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Puntarenas Courses – 2021 Spring

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 language courses plus electives in Latin American studies and ecology. All students must complete a minimum of 1 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.

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

  • Spring
    Spanish 100-level 4 credits Taught in Spanish

    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.

  • Spring
    Spanish 100-level 4 credits Taught in Spanish

    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.

    Prerequisite: one semester of college Spanish

  • Spring
    Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

    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.

    Prerequisite: two semesters of college Spanish

  • Spring
    Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

    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.

    Prerequisite: three semesters of college Spanish

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

  • Spring
    Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

    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.

    Prerequisite: two semesters of college Spanish

  • Spring
    Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

    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.

    Prerequisite: three semesters of college Spanish

  • Spring
    Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

    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.

    Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

  • Spring
    Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

    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.

    Prerequisite: five semesters of college Spanish

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

  • Spring
    Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

    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.

    Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

  • Spring
    Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

    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.

    Prerequisite: five semesters of college Spanish

  • Spring
    Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

    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.

    Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish

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

  • Spring
    Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

    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.

    Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish

  • Spring
    Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

    Advanced Spanish II 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.

    Prerequisite: seven semesters of college Spanish

    Spring Semester

    Language and Literature Electives

    Taught in Spanish

    • Spring
      Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

      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.

      Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish

    • Spring
      Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

      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.

    • Spring
      Spanish 300-level 1-3 credits Taught in Spanish

      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.

      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

      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.

      Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

    • Spring
      Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
      Spring
      Spanish 600-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

      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.

      Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish

    • Spring
      Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
      Spring
      Spanish 600-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

      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.

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

      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.

    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
      Dance 100-level 1 credit Taught in Spanish

      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.

      Taught in Spanish but appropriate for all

    • Spring
      Biology Ecology Natural Resources 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

      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.

    • Spring
      Marketing Tourism / Hospitality 300-level 3 credits Taught in English

      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.

    • Spring
      Biology 200-level 3 credits Taught in English

      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.

    • Spring
      Biology 200-level 1 credit Taught in English

      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.

      Co-requisite: Introduction to Tropical Marine Biology.

      This course has an additional fee.

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

      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.

      300-level Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

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

      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.

      Co-requisite: Latin America and its Cultures.

      This course has an additional fee.

    • Spring
      Nutrition 200-level 1 credit Taught in English and 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.

      Taught in English and Spanish

      This course has an additional fee for materials.

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

      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. Specific cases in Chile and El Salvador will also be covered throughout the course. Students will analyze the causes, nature, and consequences of social revolutions in Latin America.

      Prerequisites: Introductory-level college history or political science course

    • Spring
      Biology 200-level 3 credits Taught in English

      This class is an exploration of the methods by which humans have adapted to their local environments through the production and use of plants. With an emphasis on food systems in Costa Rica and other areas of the world, this class will examine traditional plant production and uses. It will also explore current food and fiber systems and the challenge of how plants may continue to be used to promote healthy people and communities. Discussions will include examination of organic food production, globalization, and genetic manipulation. Students will gain an understanding of the resource requirements, nutritional content, and ecological consequences associated with their own plant use.

    • Spring
      General Education 200-level 1 credit Taught in English

      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.

    • Spring
      Recreation / Physical Education 100-level 1 credit Taught in English and Spanish

      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.

      Taught in English and Spanish

      This course has an additional fee for equipment, insurance, transportation, and lodging for 4-5 full-weekend trips.

    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.

    Quick Details

    2020-21 App. Cycle

    January session (3 weeks): Open

    Spring: Open

    2021-22 App. Cycle

    Summer Session I (5 weeks): Open

    Summer Session II (3 weeks): Open

    Summer Session I&II (8 weeks): Open

    Fall/Yearlong: Open

    January session: Open

    Spring: Open

    Eligibility

    Minimum GPA: 2.5

    Program Type

    Specialty

    Credits

    US Credit

    Program Capacity

    65 students

    Instruction

    English | Spanish

    Passport & Visa

    Passport & Visa Information