Puntarenas, Costa Rica
USAC
1-866-404-USAC 1-775-784-6569 1-775-784-6010 studyabroad@usac.edu

Puntarenas Courses - 2020-21 Yearlong

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

You will enroll in 12 to 18 credits per semester comprised of a language track plus electives in literature and language, Latin American studies and ecology. Course availability is contingent upon student enrollment and is subject to change.

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 total)—Prerequisite: none

Track II (12 credits total)—Prerequisite: two semesters of college Spanish

Track III (9 credits total)—Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

Track IV (6 credits total)—Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish

Fall Semester

Language and Literature Electives

Taught in Spanish

Latin American and Ecological Studies

Courses are taught in English unless noted in Spanish; courses taught in Spanish are for students in Track III or above unless otherwise indicated.

Spring Semester

Language and Literature Electives

Taught in Spanish

Latin American and Ecological Studies

Courses are taught in English unless noted in Spanish; courses taught in Spanish are for students in Track III or above unless otherwise indicated.

To request a course syllabus: syllabus@usac.edu

Internships

USAC internships are rich resources for your academic and professional development. Students are placed in a Spanish-speaking environment, with high exposure to culture and language, and must be able to communicate at an advanced language level. Interns earn credits but no financial compensation. The schedule and the number of work hours will be determined by the schedule of USAC courses.

Puntarenas internship opportunities fall into broad categories; previous placements have included: the Marine Biological Station, local schools, or teaching/tutoring English. Other internship sites are possible. Placement is not guaranteed by USAC, rather it will be determined by your application and supporting materials and an interview onsite with the internship sponsor.

Eligibility: enrollment in the Puntarenas program, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and junior standing at the time of the internship. A refundable fee of $200 is charged and returned upon successful completion of the internship.

Visiting Professors

Local faculty teach most USAC courses; however, the following US professors are also teaching as Visiting Professors.

Spring Semester:

Dr. Angelina Castagno | Northern Arizona University

Courses offered:

Dr. Castagno’s teaching and research focus on equity and diversity in U.S. schools, and particularly issues of whiteness and Indigenous education. She is a former Director of Ethnic Studies, and the current Director of the Diné Institute for Navajo Nation Educators. She enjoys exploring the outdoors, running, and mountain biking with her family.

Course Descriptions

Advanced Spanish I

Fall (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)

This advanced level course of Spanish has been designed for students who have completed three years of Spanish and although they may manage in completing daily tasks and interactions, they still need to improve their control over different oral and written registers. In addition, this course offers the students the opportunity to enhance their vocabulary in specific and technical areas, and to improve their grammatical accuracy in oral and written production.

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Advanced Spanish II

Fall (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)

Advanced Spanish II (SPN 411) has been designed for students who have completed more than three years of Spanish and although they may manage in daily tasks and interactions, they still need to improve their control over different oral and written registers. In addition, this course will offer them the opportunity to enhance the coherence and cohesion of their production, and to improve their grammatical accuracy.

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Advanced Spanish Writing and Stylistics

Fall (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course is designed as a writing workshop for students with an advanced-superior level of Spanish. Its final goal is that the student develops personal and effective writing strategies. The composing process is broken down into different stages: an analysis of the communicative situation, brain storming, idea organization, composing, proofreading, editing and evaluating.

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Business Spanish

Spring (Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)

The objective of this course is to enable students to develop competence in an area which normally does not constitute a part of language learning. You will become familiar with the terminology and syntax of the world of economics, business administration, markets and related topics, in order to enable you to communicate correctly in the target language. Business writing, correspondence, oral and written translation of business related material is also practiced. Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish. Taught in Spanish. (Spring semester)

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Dances of Latin America

Fall (Dance; 100-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Dance; 100-level; 1 credit)

The Latin American Dances class is addressed to those students who enjoy dancing and want to learn how to relate traditional Latin American dances like “Cha chachá”, “Son”, “Bolero” “Merengue”, “Salsa”, “Guaracha”, “Cumbia” and so on. At the same time, the students have the chance to practice Spanish and become more acquainted with the Latin American culture.

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Elementary Spanish I

Fall (Spanish; 100-level; 4 credits)
Spring (Spanish; 100-level; 4 credits)

Elementary Spanish I is a four-credit language course offered to students who are enrolled in USAC and have not taken any Spanish courses at college-level before. This course is designed to help non-native speakers of Spanish to acquire basic communicative competence by providing the opportunities to develop the basic skills of a language: listening, speaking, interacting, reading and writing. The main emphasis of this course is on communication and, therefore, class attendance is essential.

