San Ramón, Costa Rica
USAC
1-866-404-USAC1-775-784-65691-775-784-6010studyabroad@usac.unr.edu

Course Information

San Ramón, Costa Rica | 2017 Summer Session II

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.

Courses

You will enroll three to six credits in Session I and three to five credits in Session II, plus one additional credit if enrolled in the optional Cuba Field Study. At least one 3-credit course is required each summer session. Course availability is contingent upon student interest and enrollment and is subject to change. Please visit the USAC website for complete course descriptions and prerequisites.

Spanish Language and Literature Studies

Summer language courses are intensive, with one to five credits of Spanish taught in each session. Language courses have a maximum enrollment of 15 students each. Spanish Conversation and Oral Skills is highly recommended to complement Intermediate Spanish I through Advanced Spanish II.

Session I and Session II

Life and Health Sciences and Culture Studies

The following courses focus on health science and the culture, environment, and ecology of Costa Rica. Students taking tropical life science courses will have access to a biology laboratory for their research studies. To take a field study course, you must also register for the accompanying science course. Most field study courses have daylong trips; however, some require overnight stays. Courses are taught in English unless noted in Spanish; most courses taught in Spanish are appropriate for students with four or more semesters of college Spanish.

Session I and Session II

Session I

Session II

To request a course syllabus: syllabus@usac.unr.edu

Field studies

Deepen your academic experience through the optional Cuba Field Study which helps you explore the historical, cultural, and natural features of the region. Students who enroll in this 1-credit course will select a particular topic of interest to examine as part of the field study, and complete a research paper drawing from their field study experience as well as from additional readings, research, and written assignments.

Internships

San Ramón offers many possibilities for internships at the local hospital in medicine, hospital administration and maintenance, microbiology, and pharmacy. Internships in the community can include the senior citizen center, Vet's Clinic, Centro José Figueres Ferrer, municipality, NGOs, industry, and elementary and secondary education centers. Placement is not guaranteed by USAC; it will be determined by your application, supporting materials and an interview on site with the internship sponsor.

Eligibility: Six or more semesters of college Spanish; enrollment in both summer sessions; a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale; and junior standing at the time of the internship. A refundable fee of $100 is charged and returned upon successful completion of the internship.

U.S. Professors

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

Session I:

Dr. Cheryl Dye, Clemson University

Course offered:

Dr. Dye is a Professor in Public Health Sciences and Director of the Institute for Engaged Aging. She has taught ten courses and received over $6M in funding for her research on promoting healthy lifestyles, chronic disease self-management, and brain health through use of community-based programs and health coaching.

Session II:

Dr. David Blake, Fort Lewis College

Course offered:

Dr. Blake received his Ph.D. from the University of Montana. He teaches and conducts research in microbiology, immunology, toxicology and aging at Fort Lewis College. He supervises undergraduates in diverse research topics and mentors students in order to prepare them for graduate school. In 2012, he received the Young Investigator Award in Immunotoxicology from the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute.

Course Descriptions

Advanced Spanish I

Summer Session I (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)

The objective of this class is to do a comprehensive revision of the most difficult grammatical points in Spanish. This will be presented through the use of theoretical and practical materials that permit the student to consolidate some of those complex grammatical aspects of the Spanish language that require frequent review and further development. Care will be taken, whenever possible, to focus on understanding and practicing their use in both the written and spoken forms of the language. Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish. Taught in Spanish.

Back to Top

Advanced Spanish II

Summer Session I (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (Spanish; 400-level; 3 credits)

The objective of this class is to do a comprehensive revision of the most difficult grammatical points in Spanish. This will be presented through the use of theoretical and practical materials that permit the student to consolidate some of those complex grammatical aspects of the Spanish language that require frequent review and further development. Care will be taken, whenever possible, to focus on understanding and practicing their use in both the written and spoken forms of the language. Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish. Taught in Spanish.

Back to Top

Cuba Field Study: History and Society

Summer Session I (Anthropology, History, Spanish; 200-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Anthropology, History, Spanish; 200-level; 1 credit)

Cuba was a key factor in the colonial Americas—its history exemplifying the impact of slavery and imperialism. Physically close but politically isolated from the United States, Cuba was also pivotal in twentieth-century events impacting the US, from the Spanish-American War to the Cuban Missile Crisis. As a result, Cuba has maintained a cultural and mythic presence in the history of the US and surrounding region. The Cuba Field Study course will give you the opportunity to experience the layers of history and culture in Cuba firsthand—the past, present, and future realities of Cuban society and its fusion of Spanish, African, and American flavors to create a rich culture all its own. The Cuba Field Study offers an unmatched opportunity to visit this enchanting island and culture, and provides a rich layer of understanding to your time living and studying in Costa Rica and Latin America by examining the contrasts and similarities between two former Spanish colonies and their histories since independence.

