these works are: native American voices, the chronicles of the conquest, colonial literature, literature of the enlightenment and romanticism.

        During the course, we will make a brief study of these works and their authors: Mayas, Aztecas, Incas, Cristóbal Colón, Las Casas, El Inca Gracilaso, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, José Fernández de Lizardi, Esteban Echeverría y Ricardo Palma. We also take a look at the historical context in which the various works were developed. This study is carried out through reading comprehension, analysis, discussion and investigation of different literary texts, poems and short stories of Latin American literature before the twentieth century.

        Este curso comprende una visión panorámica de algunas de las principales obras literarias hispanoamericanas escritas desde la época precolombina hasta finales del siglo XIX. Entre estas obras tenemos: Voces amerindias, Las crónicas de la conquista, Literatura colonial, Literatura de la Ilustración y el Romanticismo

        Durante el curso realizaremos un estudio somero de estas obras y de sus respectivos autores: Mayas, Aztecas, Incas, Cristóbal Colón, Las Casas, El Inca Gracilaso, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, José Fernández de Lizardi, Esteban Echeverría y Ricardo Palma. También echamos un vistazo al contexto historico en el cual las diferentes obras se desarrollaron. Dicho estudio se lleva a cabo a través de la comprensión de lectura, el análisis, la discusión y la investigación de diferentes textos literarios, poemas y cuentos de la literatura hispanoamericana anterior al siglo XX.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish Theater 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course explores the historical development of theater in Latin America in the twentieth century. Students will focus on dramatic texts to examine their influence on theatrical activity in Latin American culture. Students are expected to evaluate the theoretical and historical contexts of theater in Latin America.

        Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish

      Latin American and Ecological Studies

      • Fall
        Geography 300-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Geography 300-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Geography 300-level 3 credits Taught in English

        This course aims to analyze fundamental aspects of climate dynamics, global warming, and their impacts on societies across the globe. As heavy rainfall in the tropics dictates how landscapes are formed and shaped, Global Warming is changing the building blocks of our societies. This class combines scientific evidence and social perspectives to analyze how people is mitigating and adapting to global changes, for example: climate-induced migrations, changes in agricultural practices, clean energy production, and social media networking and information.

        Classes will combine 3-hour lectures (once a week). Lessons will generally include an introduction to fundamental climate concepts followed by group discussion of climate change impacts and mitigation/adaptation challenges around the globe.

      • Fall
        Dance 100-level 1 credit Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Dance 100-level 1 credit Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Dance 100-level 1 credit Taught in Spanish

        Students will physically connect with Latin American culture through dance and music. This course will cover traditional dances such as Cha-Cha, Son, Bolero, Merengue, Salsa, Guaracha, and Cumbia. Students will also improve Spanish language and vocabulary as it pertains to dance commands.

      • Fall
        Political Science 400-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Fall
        Political Science 600-level 3 credits Taught in English

        This course presents a comparative analysis of the local, national, and international dynamics of Latin American politics during the twentieth century and the first decades of the twenty-first century.

        Although the focus of the course is the contemporary political processes of the region, an overview of colonial and post-independence history is provided in order to understand the historical evolution of these societies.

        Special emphasis is given to recent developments such as the effects of the Cold War and the influence of US foreign policy in the region. Issues of (under-)development, migrations, political violence, human and civil rights are also studied, as well as recent theoretical and societal trends such as governance, minority movements, neoliberalism, and the challenges of “Presidentialism.”

        Prerequisite: one semester of college-level political science

      • Fall
        Biology 200-level 3 credits Taught in English

        This course provides students the foundational knowledge for understanding the biological, chemical, and physical characteristics of tropical environments with emphasis on ecological processes. Students will spend time in the field and complete a case study as a part of this course. The purpose of each activity is to encourage young adults to become environmentally conscious and promote the maintenance of fragile ecosystems around the world.

      • Fall
        Biology 200-level 1 credit Taught in English

        This field study offers the students the opportunity to have direct contact with tropical organisms, the ecosystems in which these organisms are, as well as apply concepts seen during the Introduction to Tropical Ecology course; therefore, this field study is only for students attending the aforementioned course.