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Elementary Spanish II

Fall (Spanish; 100-level; 4 credits)
Spring (Spanish; 100-level; 4 credits)

Elementary Spanish II is a four-credit language course offered to students who are enrolled in USAC and have taken one course of Spanish at college-level or its equivalent before. This course is designed to help non-native speakers of Spanish to acquire basic communicative competence. It provides opportunities for the development of the basic skills of a language: listening, speaking, interacting, reading and writing. The main emphasis of this course is on communication and, therefore, class attendance is essential.

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Forest Ecology

Spring (Biology, Ecology, Natural Resources; 400-level; 3 credits)

Forest ecology is the study of forest ecosystems, their biotic and abiotic components, and the theories and tools used to understand these types of ecosystems. Forest ecology encompasses a community of trees and other plant and non-plant species, as well as ecosystem processes. The field of forest ecology considers topics such as forest disturbances and succession, tree recruitment, tree growth and mortality, biogeochemical cycles of elements like carbon and nitrogen, soils, climate, and weather as well as water and energy balances and forest sustainability and conservation. This course will explore the theories and principles of forest ecology as a framework for understanding forest ecosystems and forest ecosystems changes. It will also review important processes that influence the structure and function of forest and the influence of anthropogenic and natural disturbances on forest ecosystems. Throughout the course, we will discuss and apply course concepts to local Costa Rican forests.

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Government and Politics in Latin America

Fall (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

A comparative analysis of the constitutional foundations, governmental institutions and changing political ideas, processes and group dynamics in selected Latin American countries including Costa Rica.

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Hospitality and Tourism Marketing

Fall (Marketing, Tourism / Hospitality; 300-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Marketing, Tourism / Hospitality; 300-level; 3 credits)

Successful marketing requires keen attention to detail, understanding nuances, and effective communication. Service industries often face challenges addressing consumers because they offer experiences rather than tangible objects. Sportfishing, nature walks, mangroves, bioluminescence, and surfing are some services that face such challenges.

Throughout the course, students will learn how marketing expertise is applied to services in the hospitality and tourism industries. Students will also become acquainted with current practices for attracting new customers and building customer loyalty through a variety of delivery methods such as multi-media, lectures, field trips, and guest speakers.

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Intermediate Spanish I

Fall (Spanish; 200-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Spanish; 200-level; 3 credits)

Intermediate Spanish I is a three-credit course offered to students who have completed a year of college Spanish or its equivalent. In this course, the students will learn to narrate in the main time-frames, as well as to recognize the different uses of the subjunctive mood in the expression of different degrees of certainty, of wishes and of advices.

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Intermediate Spanish II

Fall (Spanish; 200-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Spanish; 200-level; 3 credits)

Intermediate II is a course designed for students who have completed a year and a half of college Spanish or its equivalent and want to learn how to use the language with increasing syntactic complexity and grammatical accuracy, paying special attention to the change of time-frames, as well as the expression of hypothesis and different degrees of certainty.

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International Political Economy: North-South Relations

Fall (Economics, Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

Theories of Third World development emphasizing the role of the state will be covered with a special focus on the relationship between the state and national/international corporations. A discussion of selected current and future political-economic issues dealing with aspects such as North-South relations with particular emphasis on Latin America. Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish. Taught in Spanish. (Fall semester)

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Introduction to Conservation Biology

Fall (Biology; 200-level; 3 credits)

One of the greatest treasures of our world is the diversity of life forms produced through billions of years of biological evolution. This diversity of life forms can be appreciated at various levels of organization. Human impact has affected this diversity of life forms and as a result some groups have been reduced in recent times or have been driven to extinction. This course emphasizes the value of biodiversity and conservation measures that have been implemented mainly in Costa Rica.

In this course, students will be introduced to the principles of conservation and learn how to analyze controversial topics within the field. This course will cover the theory and application of scientific principles to the preservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of natural resources. Local and global issues are addressed.

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Introduction to Conservation Biology Field Study

Fall (Biology; 200-level; 1 credit)

One of the greatest treasures of our world is the diversity of life forms produced through billions of years of biological evolution. This diversity of life forms can be appreciated at various levels of organization. Human impact has affected this diversity of life forms and as a result some groups have been reduced in recent times or have been driven to extinction. This course emphasizes the value of biodiversity and conservation measures that have been implemented mainly in Costa Rica.

In this course, students will be introduced to the principles of conservation and learn how to analyze controversial topics within the field. This course will cover the theory and application of scientific principles to the preservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of natural resources. Local and global issues are addressed.

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Introduction to Tropical Marine Biology

Spring (Biology; 200-level; 3 credits)

The oceans occupy about seventy one percent of the Earth’s surface and tropical seas hold the highest ecosystem and species diversity on it. This course will introduce the basic concepts of tropical oceanography, marine geology, marine ecology and marine biology, with emphasis on the interaction between species, between species and their environment and between ecosystems. Students will also learn about human environmental impact, and the utility, management and conservation of the ecosystems. This course includes field trips involving firsthand contact with the marine environment and coastal population.