Back to Top

Dances of Latin America

Summer Session I (Dance; 100-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Dance; 100-level; 1 credit)

The objectives of this course are to understand the antecedents of Latin American dance and to learn to correctly perform folkloric and cultural dances as well as the local rhythms, such as Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and Bolero; and thus immerse the student in the social and cultural context of the area. Taught in Spanish but appropriate for everyone.

Back to Top

Ecology and Population Biology

Summer Session II (Biology, Environmental Science; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course will focus on measures of population properties and understanding processes that lead to variation within and between populations, especially populations in a tropical environment. Themes will include empirical and theoretical studies of population structure and dynamics, microevolution, organismal adaptation, geographical differentiation, natural hybridization and speciation and processes that lead to macroevolutionary patterns of trait evolution. Prerequisite: one year of General Biology with lab.

Back to Top

Ecology and Population Biology Field Study

Summer Session II (Biology, Environmental Science; 300-level; 1 credit)

The field study with this course will center on activities associated with single species that are looked at from an ecological and evolutionary perspective including: life history and life cycle phenomena of terrestrial, freshwater, and wetland organisms; demography of age- and stage-structured populations; population dynamics including linear, nonlinear and stochastic approaches and patterns of natural and sexual selection. Students will be required to carry out independent research along with associated field study activities.

Back to Top

Elementary Spanish I

Summer Session I (Spanish; 100-level; 4 credits)
Summer Session II (Spanish; 100-level; 4 credits)

Introduction to the language through the development of language skills and through structural analysis. The fundamentals of Spanish grammar (all verb tenses), vocabulary and useful expressions are studied. The goals of these courses are to build reading, writing, listening and, above all, speaking skills.

Back to Top

Elementary Spanish II

Summer Session I (Spanish; 100-level; 4 credits)
Summer Session II (Spanish; 100-level; 4 credits)

Introduction to the language through the development of language skills and through structural analysis. The fundamentals of grammar (all verb tenses), vocabulary, and useful expressions are studied. The objective of these courses is to build reading, writing, listening, and above all, speaking skills. Prerequisite: one semester of college Spanish.

Back to Top

Environmental Health and Disease in Costa Rica

Summer Session II (Biology, Health Sciences; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course will present fundamental concepts relating to the adverse effects of naturally occurring and anthropogenic chemicals on living organisms. Concepts that will be covered include the occurrence and dose-response relationships of toxicants, the metabolism and action of toxicants, and the effects of selected environmental toxicants on different organs. Many of these concepts will be reinforced through the use of case-studies where a pertinent chemical from Costa Rica’s environment is discussed. Two examples that will be discussed are the use of pesticides leading to Chronic Kidney Disease in sugarcane workers and exposure to snake venoms from endemic Costa Rican snakes.

Back to Top

Health Promotion and Behavior in Global Settings

Summer Session I (200-level; 3 credits)

This course will cover the theories and frameworks that explain the determinants of health and health behavior. Students will use a socioecological framework to conduct a literature review on a behavior and country of interest and present findings to the class. Field trips will allow students to observe health behaviors common in Costa Rica and to interview health educators regarding population health goals and strategies. Students will also gain skills in health coaching to facilitate behavior change in a one-on-one setting.

Back to Top

Intermediate Spanish I

Summer Session I (Spanish; 200-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (Spanish; 200-level; 3 credits)

This course emphasizes learning the structure of the Spanish language. Classes are divided into three components: grammar/vocabulary, conversation and reading/writing, each of which is related to the themes covered. A review of basic elements, such as the present tense, ser and estar, preterit and imperfect, etc. is included. Prerequisite: two semesters of college Spanish.

Back to Top

Intermediate Spanish II

Summer Session I (Spanish; 200-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (Spanish; 200-level; 3 credits)

This class continues the learning of the structure of the Spanish language. Classes are divided into three components: grammar/vocabulary, conversation and reading/writing, each of which is related to the themes covered. This level is specifically orientated towards functional and social communication, oral as well as written. Prerequisite: three semesters of college Spanish.

Back to Top

Latin America and its Cultures

Summer Session II (Anthropology, History, Spanish; 200-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Anthropology, History, Spanish; 300-level; 1 credit)

This course is an introduction to the cultures of Latin America and their histories. Taught from a historical and contemporary society viewpoint, giving particular emphasis to present-day Costa Rica but also with other Latin American countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Chile and others related to each case. Some of the topics to be discussed are: Religion, clothing, foods, music, family, the role of women, stereotypes, politics, economy and environment. This course is available in English (200 level) or Spanish (300 level).