        A one-day trip and an overnight trip will be programmed. A fee is charged to help pay for transportation, entrance fees, guides, lodging and some meals. The trips involve mostly hiking for considerable time, so proper outfit and disposition are required.

        Co-requisite: Introduction to Tropical Ecology.

        This course has an additional fee.

      • Fall
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Fall
        Anthropology History Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Anthropology History Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Anthropology History Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        200-level course:

        This course provides an overview of those cultural patterns that define what we call “Latin American Civilization”. The different Latin American regions will be analyzed giving special emphasis to the Costa Rican culture. The course provides an introduction to these cultures, first from a historical point of view and then from a more contemporary perspective. Particular emphasis will be given to present day Costa Rica’s way of life, education, gender, traditions, religion and other cultural manifestations.

        300-level course:

        This course covers the history of cultures in the Americas from pre-Columbian societies to our contemporary nations. In order to get an overview about their history, we have considered developing the course through five thematic units: Pre-Columbian America,

        Conquest and Colonization of the XVI - XVII and XVII Centuries, From the Colony to the Republic, The transformations of the global economy, during the X-XI-XII centuries, Politics and Society in Latin America during the centuries XIII-XIV-XV

        Este curso comprende la historia de las culturas del continente americano, desde las sociedades precolombinas hasta nuestras naciones contemporáneas. Con el propósito de lograr una visión de conjunto del devenir histórico de ellas, hemos considerado desarrollar el curso a través de cinco unidades temáticas: América Precolombina, Conquista y Colonización de los siglos XVI – XVII y XVIII, De colonias a Repúblicas, Las transformaciones de la economía mundial en los siglos X-XI-XII, Política y Sociedad en América Latina en los siglos XIII-XIV-XV.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 1 credit Taught in English
        Spring
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 1 credit Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 1 credit Taught in English

        Students will travel to two sites in Costa Rica to experience topics studied in the lecture course. Students will explore topics including contemporary society, education, the role of gender, traditions, religion, and other cultural manifestations.

        Fees will cover transportation, entrance fees, guides, lodging, and limited meals.

      • Fall
        Nutrition 200-level 1 credit Taught in English/Spanish
        Spring
        Nutrition 200-level 1 credit Taught in English/Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Nutrition 200-level 1 credit Taught in English/Spanish

        An introduction to a local cuisine in a hands-on kitchen environment. Authentic preparations of several local dishes will be taught. Correct cooking techniques are emphasized. Readings and lectures on local food customs and traditions will support and contextualize the cooking instruction. Students will learn about Latin American culture, and practice conversing and following instructions in the Spanish language.

        Dietary restrictions may not be accommodated.

        This course has an additional fee for materials.

      • Fall
        Biology 200-level 3 credits Taught in English

        Plants and people have a long history of coexistence and have intertwined roles and consequences throughout the progression of life. Students will evaluate, analyze, and explain the human way of life developed over centuries of adaptation. The focus will be on the production and consumption of plants in Costa Rica.

      • Fall
        Biology 200-level 1 credit Taught in English

        This field study is designed to complement what is offered on the Plants and People course, therefore only students attending the aforementioned course will be able to attend the field study component. The field study aims to give the students a real-life experience on the relationship between people and plants, covering the social, economical and spiritual components of this relationship.

        A one-day trip and an overnight trip will be programmed. A fee is charged to help pay for transportation, entrance fees, guides, lodging and some meals. The trips involve hiking, so proper outfit and disposition are required, as well as attending to short lectures from local people on the usage and importance of plants in the places we visit.

        Co-requisite: Plants and People.

        This course has an additional fee.

      • Fall
        Art 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course will explore the cultural history of human occupation before the first American contact with Europeans. Students will develop a theoretical foundation to effectively analyze works of art and evaluate how characteristics of pre-Columbian culture influenced artists of the time. This course will also cover topics related to antiquity of man in America and their artistic intellectual achievements.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Biology Geography 300-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Biology Geography 300-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Biology Geography 300-level 3 credits Taught in English

        In this course, students will study the unique topographic features of Costa Rica, from the high cordilleras on the Pacific coast to the Caribbean lowlands through a series of lectures and field visits. Topics covered include the tropical hydrological cycle, hydrological metrics, tropical biomes, and ecohydrological processes in tropical landscapes.

