Costa Rica: Sustainability, Biodiversity, and Ecotourism in the Tropics

CFAN 3500

Program Dates:

March 16 - March 24, 2019

Course Dates:

This is an embedded course with six on-campus classes prior to the abroad portion of the course, and one class post-study abroad.

Application Deadline:
December 3, 2018

Apply Here


Costa Rica Credits CFANS Study Abroad

Spend your spring break in tropical Costa Rica learning about ecological and conservation research and how it contributes to sustainability practices and ecotourism in Costa Rica. Costa Rica, meaning rich coast, is renowned for its biodiversity and sustainability practices. Though the entire country is roughly the size of West Virginia, it contains approximately 4% of the world’s biodiversity, making it home to a wide variety of tropical plants and animals, and ringing true to the richness of its name. Costa Rica’s system of National Parks and Reserves covers an area of 1342 hectares, or 25.6% of its land area. Within these protected areas and beyond, you will find rainforests, cloud forests, active volcanoes, hot springs, river canyons, cave systems, and waterfalls.

Within the world of sustainability, Costa Rica is a leader in conservation efforts with 98% of its electricity generated from green sources, and is actively working to become carbon-neutral by 2021. While Costa Rica is a well-known hub for research on sustainability and plant ecology (some of which is currently led by UofM faculty), its status as a top tourist destination along with the expansion of export crops (i.e., pineapple plantations), has caused ongoing habitat loss threatens Costa Rica’s biodiversity.

You will learn about the role of ecological conservation research in a tropical setting, and how it influences sustainability practices, ecotourism, and biodiversity in Costa Rica. You will discuss the ethics and influences of international research as you interact with a number of tico (Costa Rican) communities, each of which may think differently about sustainability & biodiversity.


CFAN 3500 - 3.0 credits

This is an embedded course with six on-campus classes prior to the abroad portion of the course, and one class post study abroad.

You must apply for the study abroad program, and once confirmed, registration instructions will follow.

For more detailed information, see the program syllabus


Students interested in plant science, sustainability, and research.


First Step Sessions give basic information about programs, services, and resources available through the Learning Abroad Center. You do not have to reserve your spot, just show up to 230 Heller Hall, West Bank. You can also complete the First Step Session online

Please note: Because we cover so much information in a short period of time, if you are more than 5 minutes late you will have to attend a different First Step Session.




The program fee includes program excursions, lodging, airfare and transportation, international health insurance, administration, orientation, and most meals. In the event that you are not a full time student, or are a non-University of Minnesota student, you will also be charged for tuition. The cost of this program will be considered as part of your fall semester cost of attendance for financial aid calculations. You are eligible to apply for Winter Break scholarships and grants for this program.

Grants and scholarships at CFANS


Please contact the program leader Mohamed Yakub if you have questions or concerns about the course.


Mohamed Yakub is the Outreach and Educator Coordinator, and Minnesota Youth Institute Coordinator for CFANS and the Stakman-Borlaug Center for Sustainable Plant Health.  Mo is dedicated to engaging youth in STEM, and supporting research in the plant sciences.

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