Back to Top

Latin American Cuisine

Summer Session I (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)

The Latin American Cuisine class is addressed to those students who enjoy cooking and want to learn how to prepare traditional Latin American dishes like ceviche, “picadillo,” “empanadas,” “Tres leches,” and so on. At the same time, the students have the chance to practice Spanish and become more acquainted with the Latin American culture. An additional fee of $125 is required for this course.

Back to Top

Spanish Composition I

Summer Session I (Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)

Classes revolve around compositions which the student writes almost daily. Part of the class is used to correct the compositions or exercises that the student does outside of class. New advanced grammatical topics are also introduced and exercises reinforcing the use of that element are done in class. Also, part of the class is utilized for selected readings, discussion and vocabulary building. Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish. Taught in Spanish.

Back to Top

Spanish Composition II

Summer Session I (Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)

Classes revolve around compositions which the student writes almost daily. Part of the class is used to correct the compositions or exercises that the student does outside of class. New advanced grammatical topics are also introduced and exercises reinforcing the use of that element are done in class. Also, part of the class is utilized for selected readings, discussion and vocabulary building. Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish. Taught in Spanish.

Back to Top

Spanish Conversation and Oral Skills

Summer Session I (300-level; 1 - 3 credits)
Summer Session II (300-level; 1 - 3 credits)

An optional two credit course addressed to students that have already completed a year of Spanish at the elementary level and want to start participating in the oral activities that the immersion setting facilitates.

Back to Top

Spanish for Medical Professionals

Summer Session I (Community Health Sciences, Spanish; 300-level; 2 credits)
Summer Session II (Community Health Sciences, Spanish; 300-level; 2 credits)

This course will provide students with the knowledge of the basic structures of the Spanish language, and the specialized medical vocabulary needed to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking patients in a variety of health care situations. Moreover, an understanding and appreciation of cultural differences in the health perceptions of Spanish-speaking patients will be developed. This course is appropriate for all health-related disciplines.

Back to Top

Sustainable Development: Women and the Environment

Summer Session I (Environmental Science, Sociology, Women's Studies / Gender Studies; 300-level; 3 credits)

This class is designed as an introduction to the challenging issues of women and the environment. As part of a larger course on Society and Climate Change, it will address the main aspects of how women interface with crucial environmental concerns such as water, energy, land use, and biodiversity conservation. Moreover, it aims to build a broad understanding of how women and their children adapt to the world’s changing climatic conditions. Finally, it looks at women as active organizers and participants in building a more sustainable society on local and international levels.

Back to Top

Tropical Conservation Biology

Summer Session I (Biology; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course emphasizes the value of biodiversity and conservation measures that have been implemented in Costa Rica and Mesoamerica. It will begin with the definition of biodiversity: geographical concentrations, value of species diversity and a global perspective. The second part of this course concentrates on the loss of biodiversity: causes and consequences, reduction of genetically distinct populations, economics, endangered ecosystems and global implications. Preservation of biodiversity will conclude these lectures: protecting and identifying plant and animal species, alternatives to destruction of habitats, agro ecology, bio reserves and restoration ecology. Case studies are presented from Mesoamerica, with an emphasis on conservation in Costa Rica. Prerequisite: One year of general Biology with lab.

Back to Top

Tropical Conservation Biology Field Study

Summer Session I (Biology; 400-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 will be to better understand the topics covered in the lectures such as individual, population and community level ecological processes and adaptations to various environments. Concurrent enrollment in Tropical Conservation or Tropical Ecology is required. This course has an additional fee of $200.

Back to Top

Tropical Ecology

Summer Session I (Biology; 300-level; 3 credits)

A general course in ecological theory and issues with an emphasis on ecological processes in Central America. This course will address basic ecological concepts dealing with individual, population and community level processes, and adaptations to various environments. Prerequisite: one year of general Biology with lab.

Back to Top

Tropical Ecology Field Study

Summer Session I (Biology; 300-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 will be to better understand the topics covered in the lectures such as individual, population and community level ecological processes, and adaptations to various environments. 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. Concurrent enrollment in Tropical Ecology required.

Back to Top

Tropical Marine Biology

Summer Session II (Biology; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course is a general introduction to tropical marine ecosystems and their inhabitants. It is conducted in conjunction with the National University Center for Marine Studies and Parque Marino del Pacifico both of which are located in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The unique ecosystems of tropical oceans and their inhabitants will be presented in an evolutionary and ecological context. Prerequisite: one year of General Biology with lab.

Back to Top

Tropical Marine Biology Field Study

Summer Session II (Biology; 300-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.

Back to Top