      • Fall
        Biology Geography Natural Resources 300-level 1 credit Taught in English
        Spring
        Biology Geography Natural Resources 300-level 1 credit Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Biology Geography Natural Resources 300-level 1 credit Taught in English

        Two field trips to different places in Costa Rica in order to illustrate topics that are studied in class lectures such as tropical hydrological cycle, hydrological metrics, tropical biomes, and ecohydrology processes in a tropical landscape.

        One day field trip to Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge (http://www.cerrodantas.co.cr/index-en.html). This place is an excellent example of the Caribbean-type ecosystems of Costa Rica, dominated by high rainfall amounts year-round.

        Two day field trip to Tárcoles River Basin lowlands, including a visit to a Pacific-type transition rainforest, Carara National Park (http://www.sinac.go.cr/EN-US/ac/acopac/pnc/Pages/default.aspx). The idea of this field trip is to analyze the effects of land and urban management needs in tropical developing countries in order to preserve ecosystem connectivity.

        Co-requisite: Water in Tropical Landscapes.

        This course has an additional fee.

      • Fall
        Spanish Women's Studies / Gender Studies 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish Women's Studies / Gender Studies 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish Women's Studies / Gender Studies 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course taught in Spanish is designed for students who would like to broaden their knowledge of writings by Latin American (from Colonial times until present) women. The course explores how these writers were shaped by their social and cultural surroundings as well as how their writing redefined or are still shaping their cultural and social worlds. The course is primarily centered around women’s literary productions (prose and poetry), but it is not solely about women, since it is imperative to understand "womanhood" as a relational category. Thus, we will explore how gender ideologies affected the meaning and experiences of "manhood" as well as "womanhood." The aim of the course is to compare and contrast the experiences of different groups of women according to factors such as historical period, race, and class. The course analyzes the meaning of gender and how it has motivated women to become writers. Students must prepare for class every week and read carefully. Class debate will be centered ion on discussions of issues, questions, relationships, concepts, and approaches, not in a mere presentation of facts. We will use a wide range of primary and secondary sources in order to gain a greater understanding of the complexities of gender in Latin America.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      Spring Semester/Accelerated Spring Term

      Courses available during the Spring Accelerated term are identified in the dropdown menu.

      Language and Literature Electives

      • Fall
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course is an advanced Spanish elective designed to develop students’ written communication and expression skills and to increase Spanish reading and writing proficiency. The highly collaborative classroom environment will also encourage students to ask and answer questions and discuss topics, all while building Spanish language competency and confidence.

        Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish

      • Spring
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        The use of Spanish in a business environment involves using variables as language develops in specific contexts. Thus, the dynamics in this course will enrich vocabulary within specific semantic fields related to business methods and therefore will be essential to student's immersion in public spaces in commercial transactions.

        El uso del español en un ámbito comercial involucra variables de uso en tanto se desarrolla el lenguaje en contextos específicos. Así, la dinámica en este curso pretende enriquecer el léxico dentro de campos semánticos específicos relacionados con modos comerciales y por esta razón será fundamental la inmersión del estudiante en espacios públicos de transacciones comerciales.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course will help students with the development of linguistic competences and oral skills.

        This course is taught at the beginner and intermediate levels.

        Beginner Prerequisite: two semesters of college Spanish

        Intermediate Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Spring
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        Systematic revision of the most important authors of the 20th century starting from the period of the Latin American Vanguard (20´s). The texts selected point towards showing the aesthetic tendencies as well as formal and ideological components that characterize each of the works produced by the following authors: Vicente Huidobro, Alejo Carpentier, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Marquez, Gabriela Mistral, Juan Rulfo, Julio Cortázar, Pablo Neruda and Vargas Llosa among others. Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish. Taught in Spanish.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Spring
        Art Film Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Art Film Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        The course offers a critical historical review of cinema in Latin America. Students will evaluate the development of Latin American society, identify its colonial heritage, and explain how it influenced modern society.

        Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish

      • Spring
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This is an overview of some key Hispanic literary works written in the late nineteenth and twentieth century. Novel, as a complex genre, requires the assimilation of basic concepts of literary theory and its role in society. Later on, we will have critical analysis of samples of the Latin American novel of the Twentieth Century that develop several conflicts in the following dynamics: economic, social, political, gender, among others.

        Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish

      Latin American and Ecological Studies

      • Fall
        Geography 300-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Geography 300-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Geography 300-level 3 credits Taught in English

        This course aims to analyze fundamental aspects of climate dynamics, global warming, and their impacts on societies across the globe. As heavy rainfall in the tropics dictates how landscapes are formed and shaped, Global Warming is changing the building blocks of our societies. This class combines scientific evidence and social perspectives to analyze how people is mitigating and adapting to global changes, for example: climate-induced migrations, changes in agricultural practices, clean energy production, and social media networking and information.

        Classes will combine 3-hour lectures (once a week). Lessons will generally include an introduction to fundamental climate concepts followed by group discussion of climate change impacts and mitigation/adaptation challenges around the globe.

      • Fall
        Dance 100-level 1 credit Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Dance 100-level 1 credit Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Dance 100-level 1 credit Taught in Spanish

        Students will physically connect with Latin American culture through dance and music. This course will cover traditional dances such as Cha-Cha, Son, Bolero, Merengue, Salsa, Guaracha, and Cumbia. Students will also improve Spanish language and vocabulary as it pertains to dance commands.

      • Spring
        Political Science 400-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Political Science 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

        This course presents and analyzes the economic development and discussion of the political, economic, commercial and financial issues from the point of view of contemporary institutions and specific countries. Due to the interdependency created by globalization, we will study the relationships between North and South as well as West and East. We will focus on Central American and Latin American relations to US political economy in the recent past.

      • Spring
        Biology 200-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Biology 200-level 3 credits Taught in English

        This course is intended to give students a firsthand knowledge of conservation biology. It does so in the context of an intensive foreign study tour in Costa Rica.

        We will discuss definitions, values, threats, and approaches to conservation of biodiversity. Although this is a conservation biology course, we will also be examining the social, economic, and political aspects of conservation, as well our own personal roles in using and protecting biodiversity and our environment.

      • Spring
        Biology 200-level 1 credit Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Biology 200-level 1 credit Taught in English

        This field study offers the opportunity to have a hands-on experience on the challenges faced by individuals and institutions concerning the conservation of biodiversity in Costa Rica. The field study is only for students attending the Introduction to Conservation Biology Course.

        A one-day trip and an overnight trip will be programmed. A fee is charged to help pay for transportation, entrance fees, guides, lodging and some meals. The trips involve hiking, so proper outfit and disposition are required, as well attending to short lectures on conservation biology by local people involved in conservation efforts.

        We will discuss definitions, values, threats, and approaches to conservation of biodiversity. As it is inevitable for conservation biology, we will examine the social, economic, and political context in the places we visit.

        Co-requisite: Introduction to Conservation Biology.

        This course has an additional fee.

      • Spring
        Biology 200-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Biology 200-level 3 credits Taught in English

        Students will learn extensively about the world of tropical plants. The world has around 350,000 species of vascular plants and the tropics represent around two-thirds of this diversity. The course will cover the basic principles of plant classification and the appropriate terminology to identify flowering plants.

        Plants are key components of terrestrial ecosystems. They shape environments and offer resources to many organisms. Students will examine many well-known and economically important plants such as sugar cane, bananas, cocoa, coffee, Manihot and yam.

        The course will combine the capacity to identify main tropical plant groups with the knowledge about their relevance in natural environments and their importance in our daily lives as a source of an unimaginable quantity of products.

