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San Ramón 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 life and health sciences, and Latin American studies. Although enrollment in a language course is not a requirement of the program, it is strongly recommended as it will increase your understanding of Costa Rican culture and equip you with language and cross-cultural skills that will be of assistance in your day-to-day life abroad. 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 (8 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

Track II (6 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

Track III (6 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

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 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
      Community Health Sciences Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

      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, and requires some previous knowledge of Spanish.

      Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

    • Spring
      Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

      For the course, we will use an anthology put together by the professor that is organized to correspond to the sections that are being dealt with in the course: essays, narratives (stories and novels), poetry and dramatic works. All of the written material that is in the anthology will be dealt with in class. The text is, above all, mandatory for the students use. Each practice section and corresponding units comes accompanied by a study guide that is produced by the professor, in order to facilitate the written comprehension and interpretation. The anthology is a text prepared in such a way that the students underline, highlight or write notes in the margins.

      Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

    Cultural Studies

    Taught in English or Spanish

    • 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.

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

      The course focuses on two large topics. The first one concerns the social and cultural foundations established by the ancient peoples that inhabited Latin America as well as the new societies and hybrid cultures that arouse after the arrival of European populations to this part of the world. The second topic encompasses contemporary issues such as the building of national identities, social and cultural “modernization” of urban and rural populations, and responses to global challenges. This course explores the tensions between continuity and change as cultural processes develop to shape Latin America today. It also looks at general trends and it provides opportunities to become acquainted with particular cases.

      300-level prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

    • 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.

    Life and Health Science Studies

    Taught in English

    • Spring
      Biology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

      The diversity of life forms is one of the greatest wonder and treasures of the world. This diversity is the product of millions of years of evolution, and can be thought in many different ways. One could start by viewing the overall perspective of evolutionary time and the radiation patterns from single ancestors. Another way of looking at it is to explore the characteristics of natural communities and intricate tapestry of relationships between life forms living in these communities. At the ecosystem level, we can look at the diversity of the biota and recognize different biomes. We can also view diversity globally and collectively by estimating the number of species and determining where species are concentrated. Finally, we can measure the amount of genetic variation within species to look at the genetic level diversity.

      The study of biodiversity (and all of its components) is a crosscutting issue because human activities have affected the diversity of life forms to the point where large numbers of species have gone extinct and the genetic diversity of many species has eroded. These treats continue have increase in magnitude and several studies predict that we are now experiencing a new era of mass extinctions due to negative anthropocentric activities. The conservation of biodiversity can be achieved only by: “characterizing it, saving it, and using it in a sustainable way”. To achieve this goal one must study life diversity, and quantify it in order to be able to monitor it and save it.

      Prerequisite: One semester of introductory level biology

    • Spring
      Biology 400-level 1 credit Taught in English

      Field biology is one of the most engaging areas of biology since it requires biologists to work at many levels: the organism, community, ecosystem, or landscape. Field biologists use nature as a laboratory and combine the principles of biology, the physical sciences, and mathematics to study the diversity and interactions of plants, animals and microorganisms in their natural environments. Thus, field biologists include ecologists, zoologists, botanists, population biologists, taxonomists, physiologists, wildlife and fisheries biologists, microbiologists and others. In this course the identification of the most important groups of the tropical biodiversity is very important. The field study will include work in fieldtrips to different localities to compare the diversity present in some of the tropical ecosystems.

      Co-requisite: Biological Diversity

      This course has an additional fee

    • Spring
      Biology Environmental Science 300-level 3 credits Taught in English

      Ecology studies the interaction of organisms with the biotic and abiotic environment; population biology studies the distribution and movement of organisms in the natural world. This should ideally act as a biology major capstone course for it incorporates many themes related to biology. Students will touch on many biological principles that they should already be familiar with. Students will gain an appreciation of ecological principles as they relate to the natural world.

      Prerequisite: general biology with laboratory

    • Spring
      Biology Environmental Science 300-level 1 credit Taught in English

      This field study course consists of two field trips to different habitats. 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.

      Corequisite:Ecology and Population Biology

      This course has an additional fee.

    • Spring
      Community Health Sciences Health Ecology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

      This course is directed towards the student who wants to deepen his/her knowledge of global health and how preventive and promotive work can be carried on from an international perspective. Provides an introduction to problems involved in assessing international health needs and designing, implementing, managing, and evaluating public health programs in international settings. Topics include: issues in global health; major health problems and concerns of developing vs. developed countries; international health organizations; international health care systems and health development assistance; development of population/demographic transition; the global economy and health; access to medical care; cultural differences; emerging crises in global health.

    • Spring
      Biology 200-level 1-3 credits Taught in English

      This course is designed for undergraduate students who have not yet taken a biology lab course.

      This research placement assumes that the student will take part in an ongoing project and duties will be closely supervised.

      Placements are available Asociación Ramonense para la Conservación del Ambient (ARCA), a local NGO that works with the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) and at Universidad de Costa Rica, the host University of San Ramón, Costa Rica.

    • Spring
      Biology 400-level 1-3 credits Taught in English

      This course is designed for undergraduate students who have completed at least one Biology lab course. This research placement assumes that the student will take part in an ongoing project and duties will be closely supervised.

      Placements are available Asociación Ramonense para la Conservación del Ambient (ARCA), a local NGO that works with the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) and at Universidad de Costa Rica, the host University of San Ramón, Costa Rica.

      Prerequisite: One semester of college biology with lab

    • Spring
      Biology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

      Tropical Conservation Biology is the scientific study of the phenomena that affect the maintenance, loss, and restoration of biological diversity. In this course, students will gain an understanding of evolutionary and ecological factors that shape patterns of tropical diversity. Topics covered include 1) the impacts of global warming, species invasions, and habitat destruction on biodiversity, 2) strategies developed to combat these threats, and 3) a consideration of key economic and ethical trade-offs.

    • Spring
      Biology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

      In this course students will learn about the main tropical marine ecosystems.

      Prerequisite: A course in general biology

    • Spring
      Biology 300-level 1 credit Taught in English

      In this course students will visit marine ecosystems that they studied in theorical lessons. Students will be able to explore various marine ecosystems like: Coral reefs, rocky reefs, mangroves, and intertidal zones.

      Co-requisite: Tropical Marine Biology

    • Spring
      Community Health Sciences 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

      Exploration of the specific health needs of women, with emphasis on understanding and prevention of problems of women’s health.

    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.

    San Ramón internship opportunities fall into broad categories; prior placements include: local hospital in medicine, hospital administration and maintenance, microbiology, pharmacy, elementary and secondary education centers, research assistance (including birds, leaf cutter ants, fish, shrimp, trees, and plants), natural trails, the Senior Citizen Center, Vet’s Clinic, Centro José Figueres Ferrer, the municipal government, NGOs, and industry. Other internship sites are possible but require at least three months advance notification so that the internship coordinator can attempt to find something that suits you. Placement is not guaranteed by USAC, rather it will be determined by your application and supporting materials and an interview on site with the internship sponsor. For most positions, students will be required to attend orientation training sessions at the beginning of the internship.

    Eligibility: enrollment in the San Ramón program, a minimum GPA of 3.0, Track IV Spanish proficiency, 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

    Spring: Open

    2021-22 App. Cycle

    Summer Session I (5 weeks): Open

    Summer Session II (4 weeks): Open

    Summer Session I&II (9 weeks): Open

    Fall/Yearlong: 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