Global Health in Costa Rica

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Each year students are given the opportunity to travel abroad to Costa Rica for a two week-long course in Global Health. The purpose is for students to understand critical health issues from a multi-dimensional perspective and to think critically about how health and disease in a global society impacts everyone on the planet.

The students are able to experience another culture, whose language is not their own, and are offered an opportunity to develop independence, personal growth, and self-confidence.

Students learn through travel

Students visit a basic health care center EBAIS, the first point of contact in the health care system for most citizens, where well-care and prevention are emphasized. As a service learning project, students painted an EBAIS clinic. They stayed in a casa universitarias where their Mamatika (Costa Rican mother), who spoke no English, cooked and cared for them.

In addition to immersing themselves in the health care system of Costa Rica, students visit several national parks to learn about the flora and fauna first hand; tour the country, including the well known volcano, Arenal; and shop at artisans’ marketplaces.In the past,students also wrote a policy brief in an area related to their major. For example, one student compared the physical education requirements for schools in the US and Costa Rica. Another, a criminal justice major, compared policing of drug trafficking.