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Introduction to Tropical Marine Biology Field Study

Spring (Biology; 200-level; 1 credit)

This field study course consists of three field trips to different habitats. (One day field trip and two overnight field trips). The objectives of these visits are to better understand the topics covered in the lectures such as: General Oceanography, Tropical Oceans, Coral Reefs, Mangrove Ecosystems, Grass Bed Ecosystems, Invertebrates and Tropical Marine Conservation. A fee of $200 is charged to help pay for transportation, entrance fees, ecology guides, lodging in biological reserves or national parks and some meals.

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Latin America and its Cultures

Fall (Anthropology, History, Spanish; 200-level; 3 credits)
Fall (Anthropology, History, Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Anthropology, History, Spanish; 200-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Anthropology, History, Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course is a introduction to Latin American cultures from a historic point of view, as well as in contemporary societies: indigenous, religion, cinema, clothing, food, family, music, women's roles, politics, economy, environment, etc. The course studies the case of Costa Rica and its culture, but also emphasizes other countries such as: Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Haiti and Dominican Republic.

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Latin America and its Cultures Field Study

Fall (Anthropology, History, Spanish; 200-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Anthropology, History, Spanish; 200-level; 1 credit)

Three field trips to different places in Costa Rica in order to illustrate topics that are studied in class, .such as contemporary society, education, the role of gender, traditions, religion, and other cultural manifestations. A fee of $200 is charged to help pay for transportation, entrance fees, guides, lodging and some meals. Concurrent enrollment in Latin America and its Cultures or previous completion of an equivalent culture course is required

One day first trip to a sugar and a coffee plantation, a traditional sugar mill and a coffee processing plant in the area of San Ramón, Alajuela. One day second trip to San Lucas Island or Island of Lonely Men, a famous former Penitentiary of Costa Rica in The Gulf of Nicoya.Fishing, mangroves, congos, swimming, culture and nature. A three days, two nights trip to San José, the capital, and Cartago. National Theater and National Museum in San José. Basilica of Los Angeles in Cartago and Colonial Church and Religious Museum in Orosi Valley, Cartago.Visit to monuments and parks in San José. Two free nights for theater, cinema or dancing with a costa rican guide.

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Latin American Cuisine

Fall (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)

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.

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Latin American Social Revolutions

Spring (History, Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course examines the major social revolutions that occurred in Latin America in the 19th and 20th centuries. Beginning with the only successful slave rebellion that brought forth the independent Republic of Haiti (1791-1804), through the Mexican and Cuban Revolutions and going to the Nicaraguan Revolution. The cases of Chile and El Salvador will also be studied. Students will analyze the causes, nature and consequences of these revolutions in America.

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Multicultural Education

Spring (General Education; 200-level; 3 credits)

This course focuses primarily on the perspectives of ethnic minority populations in schools, including linguistically and culturally diverse students, exploring the historical, legal, theoretical, and sociological foundations of U.S. and Costa Rican educational programs.

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School and Society

Spring (General Education; 300-level; 3 credits)

A study of the social, historical, and political contexts of schooling in multicultural, democratic societies. This class is designed to assist students in critically examining schooling, the competing purposes of schooling across time and place, and contemporary debates about schooling. We will focus on schooling in both the U.S. and in Costa Rica, so as to better understand the similarities and differences across these two national and cultural contexts.

This course is designed to assist students in critically examining and articulating their own ideas about schooling and its purposes in diverse societies. Throughout the semester, it will be important to keep in mind the distinction between “what is” and “what should be” with respect to schooling in the U.S. and in Costa Rica. Questions we examine include:

• What are the purposes of schooling in the U.S. and in Costa Rica? Are there multiple and competing purposes of public schooling? For whom? Who decides?

• What are “our” expectations for schools and schooling? How do “we” create and operate schools to meet those expectations? Is it working?

• What are the key issues impacting education in diverse societies?

• What is the relationship between schooling and social reform?

• What role do schools play in fostering equity?

• What types of educational institutions, practices, and policies are most desirable in diverse societies?

• How do issues of race, gender, sexuality, social class, privilege, and oppression impact educational decisions and practices?

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Seminar in Developing Effective Teaching Skills

Fall (General Education; 200-level; 1 credit)
Spring (General Education; 200-level; 1 credit)

Students will learn the relevant methods and approaches for teaching English as a second language. Students will gain foundational knowledge through class lectures and develop practical skills through teaching at local schools.