      • Spring
        Biology 200-level 1 credit Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Biology 200-level 1 credit Taught in English

        This field study is designed to provide practical experience in plant identification using the tools of classification and identification, and gaining a real world experience in plant identification. Field work will provide practice and experience in data accumulation, specimen collection and preparation, identification of major taxa, and use of identification resources. The field study is only for students attending the Introduction to Tropical Plant Biodiversity.

        A one-day trip and an overnight trip will be programmed. A fee is charged to help pay for transportation, entrance fees, guides, lodging and some meals. The trips involve hiking, so proper outfit and disposition are required.

        Co-requisite: Introduction to Tropical Plant Biodiversity.

        This course has an additional fee.

      • Fall
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Fall
        Anthropology History Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Anthropology History Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Anthropology History Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        200-level course:

        This course provides an overview of those cultural patterns that define what we call “Latin American Civilization”. The different Latin American regions will be analyzed giving special emphasis to the Costa Rican culture. The course provides an introduction to these cultures, first from a historical point of view and then from a more contemporary perspective. Particular emphasis will be given to present day Costa Rica’s way of life, education, gender, traditions, religion and other cultural manifestations.

        300-level course:

        This course covers the history of cultures in the Americas from pre-Columbian societies to our contemporary nations. In order to get an overview about their history, we have considered developing the course through five thematic units: Pre-Columbian America,

        Conquest and Colonization of the XVI - XVII and XVII Centuries, From the Colony to the Republic, The transformations of the global economy, during the X-XI-XII centuries, Politics and Society in Latin America during the centuries XIII-XIV-XV

        Este curso comprende la historia de las culturas del continente americano, desde las sociedades precolombinas hasta nuestras naciones contemporáneas. Con el propósito de lograr una visión de conjunto del devenir histórico de ellas, hemos considerado desarrollar el curso a través de cinco unidades temáticas: América Precolombina, Conquista y Colonización de los siglos XVI – XVII y XVIII, De colonias a Repúblicas, Las transformaciones de la economía mundial en los siglos X-XI-XII, Política y Sociedad en América Latina en los siglos XIII-XIV-XV.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 1 credit Taught in English
        Spring
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 1 credit Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 1 credit Taught in English

        Students will travel to two sites in Costa Rica to experience topics studied in the lecture course. Students will explore topics including contemporary society, education, the role of gender, traditions, religion, and other cultural manifestations.

        Fees will cover transportation, entrance fees, guides, lodging, and limited meals.

      • Fall
        Nutrition 200-level 1 credit Taught in English/Spanish
        Spring
        Nutrition 200-level 1 credit Taught in English/Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Nutrition 200-level 1 credit Taught in English/Spanish

        An introduction to a local cuisine in a hands-on kitchen environment. Authentic preparations of several local dishes will be taught. Correct cooking techniques are emphasized. Readings and lectures on local food customs and traditions will support and contextualize the cooking instruction. Students will learn about Latin American culture, and practice conversing and following instructions in the Spanish language.

        Dietary restrictions may not be accommodated.

        This course has an additional fee for materials.

      • Spring
        Art Art History 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Art Art History 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course offers an overview of the socio-political Spanish irradiation in America. Spain conquered and subdued the native American villages and drove out their cultural manifestations bringing with it a new civilization. Nevertheless, its most distinctive characteristic turned into the survival of plenty of elements and traditions of pre-Columbian cultures and the mixture of Iberian characteristics that ended up into the miscegenation.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Biology Geography 300-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Biology Geography 300-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Biology Geography 300-level 3 credits Taught in English

        In this course, students will study the unique topographic features of Costa Rica, from the high cordilleras on the Pacific coast to the Caribbean lowlands through a series of lectures and field visits. Topics covered include the tropical hydrological cycle, hydrological metrics, tropical biomes, and ecohydrological processes in tropical landscapes.

      • Fall
        Biology Geography Natural Resources 300-level 1 credit Taught in English
        Spring
        Biology Geography Natural Resources 300-level 1 credit Taught in English
        Spring Accelerated
        Biology Geography Natural Resources 300-level 1 credit Taught in English

        Two field trips to different places in Costa Rica in order to illustrate topics that are studied in class lectures such as tropical hydrological cycle, hydrological metrics, tropical biomes, and ecohydrology processes in a tropical landscape.