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Spanish Composition I

Fall (Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)

This is a third year couse for students who have completed two years of Spanish at the college level or their equivalent. Emphasis is placed in improving the students´ writing abilities with the analysis first, and the subsequent production of different types of texts. In addition, a number of grammatical topics are reviewed in order to enhance and improve learners´ grammatical competence. The extensive reading of a short novel will accompany and strengthen the formal instruction.

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Spanish Composition II

Fall (Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)

Composition II is designed for students with 5 semester of college level Spanish language Study. The focus of this course is to improve learners´ written abilities through the analysis first and the subsequent production of different types of texts. In addition, a number of grammatical topics will be reviewed in order to enhance and refine the learners´ grammatical competence.

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Spanish Conversation and Oral Skills

Fall (Spanish; 300-level; 1 - 3 credits)
Spring (Spanish; 300-level; 1 - 3 credits)

Optional three-credit course that complements the development of linguistic competences facilitated at the two/three-hundred level courses, focusing in the oral skills in particular.

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Surfing

Fall (Recreation / Physical Education; 100-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Recreation / Physical Education; 100-level; 1 credit)

Each session will include a theoretical class on different topics related to surfing. There will be technical explanations on paddling, base position, how to attack waves, different ways to approach waves, standing up, catching a wave and handling the surfboard, etc. Basic maneuvers of surf will be covered, as well as some competition maneuvers, ocean currents, waves formation, ways of forecasting waves, and security measures. Additionally, some information on the evolution of surfboards (shapes, materials), the history of surf will be provided.

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Survey of Latin American Literature I

Fall (Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course offers the student a historical view of Latin American literary production, until the period of Modernism and furthermore, to the period where the new Narrative emerges.

Previous to the analysis of literary texts, this course has a introduction to help the students find the propose of this class, recognize the foundations of literature and learn how to analyze from a social, political and cultural point of view.

Beyond a simple university requirement, the class tries to encourage the pleasure of reading and, therefore, a cultural enrichment.

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Survey of Latin American Literature II

Spring (Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course is an invitation to the student to enjoy literature.

It emphasizes in the duality: history-literature since, it is known, that in this case, the history of Hispanic-America, is reflected in this literary production. the texts, therefore, should not be seen by themselves; since their analysis transcends from a simple structuralism, to a link of the text with the society of its time, its culture, its politics and ideology.

In the extent that this is accomplish, the course will have achieved its propose.

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Tropical Marine Biology

Fall (Biology; 300-level; 3 credits)

Description not available at this time.

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Tropical Marine Biology Field Study

Fall (Biology; 300-level; 1 credit)

The field study will provide students a hands on experience with the marine ecosystems they learn about during the lecture (Tropical Marine Biology Course). Students will explore some marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, rocky reefs, mangroves, and the intertidal zone.

The location, days and activities will vary depending on the budget, weather conditions, and space availability at each location.

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Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Latin American Cinema

Fall (Art, Spanish, World Languages and Literatures; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course is designed to present Latin American cinema from the 1950 to the present. Students will learn about the relationship between cinema and society through an evaluation of aesthetics, cinematographic language, and content.

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Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Latin American Novel

Spring (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Spanish; 600-level; 3 credits)

To study systematically the principal forms of aesthetic-ideological tendencies of Hispanic American novel from the XX and XXI centuries, analyzing the criteria of segmentation (literary and historiography) of these events manifestations.

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Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Latin American Poetry

Spring (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Spanish; 600-level; 3 credits)

Presents a clear and thorough study of Latin American poetry from the period of the Vanguards (20's) until the present, taking into account its diversity and experimentation. Students will study the texts within the historical context in which they were written. A variety of authors from Central and South America will be discussed. Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish. Taught in Spanish.

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Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Latin American Short Story and Essay

Fall (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)
Fall (Spanish; 600-level; 3 credits)

This course focuses on the development of Latin American fiction and nonfiction prose from the beginning of the 19th century to the present. Emphasis is on key texts and authors, aesthetic and historical contexts and special attention will be given to the particular issues raised by Latin American tradition and to the critical models available for reading individual texts. Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish. Taught in Spanish.

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Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Latin American Theatre

Spring (Spanish, Theater; 300-level; 3 credits)

The objectives of the course are to develop a vision of the literary devices of the Latin American theater of the 20th century, and to appreciate and interpret the creative elements in the formation of dramatic space. Finally, some of the theatrical and dramatic tendencies of Latin America will be studied: such as the Teatro Opresivo and its Brazilian influence, Teatro de la Burla and Teatro Surrealista Latino Americano. Author selection has been made by taking into account the relevance that each one has provided in the contribution and innovation of artistic and dramatic creation. Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish. Taught in Spanish.

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