        One day field trip to Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge (http://www.cerrodantas.co.cr/index-en.html). This place is an excellent example of the Caribbean-type ecosystems of Costa Rica, dominated by high rainfall amounts year-round.

        Two day field trip to Tárcoles River Basin lowlands, including a visit to a Pacific-type transition rainforest, Carara National Park (http://www.sinac.go.cr/EN-US/ac/acopac/pnc/Pages/default.aspx). The idea of this field trip is to analyze the effects of land and urban management needs in tropical developing countries in order to preserve ecosystem connectivity.

        Co-requisite: Water in Tropical Landscapes.

        This course has an additional fee.

      • Fall
        Spanish Women's Studies / Gender Studies 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish Women's Studies / Gender Studies 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring Accelerated
        Spanish Women's Studies / Gender Studies 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course taught in Spanish is designed for students who would like to broaden their knowledge of writings by Latin American (from Colonial times until present) women. The course explores how these writers were shaped by their social and cultural surroundings as well as how their writing redefined or are still shaping their cultural and social worlds. The course is primarily centered around women’s literary productions (prose and poetry), but it is not solely about women, since it is imperative to understand "womanhood" as a relational category. Thus, we will explore how gender ideologies affected the meaning and experiences of "manhood" as well as "womanhood." The aim of the course is to compare and contrast the experiences of different groups of women according to factors such as historical period, race, and class. The course analyzes the meaning of gender and how it has motivated women to become writers. Students must prepare for class every week and read carefully. Class debate will be centered ion on discussions of issues, questions, relationships, concepts, and approaches, not in a mere presentation of facts. We will use a wide range of primary and secondary sources in order to gain a greater understanding of the complexities of gender in Latin America.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      To request a course syllabus: syllabus@usac.edu

      Field Studies

      Optional field studies are an excellent way to deepen your academic experience abroad. During your 1-credit field study course, you will participate in carefully planned excursions that allow you to explore the cultural, historical, and natural features of Costa Rica. These overnight field experiences, combined with required academic components such as readings, research, and written assignments, will increase your understanding of the sites and locales visited.

      As an experiential learning method, optional field studies complement the larger academic program and provide you with opportunities to learn in new ways, to gain hands-on experience, and to connect your classroom learning to the world around you.

      Optional field studies have an additional fee and are subject to meeting minimum enrollment requirements to run.

      Internships

      USAC in-person and virtual internships are rich resources for your academic and professional development. Whether onsite or virtually, you will work closely with a USAC Resident Director (RD), an internship coordinator, and a professional supervisor to gain valuable experience and skills that can be applied to your chosen career field. Internships are also a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of Costa Rica, deepen your cross-cultural understanding, and help you develop intercultural communication and language skills in an internationally focused organization or other professional work setting.

      Among the many benefits of an internship experience, USAC in-person and virtual internships help you

      • Learn about a career that matches your academic and personal interests
      • Gain practical, hands-on experience
      • Master highly sought-after soft skills such as time management, teamwork, and problem solving
      • Build a network of professional contacts
      • Improve your resume
      • Cultivate intercultural communication skills that are essential in a globalized workforce
      • Develop an understanding of the workplace norms, expectations, and culture of Costa Rica

      For eligibility requirements and application information, see the USAC internship page.

      For more information about placement options, see the Heredia internship page.

      Quick Details

      2021-22 App. Cycle

      Summer Session II (4 weeks): Open

      Fall/Yearlong: Open

      Spring: Open

      Spring Accelerated: Open

      2022-23 App. Cycle

      Summer Sessions: Opens 9/1
      Fall/Yearlong: Opens 9/1
      Spring/Spring Accelerated: Opens 9/1

      Eligibility

      Preferred GPA: 2.5

      Program Type

      Specialty

      Credits

      US Credit

      Program Capacity

      65 students

      Instruction

      English | Spanish

      Passport & Visa

      Passport & Visa Information